Ergonomics: The Simple Secrets of Success


Ergonomics is the science of people’s productivity at workplace, taking into account the worker’s or employee’s abilities and limitations; many factors affect productivity. Not paying attention to the benefits of a good ergonomic environment will result in injuries and health risks.

A research carried out by Northwestern University documented the amazing results of sunlight on employees. Employees get more sleep every night and they have an improved general quality of life, better health, and more energy. A content and healthy worker is a productive one. On the other hand, employees working flexible hours are more able to juggle their personal and professional lives, which leads to lower absentee numbers and provides more job satisfaction and a general greater productivity.

Turnover rates decrease thanks to a good ergonomic environment that is more gratifying and does not involve physical strain; as a result, workers are happy to stay due to the carefully designed work climate. Ergonomics provide a better quality of work, because otherwise, the employees become tired and discouraged, which will affect their work quality and productivity.

Contrary to common beliefs, employees taking short breaks during working hours on their favorite websites—such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—does not cost the company money or waste employee time. According to a recent study, these short breaks increase their productivity instead of trying to fight the urge and keep working. On the other hand, scientific research carried out by Cornell University concluded that even the slightest noise, like that resulting from conversations or a printer, could increase the difficulty of concentrating on the task at hand. This leads to stress, since employees are not able to concentrate, which makes it more difficult to accomplish their tasks.

Moving around the office results in happier, more vigorous, and alert workers. This has many forms; taking breaks, having standing desks, or any other way that makes people work in an untraditional-seated position. Research has shown that working on slow-paced treadmills results in an increase in overall productivity. Although aromatherapy is still facing a lot of doubt from scientist, most scientists nowadays accept its mood improvement claims. As such, having a nice aroma, such as lemon oil, in the work environment affects the emotional centers of the brain and could have a positive result on the workers.

Ergonomics provides an improved health and safety strategy; as healthy employees are their best assets, great managers take into account the following factors before deciding whether to proceed or not: (1) Will the revenues increase? (2) Will the costs decrease? (3) Is it the correct thing to do? Regarding ergonomics at work, the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”.

Risks of bad ergonomics include hindering creativity, affecting work quality and the employees’ mental state. Having tight deadlines all the time and telling the workers that they are on “Survival Mode” reduces their creativity and work quality; the longer this “Mode” continues, the more consequences on their mental and physical health. Under stress, there is a decline in many of the brain’s middle and higher functions, such as communication skills, compassion, emotional balance, insight, instinct, and moral awareness.

A bad ergonomic environment also leads to injuries, such as headaches and migraines, stiff necks, musculoskeletal disorders, and back injuries. Headaches and migraines occur due to working for long hours in bad lighting. They may affect your eyes with a wide range of symptoms, from burning, fatigue, and itching, to unconnected symptoms, such as nausea, indigestion, and blurred or double vision. Bad posture is a major cause of migraines and headaches, as it creates stress on the neck and shoulders, which directly affect the head. On the other hand, any neck pain is usually associated with a bad sleeping position; this is mostly due to actions taken during working hours.

Musculoskeletal disorders are excruciating conditions that have an effect on muscles, nerves, tendons, and tendon sheaths. An example of these disorders is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, where a nerve in a certain passageway is pressed tightly; this causes many symptoms (CTS), as numbness, tingling, and severe pain. In severe cases, it can affect movement and even lead to partial paralysis. Another example is tendonitis, which is tendon swelling or irritability that is usually due to a wrong position. It happens in accident-prone places, as the elbow, kneecap, and the wrist. Finally, back injuries caused by a poor ergonomic environment—such as sitting or standing for a long time—can lead to accumulative trauma, not to mention jobs that require lifting objects or bending your waist like nurses who carry or help patients whose weight is more than what their body can handle.

Whether it is an office job or any other job that requires physical work, clearly, providing employees with a better work environment increases their productivity and job satisfaction; it also improves their health and protects them from injuries.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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