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Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics - How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

“Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Your job performance is greatly affected by how well your workstation is arranged. If you work in clutter, with distraction, or without proper ergonomics, then you are setting yourself up to be less efficient in the workplace.

Get organized in 5 steps:

  1. Start by throwing out everything you don’t need.  It could take a while to throw away the clutter at your workstation, however, you should take the day to do this until only the essentials are left.
  2. Use physical boxes and trays for paperwork. Purchase a tray or use an empty box to create 3 separate boxes: incoming paperwork, paperwork you’re working on, and paperwork that is finished. Place your inbox and outbox near the entrance of your workstation for easy delivery and retrieval.
  3. Put unnecessary items out of sight. Items like your phone charger, your sunglasses, or your wallet may be essential to you, but not to your work. Put these items in a drawer for safe keeping and less clutter. Additionally, put items like stamps, tape, or staplers in a drawer of their own when not being used.
  4. Throw stuff away! Instead of hording all that old paperwork, get a big trash can that you can throw all of it in and keep your mind focused on the job.
  5. Organize your computer desktop. It may not be physical clutter, but if your desktop screen is littered with icons of random files and shortcuts, then you will have a harder time working efficiently. Create folders, delete old files, and establish a system to make it easy to find the files and programs you need.

Get rid of distractions.

Identify distractions and eliminate them during times when you need to focus.

This could be as simple as closing your door (if your office has one) or turning off e-mail notifications. It may sound scary to make yourself unavailable, but most jobs don’t require instant response to e-mails. In fact, it is recommended to designate specific times of the workday for e-mails and texts.

Lastly, schedule a time to check-in with yourself and note how much work you have accomplished so far. If you’re behind due to distractions, consider refining your strategy until you’re satisfied with your pace of work.

Invest in a comfortable workstation.

Does your workstation have an ergonomic mouse and keyboard? Is your computer monitor, desk, and chair adjusted properly for your height? If you don’t know, then you may want to reach out to your office administrator or human resources director to find out. If you are the manager or admin, then be sure you’ve acquainted yourself with the best ergonomics practices and ergonomics gadgets to avoid injury.

The best way to setup your workstation is by investing in an ergonomics assessment. An ergonomics professional will design a workstation that will allow employees to work faster with less effort. Proper posture, fewer motions, less difficult reaches, and less exertion means efficient employees and a higher quality product.  “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Don’t be afraid of investing in a comfortable work environment, it will make your office happier and more productive, which pays off in the long run.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average, an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months” due to more efficient and happier workers. In fact, happiness alone “led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive” according to the University of Warwick,

In conclusion

Go the extra mile by organizing your workstation, removing distractions, and investing in proper ergonomics evaluations or ergonomics tools. You and your co-workers will work faster, for longer periods of time, and experience less pain in your wrists, back, neck, and hands due to a proper workstation setup.

Share or print out these tips for the rest of the office workers or employees and for more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance.


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