Friday, February 02, 2007

Small ergonomic changes can boost office productivity

Setting up that office does not take that much effort ...

"Many office workers regularly suffer from backaches, headaches, eyestrain, aching necks or shoulders, or other aches and pains while at work, resulting in lower productivity or lost workdays.

But more companies are beginning to realise that by employing ergonomic practices within the office environment they are able to improve the overall quality of the work life of their staff and help decrease risk of injury or illness, says Robbie Bergh, group managing director of the CN Business Furniture Group.

"Statistics reveal that at least 80 percent of South Africa's workforce is suffering from acute discomfort and even disability arising from lower back pain. After colds and flu, backaches account for the largest proportion of work absenteeism," he says.

While many companies globally are becoming increasingly aware of the value of investing in the design of ergonomically healthy and comfortable offices spaces, others do not yet fully understand the concept and how it affects workplace performance.

"Ergonomic health in the office environment encompasses various elements," explains Bergh. "Workspace factors include the lighting, air quality, temperature and acoustics, which all affect our physical and mental comfort, and contribute towards delivery or non-delivery, and happy or irritable staff."

The cognitive element is another critical factor to be taken into account in assessing the ergonomic health of an organisation. "Cognitive ergonomics considers co-worker interactions, psychological demands, individual factors and many other sources of non-physical stress. Emotional wellness has a direct impact on how effectively we perform."

Physical factors are the third vital element. "This refers to how the human body interacts with the physical workspace and work tools," he says."    (Continued via IOLjobs)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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