Ergonomics smells more like a buzzword than An Actual Thing – “let’s leverage that synergy for customer-centric productization!” There is a real and practical side to ergonomics, though. And it is surprisingly simple to make some changes that can have a big impact for no money.
First, a definition, and About.com has a terrific one: the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system. One great perspective is to understand ergonomics as a study of the way things move and work when performing a task (and, then, ways to make that task work better). For example, an ergonomic keyboard isn’t supposed to be a weird-looking and difficult piece of equipment; it is supposed to support and interact the natural movements and positions of a person’s hands, wrists, and forearms as they type. When your office equipment adequately reflects the actual movements and flows of your employees, they are more comfortable.
And comfort has an impact. The leading work-related health issues are associated with musculoskeletal issues – lower back pain, migraines, tendinitis, and shoulder and neck pain. There is a cascade of associated business liabilities from those injuries, from lost time to worker’s comp premiums to reduced productivity. Poor ergonomics – that is, poor working processes or equipment – directly impacts employee performance; it has been even been blamed for increased drowsiness.
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