Comfortably busy: Office ergonomics for peak productivity

2Workplace trends are changing fast these days: from traditional offices, young business sharks recently moved to home-bound work environments, only to start booking seats in co-work hubs shortly thereon. The concept of the workplace designed with worker satisfaction in mind will probably continue to change in the years to come, but one thing is certain beyond doubt: companies that have realized the importance of office ergonomics for peak productivity have a bright future. But what is an ergonomic office, and which elements should a workplace have to qualify as such?

The ABC of ergonomics: Not just a comfy seat


Office ergonomics is a relatively broad field which draws on the findings from various disciplines such as biomechanics, engineering, psychology, industrial design, and physiology in order to “fit the job to the worker”. The reasoning behind office ergonomics is simple: employees who are comfortable during work hours stand lower risk of contracting occupational diseases, and their productivity is also higher compared to workers in conventional offices. Still, ergonomic design is not just a label that sells office furniture like hot cakes: it also spans lighting, soundproofing, and air conditioning as important factors that impact productivity and workplace comfort.

Light of corporate success: Ergonomic light


Internal lighting plays a major role in ergonomic office design: according to recent studies, open-floor workplaces which receive lots of natural light have a beneficial effect on employees’ mood and alertness, both of which are integral to higher output. Another research into indoor lighting and office productivity found that workers in offices with cooler (i.e. blue-enriched) light report better concentration, higher productivity, and improved overall wellbeing. The message is pretty clear: light quality and intensity can make or break business success, whether you are working from a home office or a shared workplace.

No back stress: Furniture that fits job requirements


The demand for ergonomic office furniture in Melbourne, New York, London, Moscow, Vienna, and Beijing alike is rising as more and more companies are waking up to the gains behind the superior-quality workstations and seating. Sit-to-stand desks, adjustable-height seating, chairs with inflatable armrests, back support, or memory foam lining are very popular these days, and various studies show that their use in office design can boost employees’ focus, comfort, safety, and productivity and reduce break frequency and absenteeism. Ergonomic furniture also fosters higher work engagement and morale, alleviates fatigue, promotes healthy posture, and reduces worker discomfort caused by sitting in an unnatural position for hours.

Sound of money rolling: Combating workplace noise


Noise is a given in most modern workplaces: keyboards clacking, phones buzzing, bass booming in coworker’s headphones, and colleagues’ chuckles and asides are all audio diversions getting in the way of productivity. Acoustic distractions can reduce workplace output by as many as 66%, which is why sound strategy is an important topic in office ergonomics. Sound-absorbing materials applied to the walls, floors, and ceilings can reduce noise level, while white noise and ambient background music or nature sounds emitted from high-quality systems can help mask the din of a busy workplace and replace it with tunes more conducive to peak productivity.

Take a deep breath: Air quality at work matters, too


Air quality is one more aspect of office ergonomics which needs to be fine-tuned for optimum output. High concentration of carbon dioxide can reduce alertness and make employees sleepy, while presence of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and toxic chemicals can compromise workers’ health in the long run. Adding indoor plants to the office can increase productivity by 15-20%, while regular HVAC updates can help reduce absenteeism and improve long-term employee health and comfort, as well as work productivity and safety.

Office ergonomics is changing the modern workplace in more than one way, and for common good: employees can finally say Goodbye to occupational illnesses and companies can improve bottom line, halve absenteeism, and leverage peak productivity.

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The above post was written and submitted by Zoe Clark. You can find her on Facebook: Twitter: and Google+:

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