The Impact of Office Ergonomics on Employee Health and Productivity

office ergonomics

If you own a business, it is important to look out for the health and well-being of your employees. Creating an ergonomically-designed office is an essential part of doing just that.

Designing your space with ergonomics in mind is all about making sure that your employees have the furniture and equipment that they need to keep their bodies comfortable and properly aligned while they work.

In an office, that means making sure that their desks, chairs, computers, and other furniture and equipment are set up so they can work in a comfortable posture while keeping their bodies properly aligned.

Ergonomics can have a major impact on the health of your employees. Sitting in awkward positions for long periods of time or performing repetitive tasks can lead to a variety of different musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) ranging from carpal tunnel to tendinitis.

Poorly-designed furniture or workstations can also cause employees to experience problems like back and neck pain, muscle strain, and trigger finger.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that an average of 33% of the illnesses and injuries that occur in the workplace are caused by MSDs. Not only can these conditions cause employees to miss work but they can also result in hefty medical bills.

Additionally, when workers experience pain or discomfort on the job, it is harder for them to stay focused on the task at hand. This can negatively impact productivity, reducing the amount of work that they are able to get done.

Failing to take ergonomics into account can also have a negative effect on employee morale. No one wants to go to work each day if they have to spend time in an office where they are constantly uncomfortable or in pain or where it is difficult for them to do their job because their tools and equipment aren’t properly set up.

It is important to understand the correlation between ergonomics and employee health and productivity. To get a better sense of how important it is to have an ergonomically designed space, you just need to take a look at some of the statistics.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common injuries that occur in an office environment. This condition is caused by performing repetitive tasks such as typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse. It is especially likely to occur in situations where an employee’s workstation puts their wrists at the wrong angle while they type or work at their desk.

This condition can cause pain and numbness, which not only can make employees uncomfortable but can also keep them from doing their jobs. Productivity tends to take a nosedive when workers are experiencing pain every time they sit at their desk.

Recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome is far from easy. It typically requires a full month for employees to recover, keeping them out of work for a significant amount of time.

When employees miss work for such a long period of time, it can negatively affect your business.

This is just one example among many. Other health conditions that are caused by a poorly-designed work area can be equally as problematic in terms of their effect on the health and well-being of your employees and the overall productivity of your office.

Anytime workers are sick or injured, it can have a major impact on your bottom line.

The medical costs associated with MSDs are also quite staggering. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), out of every three dollars that is spent on workers compensation, one dollar goes toward treating workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders.

That adds up to between $15 billion and $20 billion in worker’s compensation on an annual basis. Even more staggering, the direct costs associated with these types of injuries can reach as high as $50 billion each and every year.

The good news is, setting up an ergonomic workspace is easier than you might think. The money that you invest in redesigning your office can more than pay for itself by keeping your workers happy, healthy, and productive. Here are some of the primary pieces of furniture and equipment that you should address:

  1. Office Chairs

Investing in adjustable chairs for all of your employees is a great place to start. Each employee should be able to adjust the height of their chair so that their feet can sit flat on the ground while they are working with their knees bent at a 90° angle.

Look for chairs with built-in lumbar support. Not only do these chairs provide support for the lower back but they also encourage better posture, helping to minimize neck and shoulder pain.

If you choose chairs with arms, make sure that the height of the arms can be adjusted, as well. That way, workers can keep their arms bent at the proper angle without having to scrunch their shoulders up around their ears.

Finally, look for chairs that swivel. This allows workers to turn to one side or the other without having to twist their bodies.

  1. Desks or Workstations

Desks should be designed with comfort in mind. They should be an appropriate height for the average worker. Adjustable keyboard trays and monitor stands make it easier for workers to set up their computers so that their body is in the right position while they work. Make sure there is plenty of leg room under the desk, as well, so that workers can sit with their legs facing straight ahead toward their computer monitor. Also consider standing desks from

  1. Telephone Headsets

Talking on the phone for long periods of time can force workers to sit in uncomfortable positions. Telephone headsets can help eliminate this problem by allowing them to sit in a natural, relaxed posture while they are on the phone.

As an employer, it is important to make sure that the office where your employees work is designed with ergonomics in mind. When setting up your office, think about how each work area will affect the health and well-being of your employees.

In the long run, the time, money, and effort that you invest in creating an ergonomic work environment can save you a lot of money while at the same time helping your workers stay as productive as possible.