So many well-meaning human resource professionals, office managers, and business owners have tried to implement an ergonomics program in their companies without any kind of long-term success. There are many reasons this can happen. Whether it’s lack of knowledge, a misunderstanding of what good ergonomics is, or another reason, there are many chances for a program to fail, but just as many for it to succeed, with the right resources.
Ergonomics Issues Cannot be Solved by Furniture Alone
Many people think that ergonomic issues can be solved by just getting ergonomic equipment into their office. While it is true that ergonomic chairs, desks, keyboards, mousepads and the like can help with pain and strain, it is not the be-all, end-all solution. First, many pieces of furniture or other types of equipment will make some sort of ergonomic claim, which does not necessarily mean it is right for you. Getting a recommendation from an ergonomics professional with regard to an affordable but appropriate solution is the best way to tackle furniture. When we say ergonomics expert, we definitely do not mean go to a store and ask what you need. There needs to be an assessment made of your space, your employees and your general needs. Don’t go out and buy 15 standing desks with all the accouterments without discussing whether or not they will be used or HOW they will be used. Certainly, don’t start buying anything until you understand what the issues your employees are facing.
Ergonomics is Not a “Set It and Forget It” Solution
Good ergonomic practices require time, training and reminders for employees on a regular basis. Along with the correct furniture, things like placement of monitors, hands, feet, and posture, as well as desk height and chair height, all play a role in ergonomic success. Particularly in the beginning of the implementation of a new ergonomic program, it is easy for employees to slip back into old habits. You’ll see a lot of hunched backs, crossed legs, and slouching going on in the beginning. There should be at least one designated ergonomics enforcer who will help ensure the long-term success of your investment in an ergonomics program. This person should be empowered to help gently correct any improper ergonomic alignment and serve as a reminder of the benefits to each employee of how practicing good ergonomics will help them feel better in their everyday life.
Ergonomics Success Requires Commitment from Everyone Involved
When undertaking an ergonomics program, it is important before the new program has even started to be implemented that employees understand the benefit and impact this program can have on how they feel at work. Sharing the benefit for employees and why it is important to management for them to feel good and be healthy can make a big difference in commitment level of your teams. Make sure everyone knows it’s not just about getting new furniture, but how they use the furniture. That it will take a change in thought, awareness of surroundings and self-awareness. Prepare them for training and let them know there will be an ongoing assessment to ensure that they are utilizing the equipment and plans successfully. Encourage feedback and peer-to-peer assistance when it comes to ergonomic success.
An ergonomic expert can help tremendously when it comes to choosing the right equipment, teaching employees how to use the equipment and providing ongoing assessments. What’s even better than calling in an outside expert? Having your own expert right in your office. Rather than spending time asking someone else to come in time and time again to continue your ergonomics program, why not have an employee trained in implementation and success strategies, as well as a partner in assessments. Healthworks Ergonomics regularly offers workshops in our Austin ergonomics lab for just that purpose! Your team member or members can learn how to assess, correct and support ergonomic efforts in your office. The success of your team, even as new hires start can be handled internally with this remarkable training program from our team at Healthworks Ergonomics! Contact us with any questions.