Can ergonomic furniture improve employee productivity?

Walk into any office space and the first thing you might notice is the furniture. How an office is furnished signals how an employer views their employees’ comfort. Ergonomic furniture looks sleek and pulled together, eliciting a positive reaction while uncomfortable and ill-fitting furniture is off-putting. An office’s furnishings are more than their aesthetic appeal, however. As it turns out, ergonomic furniture can significantly improve overall employee comfort, which in turn affects their productivity. Ergonomic furniture goes beyond mere functionality and is concerned with the employees’ comfort in mind. Ergonomic furniture reduces employee pain and by doing so creates a more positive, productive environment. 

Ergonomic furniture helps prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration musculoskeletal disorders ”affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.” Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains and lower back injuries. These types of injuries usually take time to heal and if the problem isn’t remedied, then it can become a recurring issue. It’s clear that MSDs can have long-lasting negative effects on the body and ill- fitting furniture can negatively affect your long-term physical health. According to Bautch as cited in Horvath and Godio (2021), “Sitting for long periods of time in the same position can lead to muscle fatigue and decreased productivity, both of which can be combated with an ergonomic workspace.” Furthermore, Perna as cited in Builder and Pariso (2021) says that sitting this way, in the wrong position for long periods of time, can lead to the breakdown of the spine. With employees spending at least 7-8 hours minimum, often even longer, at their workplace, the workplace plays an important role in helping to reduce the chances of an employee getting a musculoskeletal disorder. Preventing work-related MSDs are not only cost-effective to the employee who now does not have to spend time and money treating their injury, but it can be beneficial to the employer, too. 

Examples of ergonomic office furniture include chairs that can be adjusted by height with proper lumbar support to ease back pain and arm supports, keyboard and mouse supports which prevent arm and wrist injuries, and adjustable computer monitors and screen filters to reduce glare, reducing eye strain. Ergonomic office furniture can be anything that allows someone to work without suffering from muscle strain and stress-related injuries by promoting proper posture thereby reducing muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue and stress negatively impacts an employee’s ability to perform their tasks. Muscle fatigue and chronic pain can affect an employee’s mood, sleep, emotional well-being, and attitude thereby affecting employee performance and their attitude in the office. According to Dr. Danoff, “the AOA survey found that 3 in 10 office workers lose two or more hours a month on work-related tasks because of pain – that’s equivalent to three workdays a year.” Having ergonomic furniture addresses these concerns and helps with employee comfort. Comfortable employees are more productive as they do not have to worry about pain, discomfort, and stress-related injuries. Muscle fatigue, eye strain, and general discomfort can detract an employee’s focus from their work. By not having to focus on discomfort or pain, they can be more focused on their work. 

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Ergonomic furniture signals to the employee that their employer cares about creating a comfortable and satisfactory work environment, thus creating happy employees, and happy employees who are content with their workplace are productive employees.  Employees with ergonomic furniture won’t have to focus on taking care of their injuries. When employees are comfortable, they can focus more on their work instead of dealing with symptoms of discomfort such as lower back pain and joint pain.

If your business requires a large number of new ergonomic office furniture, then you can buy them in bulk using wholesale office furniture offers aimed at businesses. For example, Autonomous, an office furniture brand, offers wholesale office chairs. The office chair wholesale market is mainly aimed at businesses that require office furniture in bulk. 

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