31 Oct How the right office furniture can increase productivity.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design”. – Ralf Speth
Ergonomics is so much more than expensive chairs. If you don’t take the ergonomic quality of your office space seriously, it can have dire consequences. Incorrect posture alongside unsuitable office furniture will lead to discomfort, stress and fatigue for all of your staff, which may see employees leave in alarming quantities. Investing in the comfort of your team members demonstrates that the company does care about their quality of health.
What are ergonomics and why are they important?
Ergonomics is an umbrella term describing the discipline of designing a workplace environment to suit the needs of staff members. Ergonomics ensure that staff are able to work comfortably, efficiently and productively throughout their day. An office environment that has been designed to incorporate ergonomic features is less likely to lose staff members due to injury or discomfort.
Encouraging good posture
Physical ergonomics involves assessing how a worker is affected by their day to day workloads and finding ways to reduce this impact. For example, a desk worker would benefit from having a raised monitor to avoid neck strain from looking up or down for long periods of time. Having furniture that encourages proper posture as well as frequent breaks is known to increase staff productivity and overall happiness.
Decreasing cognitive load
Cognitive ergonomics is the process of ensuring that a workspace supports lighter cognitive loads. This can include having instructions for a day’s task set out clearly in view of all workers. It is also important that your office cognitive load is accommodating to Neuro-divergant employees. For example, employees with ADHD would benefit greatly from timers, realistic workloads, calendars and the ability to take short breaks away from the desk.
Similar to cognitive ergonomics, organisational ergonomics studies how an office space encourages employees to collaborate. This can include designing an open office to enable easy conversation between colleagues. A simple way to improve the productivity of your office is scheduling weekly meetings that allow employees to touch base with each other and catch up with on-going projects. Workspace group chats using Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or any other instant messaging software can also allow teams to communicate easily regardless of where they are working from.
The benefits of good ergonomic design
Taking the time to design an office that is suited to the needs of your work comes with numerous benefits, some of which include:
- A healthy workplace culture
- High employee retention
- Fewer sick days and a higher quality of health amongst staff.
- More productive work hours.
Creating a healthy workplace culture
An office that has been designed from the ground up to support the physical and mental health of employees will naturally have a positive workplace culture. Showing your staff that you’re concerned for their health at work over profit margins is a surefire way to increase productivity. Happy employees are always the most productive.
High employee retention
Incorrect posture alongside unsuitable office furniture will lead to discomfort, stress and fatigue for all of your staff. Musculoskeletal disorders are amongst the most common forms of injury in the workplace according to the American Bureau of Labour Statistics. These injuries occur when an individual has been sitting incorrectly whilst working. A redesigned office space that is comfortable to work in will see fewer employees leave the company due to workplace injury or uncomfortable working conditions.
Fewer sick days and a higher standard of health.
32.5 million working days were lost in 2019 due to work-related illnesses. Designing your office space to promote good posture practices and implementing ergonomic office furniture will see less employees call in sick.
More productive working hours
Employees that are comfortable will work at a productive level for longer periods of time than those in less comfortable conditions. The growing popularity of standing desks has been mainly spurred on by the correlation between standing desks, health and productivity. A recent study conducted by the NHS concluded that when standing desks were made available to staff, team members felt less tired and more engaged when using height-adjustable workstations.
How to assess whether your office space is outdated.
What makes a great workplace? The strategies behind the world’s best workplaces differ among organisations, regions and, of course, employee functions, but there are similarities in what these organisations are doing and how they approach the balancing act of ‘work’ being not only a thing you do, but also a place you actually want to be.
Taking the decision to update your office furniture will rapidly improve the quality of work that your employees are capable of. Not only this, as the culture of office work begins to change with the rise of remote and hybrid working, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your office is ready for the future.
Some key questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your office space are:
- Are employees comfortable at their desks?
- Do employees complain about neck, shoulder or back pain?
- Is workplace communication strong?
- Are there spaces within the office that allow employees to communicate?
- Are employees coping with workloads?
Optrys has been providing expert consultation for workplaces seeking to improve the quality of their office for over a decade. If you would like to learn more about how to assess whether your office furniture is stopping your company from achieving the best work it is capable of, or you would like to learn more about office renovations, please contact us on 0800 061 4072or by filling out our online form.