By Rachel Leach, CPE
1. Listen! Immediately introduce yourself and ask the user about their current workstation, equipment, and set-up. Take mental notes of all the issues mentioned so you can ensure all the issues are addressed.
2. Gain Buy-in. The goal of the assessment is to recognize and implement ergonomic issues. This can be difficult if the user does not buy into the suggested improvement ideas. Users are much more likely to open up to changes at their workstations if they feel the improvements were their idea or they had input during the process.
3. Bring Pictures of Common/Available Office Equipment. A picture is worth a thousand words. Having pictures of the recommended items and previously recommended products will aid and enhance your discussion. Users respond much better to pictures and anecdotes about how the equipment/modifications have helped others. When deciding between multiple solutions, pictures will help the user make an informed decision of which invention will best meet his or her needs.
4. Bring Sample Equipment. Working with the user to set up and try out a recommended piece of equipment can be the difference between accepting and rejecting change. Bringing samples of frequently recommended items with you to an assessment will assist in determining proper sizing of a product and whether or not the product will solve a specific issue prior to being ordered. This can decrease costs associated with returning items that are not effective and time associated with ordering and returning products.
5. Follow up. Following up is a critical step in the office ergonomic assessment process. Check back with employees to determine that recommended modifications are meeting their needs. If the improvements are not effective, steps can be taken to correct the issues. This also leaves workers with a pleasant feeling that the company cares about their well-being. In addition, users often think of new opportunities for improvement after the assessment because they have increased awareness and understanding of ergonomics and proper workstation setup.