Ergonomics in Office Design
By J’ai Watson, AEP
When implementing corporate workplace moves, several teams are usually involved including the project management team, the furniture vendor team, the electrical team, and the information technology (IT) team. Strangely enough, the ergonomics team is often overlooked during the design phases of these moves. The job of an ergonomist revolves around ensuring a product or task will fit/benefit the majority of users. By excluding ergonomics during design phase, companies are at risk of exhibiting a reactive approach at preventing injury.
A management team can create space to move employees; a furniture vendor can design new furniture to design specifications; an electrical team can ensure power to workstations; and an IT team can set up a user’s workstation technology. However, does the management team identify the exact space requirements needed for sit-to-stand workstations? Does the furniture team know the company’s anthropometric data to ensure the majority of employees will fit and benefit from the purchased furniture? Does the electrical team know where to wire the electrical outlets to best serve the users? And does the IT team know the correct placement of monitors, keyboards, and mice to prevent awkward postures?
By utilizing ergonomists as “fixers” instead of as design experts, a company is ultimately limiting themselves. Ergonomists should not only be a part of the original planning process, but should regularly be consulted by all teams in order to utilize all brainpower and possible resources available. By implementing ergonomics from the early phases of design, companies can slowly become proactive at reducing injuries and save money by doing so!