Some would argue that the ’90s had a lot of great “advancements” – the Internet, mobile phone technology, grunge music (maybe). But during that time, the sore backs and wrists of office workers became a common concern and, by the end of the decade, equipment manufacturers had revamped their offerings and business managers were becoming enlightened to the advantages of investing in equipment that best fit their workers.
As ergonomics engineers, we have had the opportunity to be a part of the office ergonomics agenda for hundreds of companies. Working with so many smart organizations has helped us understand the importance of achieving balance among three areas: education, evaluation and equipment. Achieving this balance produces an effective ergonomics program that has a real impact. But the key is achieving seamless integration among the three to quickly advance toward your goals. Simply put, in today’s world, you must get better and faster, and you must do it with increasing efficiency.
The nice thing about ergonomic solutions for the office is that they can be relatively simple. In most offices, people are performing similar tasks with similar equipment. So naturally, the problems and their solutions tend to be repeated. So why do so many office ergonomics programs struggle for years before making a measurable impact? In many cases, they lack a systematic and efficient process to educate people and provide a link between their workplace issues and the known solutions.