Want a Healthy Workplace? Start with the Basics

Jane Cowan-Harris

Head of WorkSpace IQ
www.workspaceiq.co.nz

In my experience, most organisations want to look after their staff well but, given the seemingly intangible nature of wellness, are unsure of the best way to spend their dollars.

After all, how do you know if your investment and commitment to the cause is going to be worth it? How do you measure if you really are getting a healthy return? My advice is to start with the basics.

A challenge every workplace has, regardless of the business type, is that people come in all shapes and sizes. One size desk or chair does not suit all, and so the starting point of any programme within an office setting is the furniture selection.

When buying a desk, it pays to buy those that are easily height adjustable so that individuals can set them at the right height for themselves, by themselves. And remember that just because a desk or chair is adjustable, not everyone will know how to adjust it.

This is also true if you’re investing in sit-stand desks;make sure people know how to adjust them up and down during the day.

Adjustable desks may cost more at the outset but will benefit with less lost time off work and increased productivity, particularly for those people who have to sit for long periods of the day. Get advice on the right kind of desk for your people and the tasks they are doing before you buy. It can save money long term and ensure optimal use of this furniture.

Set workstations up correctly

Screen height and position is another crucial area which, if not addressed correctly at the time of set-up, can lead to eye and neck strain – two of the most common complaints from high computer users, but there are others.

Take a moment to consider your workplace. Is there anyone– including you – who might be at risk of: Developing awkward postures, doing repetitive tasks for long periods of time, being stuck in static postures (having no reason to move), or building up muscle tension (having no opportunity to rest).

Again, ensuring people are aware of the correct positioning will reduce the risk of injuries and, subsequent lost time off work.

While not always immediately obvious, workplace wellness or ergonomics programmes bring many measurable benefits including: Increased productivity, reduced injuries, correct compliance, subsequent reduction in related costs such as people taking time off work, having to get a temp in, increased ACC levies, and increased employee engagement – people appreciate knowing that you appreciate them.

Author: magazinestoday

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