The Ergonomics of Employee Wellness

Did your mother ever tell you, “Never judge a book by its cover”? This well-known quip is often used to remind us that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge based solely on one’s outward appearance. Quite often when we think of ergonomics, we think of its outward, more physical features: workstation height, load bearing, walking distance, horizontal reaches, asymmetrical postures, to name a few. But we’re here to tell you that ergonomics is much more than that, it’s about what’s on the inside – just like your mother said. Of course, ergonomics is an attractive idea when it comes to physical safety and injury prevention, but did you know that there is another level to ergonomics? One that prioritizes employee mental health and well-being?

Ergonomics: It’s More Than Meets the Eye

Workplace ergonomics can be so much more than what meets the eye. The benefits of implementing an ergonomics program are far greater than the physical measurables. An ergonomically designed workplace has a huge impact on employee mental health and well-being. Incorporating ergonomics into your daily workplace practices tells your employees that their health and safety is number one, resulting in feelings of gratitude, appreciation, and respect. When ergonomics is at the forefront of your health and safety program employees are more likely to:

  • Experience feelings of enthusiasm towards their workplace
  • Report on feelings of safety and security at work
  • Feel confident in their workplace
  • Take pride in their work

Implementing Solutions for Employee Wellness

When we allow ourselves to see past the outward appearance of ergonomics, and look deeper inside, we learn that by implementing physical changes to the workplace, we can improve employee mental health and well-being. Truthfully, your goal as a health and safety professional or management representative can be to improve employee wellness through ergonomics. Focusing on employee wellness means improving the workstation to increase comfort, focus, and productivity.

For example, you notice some of your employees have been working slower, taking less pride in the work they produce, and overall seem unhappy in the workplace. These are all signs that an ergonomic solution is required. As a solution, you implement adjustable workstations, to allow employees to personalize their workstation height. This ergonomic change not only eliminates physical hazards, but it also improves employee focus and concentration. Improved focus and concentration mean greater productivity and greater production of work that your employees are proud of.

Once you have discovered an ergonomic hazard or problem, the first step is to create an open dialogue with the affected employees. This is the most critical step in uncovering ergonomic solutions. Not only does it help your team determine the physical solutions but when you initiate open lines of communication for your employees, you unlock the power potential to unburden their mental load.

Just remember, “Never judge a book by its cover”, ergonomics allows for a holistic approach to workplace improvement, showcasing solutions to physical and mental stressors.