Some people may still be skeptical about ergonomic products and their supposed benefits. However, ask anyone who uses these products on a daily basis and they may tell you of the comfort and ease they experience. Work places that currently use, or are thinking about using, ergonomic products can expect to see increased efficiency and productivity throughout the workplace.
Ergonomic products help find the perfect fit. The better the fit, the more efficient and productive employees can be in the workplace. Ergonomic products also have some ability to limit and prevent work-related injuries. Carpal tunnel being a typical disorder from which some office workers suffer – the increased comfort seen with ergonomic desk items such as mouses and keyboards can help alleviate pain, while increasing productivity and workflow. The more companies continue to put an emphasis on preventing these sorts of injuries, pay-out and days lost will ultimately decrease over time.
Ergonomics: A More Recent History
With the aggressive advancement and increased complexity of technical equipment in the 1940s – it was soon realized that not all benefits of the equipment would be delivered if users did not understand how to correctly use it. Alphonse Chapanis, a Lieutenant during World War II, most notably redesigned aircraft controls using ergonomic principles. In applying these principles, control panel ease-of-use was increased and ultimately helped reduce the number of crashes that had, until then, been attribute to pilot error.
The term ergonomics was coined – from the Greek roots (ergon and nomos) – at a 1949 meeting of world-renowned physiologists and psychologists. Later in 1949, this same body of scientists and like-minded colleagues formed the Ergonomics Research Society, or ERS, which became the first such professional body in the world. The group continued to evolve with the changing workplace landscape and begin to incorporate other factors such as workplace layout, light, heat, noise – more physical aspects. The organization is now known as the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) and continues to study the benefits and factors that effect people both inside and outside of the workplace.
Ergonomics Leading to Increased Workplace Efficiency?
Increased productivity for ergonomic products is more or less a case by case basis. Take an ergonomic keyboard for instance. They are so completely different from regular keyboards – there can be a bit of a comfort and learning curve. After a learning period on an ergonomic keyboard, employees can complete more computer-based tasks in the same amount of time – due to the less physical exertion required when using an ergonomic keyboard.
Before any redesign or implementation, begin with employee feedback as well as job analysis. Thinking about these things first will better help in your approach to becoming a more ergonomic-friendly workplace. For instance, if employees spend most of their time on the telephone, then it is simply smarter to purchase headsets rather than keyboard and mouse wrist rests. A one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics will often be ineffective. Sure, an adjustable chair is a critical part of a computer workstation, but keep in mind that shorter employees will often also need a foot rest to maintain proper posture.
One office item that helps promote proper posture and continued movement throughout the day are sit/stand work stations. The jury is still out on whether or not sit/stand workstations increase productivity, but working in various postures throughout the day is simply better for your health. In a recent study, Scientists at the University of Missouri found that the act of sitting seems to shut off the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called Lipase. If a sit/stand workstation is not an option, it is recommended that office workers vary their posture throughout the day.
If you have yet to adopt ergonomics in the workplace, or are thinking about trying out some ergonomic products for yourself, visit www.innovativeos.com for all of your ergonomic product needs.