dark green HÅG Creed chair at a wooden height adjustable desk with an apple mac on it in a light office

Workplace ergonomics - What does the research say?

What are the benefits of investing in ergonomic solutions in the workplace? We explore the various bodies of research examining the pros and cons of ergonomic seating and furniture.

Reported benefits of workplace ergonomics

Through literature reviews and internet searches, W. Goggins, Spielholz and L. Nothstein (2008) collected and summarized 250 case studies about ergonomic programs. They found that the use of ergonomics in the workplace leads to a reduction of:

  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • Lost workdays due to musculoskeletal disorders
  • Restricted workdays due to musculoskeletal disorders
  • Workers compensation costs due to musculoskeletal disorders
  • Absenteeism

 

The study also showed that other benefits of the ergonomic programs were increases in:

  • Productivity
  • Quality
  • Turnover

 

In Ergonomics for Healthcare environments, PhD, President and founder of Human-Environment Research Organization Tim Springer, concludes that working environments have an untapped potential for benefits in applying ergonomic to staff workplaces. His report supports that there is evidence that workplace ergonomics:

  • Improves performance
  • Improves worker satisfaction
  • Has a positive effect on recruiting and retention

 

Springer mentions that bad ergonomics causes high costs for organizations, due to the consequences of back injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.

 

Read - Desk exercises: Keeping active when working from home

Two people sitting on HÅG Capisco chairs in a doctors office

Featured: HÅG Capisco Puls (left), HÅG Capisco (right)

Cost-benefits and payback periods

Countless studies prove that a good investment in ergonomic equipment and training actually is a good business strategy, which will save your company much more money than it costs.

 

In the study first mentioned in this article, the payback period for ergonomic investments in the workplace were typically around one year.

 

In a study conducted by Alison HELLER-ONO (2014), it was found that the average Return on Investment (ROI) on ergonomic investments (covering such as consultant fees, training and ergonomic equipment), was that the organization saved $10 for every $1 invested during a five-year-long period.

 

In Tim Springer's report, he includes a review of the report by “Amick and colleagues” (2002), that concluded that ergonomics in the workplace increases performance with 17.7 % and that the benefit-to-cost ratio was amazingly 24:1.

 

These are just examples, but there are many more cases that show the same pattern; that ergonomic investment will save you money.

 

Read - What is the best office chair for back pain?

turquoise fabric on rh mereo chairs in an office

Featured: RH Mereo

lady sat on a BMA Axia chair in a white office with green bicycle in the background

Featured: BMA Axia

An attractive workplace helps you get the best people

Having good ergonomic policies in your workplace also says something about you as a company. It shows that you care about your employees. It will not only make your workplace more attractive to potential new employees but also helps to keep great people for a longer time.

 

Remember; healthier employees are happier employees. And happier employees are more likely to talk positively about you as an employer and to be satisfied with their job.

 

Still any doubts about ergonomic investments?

These were just a few samples of what is out there in terms of research proving the benefits and cost-saving opportunities with ergonomics. There is actually no doubt that most work environments would benefit economically by putting their staff's health first and invest in ergonomics. So what are you waiting for?

 

At Flokk, we have a holistic approach to design, with human factors and ergonomics at the heart of every piece of furniture we make. Click here to read more about our approach

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