What is Ergonomics and Why is it Important?

Posted by ,Nov 27th 2020
What is Ergonomics and Why is it Important?

There is a lot of discussion about ergonomics these days. As sedentary jobs become more and more common, an increasing volume of research is being done about the effect these types of occupations can have on people’s bodies.

The concept of ergonomics is often seen as a vague idea that many people struggle to relate to their workstation, office or organization. Even more importantly, they don’t know how ergonomics can affect the areas of life outside of work.

What is Ergonomics?

“The goal of ergonomics is to fit the task to the individual not the individual to the task.” Simply put, ergonomics is the study of the interaction between people and the tools they use. More precisely, how employees and their tools interact.

People who study ergonomics also look for ways to improve the design of the aforementioned tools to enhance their user experience.

When looking at an at-home desk or office environment, there are countless areas where ergonomics could be relevant. Everything from the chairs people sit on, the desks they use or their posture when typing is a component of ergonomics.

The ultimate goal of studying ergonomics is to find improvements in the tools people use while working every single day. People aren’t productive when they are uncomfortable or in pain, but with the right tools, we can help them feel better at work and be more productive, happier, and healthier.

Why Ergonomics is Important?

Poor ergonomics can lead to chronic repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) such as carpal tunnel, back, neck or joint pain. In fact, improper ergonomics is one of the most significant workplace risks faced by office workers.

A study by the Norwegian State Institute found that, after the common cold, muscular soreness was the second most common cause of absenteeism at work. They also found that if improvements were made to workstation design and seating, back-related absenteeism was halved and rates of employees leaving the business or going on long-term leave plummeted.

Separate studies conducted in the United States found that after ergonomic interventions at State Farm Insurance and Blue Cross-Blue Shield employee productivity increased by 15 percent and 4.4 percent respectively. For an SME with approximately 50 employees, that is an increase in productivity equivalent to hiring two to eight more full-time staff. Yet another study from researchers at the University of Miami found that the keystroke rate for data-entry tasks improved by 5 percent after workers were moved to an ergonomically correct workspace.

An ergonomic injury can harm far more than just an individual’s productivity, however. At home, they may be confined to the bed or couch while missing out on activities with friends and family. What kind of workplace culture will form over time if your team feels they are missing out on aspects of their home life because of a workplace ergonomic injury?

Ergonomic injuries clearly have a significant impact on both the individual and the organization as a whole.

80 percent of people will experience back pain over the course of their lives. Additionally, back pain is one of the most common reasons employees miss work. How do lost person-hours affect your workplace? If you could make improvements to your office ergonomics and cut down on sick days or disability claims, what would that do for productivity? Ergonomics isn’t just about pain; it’s an issue that can also affect the bottom line.

Identifying Ergonomic Issues

Ok, so you understand that ergonomic injuries are bad, but how do you identify potential ergonomic issues before they become an injury?

While work-from-home or office jobs can vary wildly from programming to data entry to marketing and everything in-between, there are some similarities among most of these jobs.

People who work in a home or office environment tend to spend a lot of their day sitting in one spot. While sitting doesn’t seem like it would cause injury, poorly designed chairs and improperly adjusted furniture can cause strain on the back, neck, and shoulders. In fact, poor quality task chairs are one of the top three ergonomic hazards we find in our customers’ offices.

Typing is another task that just about every office dweller tackles daily, and another common cause of chronic pain if their workstation is not configured ergonomically. Correctly adjusted armrests and simple tools like keyboard trays can go a long way in helping prevent injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Providing the Ergonomic Tools to Get the Job Done

In addition to creating best practices and standards for your team, you should ensure your employees have the right tools to be both comfortable and productive throughout the day.

Sit-to-Stand Desks

Habitat® Electric Standing Desk

Sit to stand desks are becoming incredibly popular in modern office environments and now work-from-home environments. These desks give employees the ability to seamlessly move from sitting to standing without interrupting their work in any significant way. Experts recommend that employees spend at least ten minutes of every thirty minutes standing or walking. A sit to stand desk makes this easy. One of our popular sit-to-stand desks which we recommend is our Habitat Electric Standing Desk.

The Habitat® Electric Standing Desk is our most versatile electric height adjustable desk collection, it was created to give you all the options in a proven, popular design.

Aesthetic and Smart, the Habitat® Electric Standing Desk frame is perfect for creating rearrangeable single-user setups in both an office or home office environment. Click to learn more about the Habitat® Electric Standing Desk.

Standing Desk Converters

VersaDesk PowerPro Standing Desk Converter

Also known as a desk riser, a standing desk converter allows you to transform your current sitting desk or table into a standing unit. No need for a replacement. You can set it up in a matter of seconds. Use it straight out of the box and start shifting between sitting and standing as you work without worries.

With this equipment, you no longer have to go through the grueling process of dismantling or discarding your current desk to make way for a new one. Moreover, you do not have to review confusing manuals and spend hours figuring out how you can successfully put all the pieces together.

If you get the award winning VersaDesk PowerPro® which is the patented American Made standing desk converter from VersaDesk®, you get the privilege of owning a unit perfectly designed for your needs. It has unlimited height options up to 20 inches. To adjust it, just press the up or down button and seamlessly in seconds, you can enjoy the benefits of standing while working on your ergonomically designed sitting-to-standing desk converter.

Why a Standing Desk Converter Over a Full Standing Desk?

Although getting a custom-built standing desk will open to doors for your healthier work practice in the years to come, an adjustable standing desk converter will work just as well. If you need to transform your desk in the blink of an eye or are too impatient to put up with installers assembling a new unit and disrupting your work, then this type of equipment is ideal for you.

Of the many reasons why some customers go for converters instead of a fully built desk, price tops the list. Unlike a new standing desk, a converter is relatively less expensive. So, if you are looking for ways to reduce your company’s logistic expenses or you are strapped for cash, consider ordering one.

A riser is more flexible. So it does not matter what desk you have at the moment. You can put it right on top of any surface any time you want to experience the benefits of standing while working.

Ensure that your work surface and computer are set up at the right height. Ergonomics is key to preventing shoulder, neck, and back problems, and proper posture is important. If you hunch over the keyboard, you will develop poor walking habits in addition to poor sitting habits.

Ergonomic chairs are also a great solution to help employees feel great while working. When looking for ergonomic chairs, you should seek out chairs that provide adequate support for the lower back. The design of the chair should help the muscles in the back relax as employees sit and work.

Do you have more questions about ergonomics? We’ve dedicated an entire section of our website to answering the ergonomic questions our customers ask most often. In addition, our entire staff is ergonomic certified and we are here to help you. Please reach out to one of our ergonomic experts today