Ask the average person about ergonomic office design, and you’ll probably get comments about people sitting on big rubber balls. However, despite the humorous image, ergonomic design is a serious business – and can dramatically increase worker productivity.
Ergonomic office design is about much more than selecting furniture – although that plays a role, too. It is also about creating an environment that employees find easy to work in, both physically and mentally. When you do this, you improve employee attendance, work output, and even retention. Investing in an ergonomic design can easily pay for itself many times over. And there are also plenty of ergonomic designs that are good for the environment as well as your wallet.
No matter how well your employee’s workspace is designed, they are going to suffer if they have to spend all their time in it. This can result in muscular and joint problems, and can also make them burn out more quickly. To address this, your office design should make it easy for staff to get up and move around when they see fit. Setting aside breakout spaces for meetings, casual social gatherings and meals is essential, as well–not only does it reduce workplace stress, but it also provides somewhere for people to exchange ideas and build relationships. In the long run, this makes them more creative individually and more cohesive as a team. Better for them, better for the workplace.
In lots of locations across the country, including York PA, Middletown PA, Lancaster PA, Reading PA, Hagerstown MD and Baltimore MD, we are seeing just how effective this can be.
Lighting is also extremely important, as has been shown again and again by research studies. Try to bring as much natural light into the workplace as possible, and be sure to use energy-efficient light bulbs to help both the environment and your wallet. With the right lighting, people will have a more positive outlook, which translates into more effective work – and can significantly lower absenteeism due to sickness. It also reduces eyestrain, which is a pervasive problem with employees who sit in front of a screen all day. Just make sure that glare doesn’t become a problem – antiglare screens and matt paint on walls can help with this.
When it comes to the workspace, desktop clutter, cramped conditions and filing cabinets can all cause problems. Anything that makes your employee move unnaturally around their workstation can lead to physical problems over time. Filing cabinets make the problem worse by taking up space that could be used to provide a better environment, so try to reduce the amount of paperwork by moving to online documentation and provide ergonomic storage for what remains. Less paper will save you money, make your employers happier and result in less strain on the earth’s vital source of carbon.
Leaving aside big rubber balls, one important thing about selecting furniture for the office is that it is flexible. People need to be able to reconfigure things like chairs so that they are comfortable – everyone will have different needs. Similarly, monitor stands should also be adjustable, both to reduce eyestrain and avoid unnecessary neck and back injuries. Desk height should also be adjustable if possible, and there should be plenty of room for people to move their legs and feet under the desk.
Making your office ergonomic takes thought and investment, but it has big benefits for you, your staff and the planet. You will have a healthier and happier workforce, and that will flow directly through to your bottom line.