Evolution of an Office Ergonomics Program – Lesson Learned #2
by Katie Grosteffon, AEP
Previously, I shared with you one lesson learned from implementing an office ergonomics initiative (from my AIHce 2014 presentation, “The Evolution of an Office Ergonomics Program”). As promised, here is the second lesson:
Lesson #2: Phased Roll-Out
When deploying a large ergonomic initiative, carefully consider the timing of the deployment, to account for the needs of the company and the capabilities of the ergonomics staff. If it is a big company, it may be helpful to phase the roll-out of the initiative over time. Instead of introducing the program to the entire company at once, roll it out to smaller groups over time. For example, roll it out by site, by floor, or by department. This has the following benefits:
Ergonomics staff capabilities – Time the initiative in a way that allows your ergonomics staff to manage the additional work. For example, if you are introducing an office ergonomic assessment software program, the program will flag a certain percentage of your employees that need additional help from an ergonomics professional. If you introduce the program to your entire company at once, more people may be flagged for assessments than your team can handle. Instead, introduce the self assessment to small groups of employees, so that your ergonomists can properly manage the employees that are flagged. To figure out how quickly you can roll out your initiative, conduct a pilot program with a small group of employees. Determine the referral rate for ergonomics assessments from the software for this group, and based on the capabilities of your ergonomics staff, calculate how many people you can address each month.
Training needs – If you are requiring a mandatory training program as part of your ergonomics initiative (see lesson #1), remember that it takes time to train a large number of people. Phasing the deployment over time allows you to make sure that your employees are adequately trained and fully understand the new program.
Meaningful timing – Any changes to your ergonomics program will “stick” better if they are tied with other changes in your organization in a meaningful way. For example, if a group of employees is moving to a new floor or building, this is a great time to introduce an online ergonomics assessment program to them. They can use the new software program to conduct an ergonomic self-assessment at their new desk. Phasing the roll-out of your ergonomics initiative over an extended time period will give you more opportunities to adjust the timing of the roll-out to different groups based other changes happening within the company.