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How does your organization measure and support ergonomics and well-being for office workers?

Are ergonomic assessments managed on a ‘per-request’ basis?

It is common for organizations to provide Ergonomic Assessments on a ‘per-request’ basis because, for many organizations, these requests come only a handful of times per year. The problem here is, that if ergonomic support is not encouraged and left to be ‘per-request’, how does an organization truly measure their current state of ergonomic wellness?

When I ask Health and Safety Managers, Human Resource Managers and etc, why they choose to support on ‘as-need’ basis, either they feel that ergonomics aren’t an issue because they only get the odd request, and if they ‘advertised’ ergonomic support it would be too much of a cost. Unfortunately, both of these reasons prove not to be sound.

In a recent client survey that practices the ‘per-request’ strategy, we showed that more than 70% of individuals experience discomfort/pain during the workday and therefore have a perceived loss of productivity. Most individuals admit they do not know how to ask, do not feel like they can take a break for self-care, and will even work longer hours just to look like they are working. This type of culture is a prime example of presenteeism, which is often hard to measure (being at work, without doing work) and leads to increased rates of absenteeism and turnover. Absenteeism alone contributes to $16.6B to the Canadian economy, which translates to 2.9% of gross salaries. That’s a loss of $1,450 for the average office worker, every year.

Back that up with research, showing ROI on ergonomics range from 3:1 and 15:1, there seems to be no sound argument for keeping these types of support on a ‘per request’ basis.

Conducting an overall ergonomic wellness survey gives a clear picture of the current state of ergonomic need and well-being, it serves as a great strategy in providing ergonomic support for those who truly need it, and serves as a metric for measuring effectiveness. Instead of waiting for staff to go out of their way to speak up, why not go to them and remedy issues before they are too costly. At the end of the day, this type of investment could mean spending less than $1000 per employee, and could see a return within 60 days or less.

Gain a clear picture of your organization’s ergonomic wellness and consider inHabit Workplace Wellness for a low cost Ergonomic Wellness Needs Assessment. Contact me, Tim Kessler, TimK@inHabitWellness.ca for a free consultation to determine how this type of assessment could be a fit for you.

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