By: Cherry Eidse, Facilities Coordinator
Does your small business value the comfort of its employees?
It should. Comfortable employees are healthier, more productive and likely to stay with your company in the long run. And don’t just take my word for it; there are over 250 case studies of companies, from small to large, that benefitted from ergonomic improvements to their workplace.
Click here to see the case studies.
Another benefit of improved ergonomics: Increased employee engagement. Employees will take a more involved role in your company, miss fewer days due to absenteeism and generally enjoy coming to work.
Here at National Leasing, we value ergonomics. As a Certified Health Ergonomic Safety Specialist, I’ve helped implement many ergonomic best practices like the provision of ergonomic assessments with staff to determine the cause of discomfort, the use of a wide variety of ergonomic equipment and furniture to provide solutions, distribution of ergonomic health information to staff about desk set up, proper chair use and stretches. I’ve also helped implement new ergonomic supports for staff such as the HOKKI Stool and a shared standing workstation.
Image from betterwaystowork.com
And we’ve seen the benefits. We consistently score high on corporate culture, engagement and retention rate surveys, and you can, too!
Below are a few ergonomic and general office improvement tips. Share them with your employees to increase their engagement, health and comfort at work.
I’ve also included a downloadable PDF at the end of this article. Print the tips out and post them around your office or work site. If employees see regular reminders, ergonomic practices become more of a routine part of their work day.
7 tips to make your employees more comfortable
1. Assess your work space
Assess your comfort level. Do you experience physical discomfort or pain during the work day? Once you know where you feel pain, remedy it using tips from the rest of this list.
2. Maintain good posture while working
Proper posture is important. If your job is office based, you’re likely sitting for significant periods of time. Follow these tips so you’re as comfortable as possible.
- Sit all the way back in your chair against the backrest
- Never sit with your legs crossed or with a leg up on your chair seat; this could create pressure on your spine and lack of circulation to your lower limbs
- Keep your knees equal to your hips with your feet supported firmly on the floor
- Hands should be in line with elbows when typing
- For writing tasks, keep a good posture as you lean forward to write at your desk and avoid reaching
- See the image below for more posture tips for working at a computer
Image from Microsoft
3. Customize computer settings
Adjust your screen font, contrast, brightness and colour to maximize visual comfort and efficiency. Your eyes will thank you!
4. Take micro breaks
Every few hours, get up from your desk and move around to improve circulation. It’s better to take shorter, more frequent breaks than fewer, longer ones. You’ll feel refreshed and more focused.
5. Stretch regularly
Take time throughout the day to stretch. This will help prevent muscle tension that could lead to injury and will improve circulation.
Here’s a stretch tip sheet you can use to get started: Stretches you can do at your desk.
6. Drink plenty of water
We all know that drinking lots of water throughout the day is great for your digestive system and skin. But did you also know it’s also good for you ergonomically? Water actually helps maintain healthy joints by keeping them lubricated.
7. Stay active outside of work
Regular exercise controls weight, boosts energy, improves mood and has a slew of other benefits. Stay active by walking, exercising at the gym, playing sports or engaging in other physical leisure activities.
Overcoming ergonomic challenges
Implementing ergonomics for your small business comes with its challenges. Two that I’ve encountered as my time as ergonomic representative: Budget restrictions and time constraints.
Ergonomic equipment, like the standing desk I mentioned, is a huge help, and if you really want to improve the comfort of your employees, an assessment from a professional ergonomic consultant is ideal. Both are costly. Thankfully there’s a ton of online ergonomic resources, where you can find free tips to make your office more comfortable. Here are a couple helpful websites:
Combine the information from those sites with the tips I provided above and you should find a cost-effective way to start your small business’s journey to comfort.
If your business has many employees, you might not have time to assess every staff member; instead, encourage employees to self-assess their work station.
This Ergonomic Guide is a great tool your employees can follow to help them set up their desks and chairs in a comfortable way. It’s an educational tool that includes detailed description of healthy ergonomic work habits that encourage and enable staff to make positive changes.
Empower and educate your employees
Empowerment and education is important when you’re making your small business more comfortable. The more your employees know about ergonomics, the more they’ll want to increase their physical comfort level at work. When you show that you care about your employees’ health and well-being, increased productivity, employee engagement and retention rates will follow!
Download the 7 tips to make your employees more comfortable PDF.