3 Hidden Costs of Office Ergonomics

“We did an independent survey with one firm and found that 60 per cent of the reasons that people gave for leaving that firm were to do with their core workplace environment,” recalls Nick Cook, managing director at consultancy Haywards. Poor lighting, poor storage, poor desk configuration, and poor worker interaction because of badly designed office space were all factors in their decisions.

How an office’s technical infrastructure is configured can lead to quantifiable improvements in productivity.  Here’s a list of three office infrastructure pitfalls that lower employee satisfaction and productivity:

1. Poor Lighting
“When you ask people what the most important thing is to them in the workspace, 36 per cent say that natural light is a major concern,” says Cook.

2. Improper Heating and Ventilation
Inadequate ventilation can cause carbon dioxide to accumulate in areas of the office – watch for employees yawning.

And the temperature needs to be kept between 18 and 22 degrees centigrade. People slow down for every degree the temperature rises above about 22°C.

Replacing cathode ray tube monitors with flat-screen LCDs will greatly reduce heat output, while improving user productivity.

3. Unfriendly Technology
Making sure all software, including off-the shelf applications, is best configured to prevent employees from stumbling into inefficient or unproductive ways of doing things can also save money.

There’s often a gap between what the software is capable of and how people use it,” says Nigel Heaton, an ergonomist at risk management consultancy Human Applications. “People making inefficient use of software is a hidden cost.”
More Info: Financial Times article, Ergonomics: Hidden costs of the uncomfortable workplace

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