As any long-distance athlete can tell you, comfort is the key to success. If you’re putting in a long day, the last thing you want to do is feel drained and sore by the end of it. The time you’ll need to recover will inevitably bleed into the start of the next day’s tasks, and soon you’ll find yourself in a loop of tiredness and lowered productivity that’s hard to break.
Ergonomic science proposes to solve this problem. Long considered a valuable asset in large firms, call centres and other environments in which a large number of people need to be seated or use phones or computers for long stretches of time, ergonomic adjustments can also make an impact on small businesses with diverse numbers of employees, layouts, and physical requirements inherent in their day to day operations.
In ergonomics, the traditional “big two” concerns involve the way you use computers and chairs. Not every business, however, demands the continuous use of these implements. In almost any industry, the repetitive use of certain tools or procedures can be made more comfortable and efficient. Just look at this list of on-the-job small business ergonomics adjustments in the hospitality industry from Worksafe BC!
While ergonomics improvement does require an upfront investment, taking just a few preventative measures will certainly pay off in the long run. And interventions don’t even have to be that expensive. Rather than buying every employee an $4,000 standing desk, how about making your own by stacking bookshelves? The CEO of Vancouver’s own Hootsuite has embraced the low-cost, high-impact approach to improving on-the-job quality of life for employees by launching a $25, cardboard-constructed standing desk that anyone can assemble, called the Oristand.
What your own employees don’t know can hurt them in the long run: in addition to making physical improvements to your small business workplace, it’s important to educate and foster a culture in which it’s not OK to simply tolerate the fatigue and pain issues that may be experienced as part of the daily grind. Asking questions and being perceptive of changes in attitude, productivity and mood are key. Good ergonomics sends employees a solid message of support, showing that you care about their health and well-being. That demonstration will radiate into every aspect of your business.