Right around a century ago tens of millions of hard workers were experiencing a crisis of comfort. Hours upon hours of standing with little to no activity led to countless back problems and muscle pains, and contributed to further health problems later in life. Eventually something was done about it. Business leaders and lawmakers decided employers ought to be more responsible for employee ergonomics. Changes were made, and the pains of the work week slowly subsided.
Flash forward 100 years later. Ergonomics in the workplace is still a hot topic issue. How come? The truth of the matter is that despite attempts to maintain employee health by-way of improving work environments, little is actually accomplished without some hard science being applied to the process. The hard science of ergonomics. Without it, employers and lawmakers are attempting to fix the problem without getting to the root.
So...what is the science of ergonomics? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ergonomics is the act of fitting a job to a person and thus reducing the chances of injury or worse. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot of government insight into the art of Ergonomics, besides tips and advice on how employers can improve work conditions for their employees. Again we ask, what is the science of Ergonomics?
Simply put, the science of Ergonomics is the science of human anatomy. We’re in many ways designed to lead lives full of activity - mainly walking, running, and using our hands. We’re made for standing upright.
Similar to why you wouldn’t put a Porsche in Lake Erie expecting it to work like a boat, it’s not surprising that humans don’t function well when made to work in postures and positions our bodies weren’t designed to experience for longer than a few minutes. Sitting in a chair for hours - this is something the human body was never meant to undergo.
The importance of Ergonomics in the workplace hinges on a need to adhere to the function of the human body. Without taking the time to ensure employees are comfortable in their work setting, employers are more likely to have to deal with the major headaches of their own.
Neglecting the importance of Ergonomics leads to lost productivity and legal troubles. These, of course, can be death sentences to small businesses. It’s critical for the success of any company to pay close attention to the quality of life workers experience when on the clock.
But it’s not a simple matter of having your workers stand instead of sit at their desks. While sitting for prolonged periods of time is linked to a dangerous increase in risk for disability, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, keep in mind we were once upon a time forced to deal with the dangers of workers standing for too long too.
The key to good workplace Ergonomics, especially in the office, is to provide an adjustable platform for employees to work. Desks which can be easily converted from sitting to standing position enable workers to switch up their posture and position during the work day.
Work is not a place to kick back and relax. But employees shouldn’t be slowly destroying their bodies during their time at work either. Striking a balance is key. The secret? The science and importance of Ergonomics in the workplace.