Too often, workplaces will prioritise optimising the quantity of staff and equipment that an office can hold over the ergonomic environment of the workspace for employees. Failing to prioritise office ergonomics can lead to severe injury, which could keep some staff off work or even reduce their overall quality of life. 1.8 million workers will experience repetitive strain injuries each year, and 60,000 of these workers will take time off work to treat their illness. Repetitive strain is just one type of injury, out of many, that can occur due to poor office ergonomics. This particular problem develops when a job involves repetitive or awkward movements.
Here, we explain the health benefits of an ergonomic office, the benefits of ergonomics for employers and which individuals are most at risk of ergonomic injuries.
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Read the different benefits of correct office ergonomics, including decreased risk of injury and improved posture.
Read the key benefits of ergonomics for an employer.
Find out who is the most at risk of developing ergonomic injuries.
What are the health benefits of ergonomics?
Improved mental insight
A workplace that is not ergonomically efficient can cause huge amounts of stress, with staff having to put up with physical pain and navigate their way around an impractical workspace. By improving the ergonomics in your office, you could relieve much of this stress from your employee’s minds and allow them to better focus on tasks at hand. This is excellent for improving productivity.
Decreased risk of pains and injury
Many of the most common injuries and musculoskeletal disorders experienced by office workers are caused by everyday activities, such as sitting in chairs or typing at a computer. These injuries could all be prevented by improving the ergonomics of your office equipment.
Improved heart health
The ergonomics of office equipment, primarily office chairs, can affect more than just posture and back pain. The design of an office chair could impact an employee’s breathing, which could have a direct effect on their heart rate. Investing in an ergonomic chair for each of your employees will encourage more efficient breathing.
An ergonomic office is an organised office that makes it easy for employees to move around without getting hurt. Many ergonomic strategies will include perfecting the placement of equipment and making things easy to access, which will reduce employee slips, trips and falls.
Poor ergonomics could have a number of negative effects on posture, such as weakening of the spine and reduced blood flow to muscles. By improving workplace ergonomics, the risk of poor posture among your employees will be reduced.
Decrease the risk of conditions such as diabetes and obesity
Implementing ergonomic strategies is about more than just improving furniture and equipment. Ergonomists also often encourage workplaces to provide opportunities for employees to get active, which will decrease the risk of developing diabetes and obesity.
What are the benefits of ergonomics for an employer?
- Employers can massively benefit from implementing a more ergonomic workspace for their employees. A more comfortable working environment will increase productivity, mental well-being and will encourage employees to do better at their jobs. By optimising the ergonomics of your workplace, you will experience a number of benefits, including.
- Reduce the cost of lost workdays due to ergonomics related injuries.
- More productive and efficient employees, which will improve results.
- Improved quality of work that is completed by employees.
- Reduced chances of facing fines due to employee negligence if accidents or severe injuries were to occur.
Which individuals are the most at risk of ergonomic injuries?
Many office workers will undertake repetitive or physically restrictive tasks as part of their daily jobs. It is these repetitive tasks, low levels of movement and sometimes awkward seating positions that could lead to office workers developing painful musculoskeletal disorders, repetitive strain injuries or bad posture. Some office workers will sit in the same position for eight hours a day! This can be detrimental if the position is not correct. Ergonomic office products can significantly reduce the risk of injuries developing.
People with a sedentary lifestyle
Ergonomic injuries will develop when poor posture is retained for a prolonged period of time. For those who lead sedentary lifestyles, prolonged bad posture could be a daily occurrence. Due to this lifestyle, these individuals could quickly start to experience reduced blood flow to muscles, weakening of muscle tissue, weakening of the spine or even numbness in various parts of their body.
Houses are not usually built with an office environment in mind, which means that many remote workers will work from inadequate spaces that do not offer the correct ergonomics. Over time, these people may experience severe cramps, muscle pain or even repetitive strain injury.
People with existing health problems that affect bone strength or posture
Individuals who have existing health problems will be more vulnerable to the impact of ergonomics, and a poor ergonomic environment could decrease their health a lot quicker than other employees.
What kinds of injuries happen at work, in relation to the office?
Ergonomics could lead to the development of many office injuries, depending on the individual that is involved. The most common injuries that occur will lead to millions of workers taking time off of work to recover every single year.
Back and neck pain
Back and neck pain is usually caused by disc degeneration or excessive pressure that is placed onto the spine. Slumped seating positions can also cause nerve restriction, which could cause pain in the back. Badly placed keyboards and monitors can lead to the unnecessary straining of the neck. Monitors and keyboards should be easily accessible and placed in a comfortable position. A great way to adjust your monitor’s height is to invest in monitor arms that can be lowered or raised to your employees’ needs.
Reach Plus Monitor Arm
- 5 Year Warranty
- Fingertip movement
- Integral cable management
- Quick release VESA (Supports VESA 75mm & 100mm)
- Reach Plus supports combined monitor weights between 6kg – 15kg
- Supplied with top mounting universal C clamp fixing
- 180 Degree lockout option as standard
- Folds flat into 80mm of space
- Available in three colours; Silver, Black and White
Vision H Ergonomic Workstation
- Available in white.
- Range includes a single monitor support, a dual monitor support and a single monitor and laptop support.
- Optional 3x power and 1x USB Type A&C charger sockets.
- Includes cable management clips to secure cables to the arm and pole sections.
- Supports monitors and laptops up to 5kgs (2x 5kgs when used with a dual monitor support or a single monitor and laptop support).
- Quick and easy to install.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a musculoskeletal disorder that can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the hand or arm. This happens when one of the dominant nerves in the hand is compressed or squeezed as it travels through the wrist. The most common cause of this is an incorrect mouse or keyboard placement.
Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injuries develop when an individual is forced to continually sit in an awkward or unnatural position. They can also be the result of straining and will result in severe pain that is felt in muscles, nerves and tendons. Most repetitive strain injuries are based in the upper body, such as in the shoulders, neck or back.
Introducing sit-stand desks can be an excellent way to ensure employees do not remain in the same position for too long, preventing the risk of stiff muscles and straining.
Active Electric Sit Stand Workstation
- Instantly converts any desk into a sit-stand workstation.
- 700mm x 400mm solid working surface.
- Quick and easy assembly.
- Comes complete with a single and double supports.
- Power assisted height adjustment.
- Single option supports monitor weights up to 7kg and the double option supports monitor weights up to 14kg.
- VESA Complaint 75mm & 100mm.
- Travel range is 450mm ±5mm.
- Travel time is approx. 11 seconds.
Are you looking to prevent ergonomic injuries in the office? Read our guide to preventing ergonomic hazards here.