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Why do office ergonomics matter?

9 March 2022

Office suppliesThe methodology behind office ergonomics is aligning an item – such as a desk, chair or monitor -, with the purpose that item is used for and the needs of the person using it. At the simplest level it’s just about ensuring that your employees have the equipment that they need to do a great job and to be comfortable and healthy while they are doing it. But why does ergonomics matter so much today?

Poor ergonomics can have a negative effect

The negative impact of failing to consider office ergonomics can range from detriment to employee health to derailing the business’ bottom line. Where little consideration has been given to ergonomics, office injuries and health-related complaints can be common. These could include, for example, swollen and stiff joints, pain and tingling in hands and fingers, back and shoulder problems, issues with vision, as well as muscle cramps or tightness. Some of the most common consequences of poor ergonomics stem from:

  • Employees who are doing a single repetitive movement, or sequences of movements, for a long period of time in poor conditions.
  • Work that involves being still for long periods of time e.g. sitting.
  • Having to work at speed without breaks.
  • A role where there is continuous strain on one specific area of the body, such as the wrist.

There is a clear, tangible cost risk where businesses don’t invest in ergonomics. According to research by the Health & Safety Executive, work-related injuries or ill health costs up to £15 billion a year, £3 billion a year is a cost that falls directly on the companies employing the suffering workers.

How to improve office ergonomics in your business

Investing in ergonomic office furniture is the quickest and simplest way to improve conditions for your staff and minimise the impact of workplace injuries and health-related issues.

  • Ergonomic office chairsThis type of chair is designed to help keep your employee sitting upright – as opposed to in a slouched position – and supporting key areas of vulnerability, such as the lower back, shoulders and neck. Features of a truly ergonomic office chair include lumbar support, adjustable armrests and adjustable head and back rests.
  • Ergonomic desks Most ergonomic desks are adjustable so that there is no need to sit for the entire day – instead, the user can choose different heights for the desk, either for sitting or to work while standing.
  • Computer setup – There are a number of key features that improve office ergonomics when it comes to computers. For example, CPU supports mean that a computer is fixed to a point under a workstation and the floor can be free of cables. Monitor arms allow a monitor to be set at an adjustable height that is most comfortable in terms of vision, comfort and posture. It may be good to carry out a work desk assessment
  • Ergonomic keyboards and miceA keyboard that has an ergonomic design will make typing comfortable and help to prevent injuries that can result from this type of work, including muscle strain. Ergonomic mice come in different designs and the right one will fit easily in someone’s hand and suit the amount of moving and clicking that they do with it.

Office ergonomics helps to improve the employee experience, minimise business costs and contributes to an overall more positive work environment.