At the start of the pandemic, many of us were forced into new working environments which were never intended or designed for desk work. Office chairs were replaced with kitchen stools, dining tables became desks and workplace ergonomics fell by the wayside.
Fast forward two years, 65% of employees at the average company are suffering with work-related musculoskeletal (MSK) pain. A Brandwatch study revealed that nearly one million complaints of back pain were made online during the peak of the pandemic. A further 400,000 people complained about eye strain and wrist pain.
A large proportion of this pain could have been prevented with a proper ergonomic desk setup, or small workplace adjustments such as raising a laptop or using a wrist rest.
What is Workplace Ergonomics?
Workplace ergonomics is all about making sure a working environment is fit for the user, in this case, the desk worker. It covers everything from environmental factors such as temperature and noise, to the physical aspects of a workspace like chairs and screen setup.
A good ergonomic workplace setup takes into account the individual needs of the desk worker, but should include the following equipment as standard:
Ergonomics can make a workspace significantly more comfortable and soften the blow of spending 9 hours a day at your desk. It can protect you and your team from work-related pain and help you create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace.
What are the Benefits of Workplace Ergonomics?
An ergonomic workplace can bring about a plethora of benefits for employers and employees alike:
Benefits to Employers:
1. Cost Savings
Besides the initial upfront cost of new furniture, investing in ergonomics can actually save you a huge chunk of money in the long-run.
Poor ergonomics often cause MSK issues in the workplace like back and neck pain. These issues carry a hefty financial burden for employers – £3.2 billion in the UK in 2020 to be exact!
There are also significant secondary costs associated with workplace MSK pain, which can be avoided if you prioritise ergonomics. 2.6% of a workforce will require time off work for issues like back pain each year. Workplace personal injury and health and safety negligence lawsuits can reach seven-figure settlements.
Bet those ergonomic desk chairs don’t seem so expensive now!
Check out our blog with recommendations on the best ergonomic furniture for every budget!
2. More Productive Workforce
Around one in four desk workers are working at roughly 15% below capacity due to MSK pain. Our extensive research into workplace MSK trends reveals that the dip in productivity from issues like back pain costs the global economy a whopping $1.69 trillion each year!
A study conducted by Washington State reported a 40% increase in productivity in a group of 4,000 employees after they started using ergonomic furniture. Better desk setups enable employees to maintain concentration, producing a higher quality of work for your business.
3. Lower staff turnover
An investment in ergonomics is an investment in your people. The perfect way to show your employees you care about their health and wellbeing.
As companies continue to navigate the ongoing ‘Great Resignation’, employee morale and engagement is more important than ever. Providing ergonomic furniture can make staff feel more valued and improve retention as a result.
Benefits to Employees:
1. Better Health
Your head is the weight of a bowling ball. If your screen is positioned too low, you’re putting up to 400% more force on your spine than if the screen was positioned correctly! Don’t believe us? Try holding a water bottle down by your side, now lift it up in front of you with your arm straight. That’s the same increase in force your spine feels when your screen is at the wrong height!
Poor posture and incorrect screen positioning are the biggest culprits behind MSK pain in the workplace. With the correct ergonomic setup, you can remedy these issues and keep aches and pains at bay.
2. Increased Job Satisfaction
A recent study by Paychex revealed that over 60% of employees consider wellbeing benefits including a good workplace setup a top priority when applying for a new job.
Employees with MSK pain are also 64% less likely to view their job as rewarding. Ergonomics can turn this around!
3. Improved Wellbeing
Employees with good posture and a comfortable workspace emit a higher level of confidence and feel happier. And we all know that happiness is infectious.
Hopefully by now it’s clear that ergonomics are not just a luxury and certainly not just a health and safety tickbox. By paying attention to ergonomics, you’ll be embedding a culture of wellness into your company and shifting an entire workplace mentality.