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Ergonomic Office Design. Why Does It Matter?


Research has shown that ergonomic office design can boost employee morale and productivity. Why is an ergonomic office layout important? Read to find out more!

High employee morale has a direct impact on employee productivity. In fact, research shows that higher employee morale can result in as much as 21% more productivity. One of the major ways to ensure that morale among your workers is high is by ensuring that they have a comfortable office space to work in – and that is where ergonomic office design comes in. 

What is ergonomic office design?

Active Ergonomics in Office Design

Simply put, ergonomic office design means ensuring that the office space is optimised to meet the needs of the people working in it. In an ergonomic office layout, the way the office is designed should cater to your workers’ activities and not the other way around. 

Traditionally, ergonomics revolved around uniformity and making sure that every employee worked in the same type of space. However, changing technologies means that not only have the gadgets used in an office changed, so have the needs of employees. 

In order to meet the changing needs in today’s offices, specialists recommend that workplaces embrace ‘Active Ergonomics.’ This type of ergonomics centers around three ideas that should be part of your office ergonomics design checklist:

  • Anthropometrics: Essentially the same as classic ergonomics, this is about how employees interact with their environment.
  • Ambients: The environmental conditions of any workspace. This includes factors such as office noise levels, air quality, and more. 
  • Movement: This covers everything from an employee’s ability to move from one space in the office to another to how they move in relation to their particular workspace (for example, how they are able to adjust their posture at their chair).

Why is ergonomic office design important?

As mentioned, the best ergonomic office designs can help boost employee productivity. However, understanding why this is the case means understanding how ergonomics improves employee morale as a whole.

1. Reduce office injuries

Most employers think of injures on the job as problems only businesses involved in high-risk sectors, such as construction, need to consider. However, some of the biggest injury concerns in the workplace are musculoskeletal disorders – that is, injuries relating to the muscles, nerves, tendons, cartilage, spinal discs, and joints. 

Some examples include sprains, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and strains. These disorders can develop even during the course of “passive” jobs. In fact, research shows that nearly 60% of employees working on a computer report wrist pain. 

2. Improve productivity

An ergonomic office design layout not only makes it easier for an employee to move around a space, it also makes it more comfortable for him to work. Research suggests that a well-designed office space can improve employee efficiency by up to 36%. A large part of this is due to the fact that, by taking care of employee health, businesses no longer have to worry about lost work hours due to injured employees. Furthermore, they also do not have to worry about having to pay out workers compensation due to such injuries. 

3. Improve staff loyalty

Currently, only 40% of South African workers feel that their office helps to support their health and overall well-being. Ergonomic office design can help change that number for the better. 

Ergonomic office design and the Law

In fact, ergonomics play such a significant role in ensuring employee well-being that the South African Minister of Employment and Labour released a set of Ergonomics Regulations for South African employers in 2019. These regulations ask that employers implement an ergonomic programme in the workplace as part of any existing health and safety programmes they may already have. 

Furthermore, they require employers to implement risk controls and medical surveillance, so employees are not exposed to ergonomic risks, and any injuries are monitored and tracked. 

An ergonomic office is a better place to work

These are only some of the advantages that ergonomics can offer in an office environment. Proper ergonomic office design also improves work quality, as employees are less likely to get tired and irritated easily.  

For employers, introducing ergonomic design into workspaces for the first time can be challenging. With professional input, it needn’t be. 

Furthermore, they require employers to implement risk controls and medical surveillance, so employees are not exposed to ergonomic risks, and any injuries are monitored and tracked. 

Creating a better tomorrow with Giant Leap?

We pride ourselves on creating innovative, exceptional designs for businesses across every sector. We believe in the ethos that if you treat people well, they will do their best work for you. Treating people well, starts with creating offices and corporate spaces in which they can flourish and can feel utterly motivated.

People are at the heart of everything we do; everything we design.

Giant Leap, welcome to a better place.