By Melanie Carvalho, Workplace Consultant
Research suggests that on average, most people will spend around 13 years of life at work. For many, a large proportion of this time will be at desks, or various workstations. Wherever we work, it’s important to ensure that our environments are equipped to support us physically. Indeed, as we move towards a world of increased activity-based working, exploring the evolving ergonomics in the workplace has never been more exciting.
Ergonomics is the study of how equipment or furniture can be designed or arranged in a way that enables people to work more efficiently and comfortably. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, ergonomic injuries account for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases. Not only that, but research suggests that working in an environment that is physically supportive improves productivity, reduces the risk of error and increases concentration levels. When you’re supported by your surroundings, it’s much easier to fulfil your role to the best of your ability, and to feel comfortable and happy while doing it.
For employers, a workplace designed with robust ergonomic support demonstrates a commitment to employee health and wellbeing. When working from the office, employers will carry out a DSE assessment, to ensure that your working environment is set up to support you physically. However, if hybrid working is here to stay, it’s crucial to make sure that your home workstation also supports the ergonomic requirements of your role, whether you’re working there one day a week or more.
Over the last 18 months, many of us have neglected the ergonomics of the home office. People have lacked the space or resources to create a workstation to properly support the working day from home. Too often, it is thought that a simple task chair provides a solution to every ergonomic problem, but the science surpasses our seating position. Ergonomics covers posture, lighting, noise, motion or anything else that can have a sensory impact on our surroundings. Here are some factors to consider when working from home:
Every one of us comes in different shapes and sizes, with different likes and preferences. It’s important to examine the ergonomics within the workplace against the range of individuals who operate within it, especially as we start to see a gradual return to offices. We need to make sure teams are supported physically as well as emotionally.
Are you providing varied and inclusive ergonomic solutions for your people, depending on their needs? Employers have a responsibility to support ergonomics in the workplace, but each employee also has a responsibility to take care of their own physical working health. Take some time to check your seating posture, or stand to align your spine, and work actively.
Importantly, ergonomic furniture and support in the workplace can combine with beautiful design. Ergonomic design is human-centred and matches functionality with form and ease of use but also enjoyment and pleasure. Wherever you work, your environment should support you to do so happily and healthily.
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