Two vital things are inextricably combined in business: productivity and your health. Good health is the foundation for productivity. Without good health, you won’t have the required time and energy to make your business successful.
How do you achieve good health and productivity at the same time? The secret lies with ergonomics.
What is ergonomics?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” In the context of running a business, this definition encompasses everything workers encounter, interact with, or use on a daily basis. This includes office furniture.
Ergonomics is more than just comfortable furniture
When people talk about ergonomic office furniture, it might sound like they’re just talking about furniture that’s made to be more comfortable. While it’s true that ergonomic office furniture is designed to be more comfortable, it’s also designed to provide proper support to the body. This nuance is important to understand because furniture can be comfortable without providing any support.
Think of a couch that you sink into when you sit down and it feels comfy and warm. You feel comfortable at first, but without support you’ll slowly start to feel aches and pains in your body. That’s because the couch, while comfortable, isn’t ergonomic.
Squishy furniture is only comfortable for a short period of time. Ergonomic furniture is comfortable because it provides support for long periods of time.
Ergonomic furniture is created with different designs
When you’re narrowing down your options for ergonomic furniture, you’ve got a variety of options to choose from. Ergonomic office chairs, for example, come with high backs, low backs, footrests, and adjustable tilts. Some people need to adjust the way their chair tilts forward, and that small feature can make the biggest difference. For others, it won’t matter.
There is no one size fits all approach to ergonomic chairs, desks, monitor setups, and keyboards. Companies that make ergonomic office furniture and equipment manufacture a variety of models to accommodate a diverse set of needs from consumers.
Science supports using ergonomic office furniture to prevent injuries
Numerous scientific studies have concluded that ergonomic office furniture can prevent musculoskeletal injuries and reduce or eliminate symptoms in people with existing problems.
One paper published in 2012 reviewed five individual studies to find out if introducing ergonomic office chairs helped to relieve musculoskeletal symptoms. The paper found that in all five studies, participants reported a reduction in musculoskeletal pain immediately after using their new ergonomic chairs.
Ergonomics directly impacts productivity
Nobody can think clearly when they’re in pain or uncomfortable. Without an ergonomic work environment, it’s hard for employees to think clearly and produce quality work.
Business owners who transform their office into an ergonomic place see a higher rate of employee satisfaction and productivity.
Ergonomic changes in the workplace that improve productivity can include:
- Swapping out old furniture for ergonomic furniture like desks and chairs.
- Switching to natural lighting instead of fluorescent or dim lighting. Natural lighting supports good moods and doesn’t disrupt your circadian rhythm.
- Controlling the office temperature. Employees don’t want to huddle around a tiny space heater at their desk all winter, nor do they want to keep a fan blowing in their face all day in the summer. Controlling the temperature will make the room comfortable at least at a base level. If employees get cold or hot, they can adjust accordingly.
- Implementing adjustable desks so employees can change from sitting to standing as they wish.
- Using adjustable monitor stands to make sure laptops and monitors are at eye level to reduce neck strain.
- Painting the walls with a calm color scheme. Certain colors can be distracting and even irritating to a person’s psyche. The right color can make people feel more relaxed yet still alert.
Ergonomics is for everyone
Ergonomics isn’t just for corporations. You don’t need to be a business owner or employee to benefit from ergonomics. You can use ergonomics to create a comfortable, supportive living room or guest bedroom. You can even use the principles of ergonomics to redesign your kitchen to make meal prepping more efficient.
Whether you use ergonomics to transform your home or office, those changes will make you more productive and will benefit your health and well-being.