New Zealand organisations are in a unique position to make small but powerful changes by utilizing a simple and undervalued tool in the wellbeing toolkit that will not only improve organisational culture, but also boost productivity, no matter where their teams work. Ergonomics.
But what exactly is ergonomics? When it comes down to it, ergonomics is just the science behind making sure people work in a safe, comfortable and productive environment. It can be applied to everything from office furniture to business processes and even employee wellbeing; ergonomic design focuses on maximising productivity and minimising physical load while remaining respectful of our health and wellbeing. Massey University defines ergonomics as the below:
"Ergonomics addresses both the needs of the person and the system, with a dual focus on optimizing well-being for both the person and the system/business/organisation. When we better understand the physical, psychological and social requirements of the person, we can better design and accommodate them in their environments (home, work, play etc)."
Since 2004 the team at Healthbox has been helping Kiwi businesses implement ergonomics programmes that empower their teams to do their best work possible. We specialise in ergonomics of the workstation, asking questions such as; how does an individual sit in their chair? are they experiencing pain when at their workstation? or are they taking micro-breaks or even breaks at all throughout the work day?
That is why we are launching our three part blog series Ergonomics Explored. In this series, we will deep dive into common workplace injuries, common workstation setup faults and looking at what role ergonomics can play in an organisations culture.
Part one will explore common workplace injuries, as a result of incorrect workstation setup, we come across regularly throughout our partners. From RSI to carpal tunnel syndrome, we look into why an individual's workstation flares these conditions and how we help prevent them.
With an understanding of how our bodies interact with a workstation, in part two we look at common faults in workstation setups. From having your screen to high, placing your mouse pad a few centimetres to far away or not having a foot rest. These may not seem like impactful issues, but a dripping tap over time can become a flood.
Wrapping up with part three, we take an overarching viewpoint of how ergonomics can positively impact an organisation on so many levels. From culture, to health and safety, to productivity and absenteeism, ergonomics is probably the most undervalued wellbeing tool in the toolkit. And we want to change that.
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Massey University, What is Ergonomics? https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/learning/departments/centres-research/centre-ergonomics-occupational-safety-health/about-us/what-is-ergonomics.cfm
The University of North Carolina, https://ehs.unc.edu/workplace-safety/ergonomics/