What is ergonomic office design?
Ergonomic office design involves adapting your workspace to benefit the health and wellbeing of your employees.
However, it’s so much more than just a fancy chair.
For example, ergonomic design is about ensuring that your workers have enough light, that the temperature is ideal, there is adequate greenery in the office as well as fresh air.
This focus on the wellbeing of workers is not a new way of thinking at all; there have been instances of basic ergonomic studies dating back to the 18th century.
For example, the Italian physician Bernadino Ramazzini wrote a work called ‘Diseases of Workers’, in 1700.
However, many organisations are, still to this day, working to create an office that is truly ergonomic, and has their staff at heart.
So, in essence, ergonomic design states that the office has to adapt to the worker, not the worker to the office.
What are the benefits?
There are innumerable benefits to ergonomic office design.
Most importantly, this worker-centric design results in healthier staff, which then has many positives for your organisation.
Healthier employees have much higher levels of productivity, whilst unhealthy employees will ensure that your business isn’t performing as well as it could be.
It really is this simple.
For instance, employees who are exposed to more natural light, greenery and fresh air have increased levels of happiness, more sleep and less instances of minor illness.
This translates into more productive workers, and a better bottom line for your business.
When it comes to other types of ergonomics, research has shown that better quality furniture (particularly desk chairs), lower the rates of musculoskeletal injuries.
These injuries can result from poor posture and movement, which is often solved with high quality, ergonomic chairs.
Therefore, these workers will spend more time in the office, and be in better physical condition, free from discomfort and distraction.
If your employees are happy in their work place, and physically and mentally healthy, they’ll be much more likely to remain in your organisation.
For example, studies have found that ergonomic intervention can reduce staff turnover by up to 87% – an enormous positive for your organisation.
How to implement ergonomic design?
The first, and most obvious step is to ensure that the furniture you’re using in your office, including desks and chairs, are of high quality and promote good posture.
Next, have an ergonomic specialist come in and assess each of your employees’ workstations – their chair and desk height, lumbar support and their form when sitting.
This will also help educate your staff on the best practices, when sitting at their desk.
Next, add plenty of plants to your office.
This natural element will have a huge effect on the quality of the air in your office. As well as that, having greenery for your staff to look at positively influences their mood.
A better mood means a happier, more productive worker.
As well as furniture and greenery, you need to make sure that your workers are exposed to as much natural light as possible.
Natural light is an essential element of ergonomic design, as it maintains our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. It also lowers our stress levels, and improves our mood.
A lack of sleep can result in more susceptibility to mental illness such as anxiety and depression, a dramatic increase in instances of minor illness, and lower levels of concentration.
To put it simply, sleep deprived workers will cost your business.
For the benefit of your workers, and for the benefit of your business, make sure your office has enough windows, and that the light from these windows is not impeded.
Finally, the acoustics in your office can also play a part in ergonomics.
An office that is too loud will wear on your workers concentration, and a loud environment is not one conducive to workplace satisfaction.
You need to attain a comfortable noise level in your office, so that your workers can remain focused and on task, and won’t feel frustrated.
If you’d like to discuss ergonomic design for your office, get in touch with Niche Projects here.
We currently offer free office space plans.
Click this link to find out more.