The Importance of Safe & Ergonomic Conditions In The Office
Feeling stiff, achey, or in pain after a day of work? Might be time to request some ergonomic updates to your office. How you sit, stand, and work day in and day out is hugely important to your long term health. The simple, repetitive motions we do every day can create lasting damage to your body if your work environment isn’t ergonomic.
If you’re interested in improving the ergonomics of your office by adding standing desks, increasing safety features, or upgrading tools, you need to be able to justify your case to the decision maker.
If you’re looking to make a positive change in your office, here are some helpful facts that you can bring to make your case.
- Ergonomic setups improve productivity. A bad work environment that requires awkward postures, excessive force, or high task repetition makes work unpleasant and draining. Bad posture is harder on the body and increases overall fatigue, lowering productivity. An efficient work station means that employees can work faster and with more energy.
- Work quality increases. Frustrated, tired workers are far less likely to do their best work, and inefficient work setups make it harder for employees to do their job. This leads to a decrease in quality that can result in costly business errors.
- It reduces cost. Workers comp claims are not cheap, so creating a work environment that reduces the chance of injury can save businesses thousands and thousands of dollars. After all, approximately $1 out of every $3 in workers comp claims are attributed to musculoskeletal disorders, which are a common injury resulting from non-ergonomic workplaces. That number doesn’t include the indirect costs such as training replacement employees, accident investigation, productivity losses, and equipment and property repair.
- Improved worker quality of life. Aside from a reduction in fatigue and frustration, employees feel seen and appreciated when a company invests in their health and safety. Workers feel physically more comfortable, and morale improves. Creating a culture where safety is a priority reminds employees of their critical importance to the business, which results in lower turnover and absenteeism rate. It’s is an overall cost saver for businesses, and everyone wins!
Talking to HR or your manager:
Managers and HR professionals consider revenue goals, corporate values, and cost analyses when making large decisions about office upgrades, so walking in with a clear plan that demonstrates the value of better ergonomics is a great approach.
Bring statistics and do your homework. The points above are a great to start with, but if you haver personal anecdotes from people in your office, it can strengthen your case. Has someone had to take time off for carpal tunnel? How about your colleague’s bad back? Make your case personal and specific.
Above all, be polite, thoughtful, and clear. Even if you have the best case in the world, no HR person is going to prioritize your case if you approach the subject with defensiveness or rudeness. Be polite and trust that the facts are going to speak for themselves.