If severe enough, any type of pain can negatively affect productivity. In fact, the average reported reduction in work productivity was roughly 2.4 hours per week for adults with joint pain and 9.8 hours per week for adults with multisite chronic pain. While chronic pain can be from a pre-existing condition or the result of a trauma, it can also arise as a result of a person’s workplace.
Office jobs place workers at a high risk for musculoskeletal pain which affects the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. The pain can come from working in awkward postures, sitting for extended periods of time, and repetitive motions such as typing.
Musculoskeletal disorders related to work include:
- Headaches due to strain in the neck or base of the head
- Headaches caused by eye strain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Trigger finger
- Muscle strains and low back injuries
All of these disorders certainly cause enough pain to reduce a person’s productivity at work. However, with ergonomic furniture and creative office design, employers can ease the aches and pains their employees experience as well as increase productivity.
Healthy and Productive Workplace Design
Encourage Employees to Stand Up
As mentioned, sitting for a long time is unhealthy and leads to a multitude of immediate and long-term health problems. Even encouraging regular breaks is not enough as a lot of office work must be done at a desk. Employers can encourage their staff to stand up with adjustable desks and ergonomic work stations. A standing desk will help ease back pain and tension headaches, ultimately promoting greater levels of productivity.
Take A Seat
When employees do want to sit, it’s important that they have an ergonomic chair that supports them. What works for one person won’t work for everyone, though. Someone who is big and tall will have different needs than a petite person. Employers should have several different options for their employees to choose from or allow them to bring in their own chair.
No More RSI
Repetitive stress injuries, or RSI, are caused by performing a motion over and over again. For many office workers, typing at a keyboard all day that isn’t ergonomic can lead to pain and eventually carpal tunnel syndrome. Adjustable keyboard trays will allow team members to type in a position that is best for them instead of needing to scrunch their arms or hunch to reach the keyboard. With a comfortable setup, employees can enter a deep mode of concentration and do some of their best work!
Switch it Up
In addition to chronic pain, a stale environment can lead to a decrease in productivity. Part of a creative office design includes providing a variety of seating areas to spark inspiration and creativity. Allow employees to experience a change of scenery by encouraging the use of sofas, arm chairs, diner-style booths, or even bean bags! Staff should feel free to move around the office and sit where they feel most inspired and productive.
It’s no longer seen as admirable to be stressed, exhausted, and over-worked. Employers are recognizing that everyone needs a break in order to do their best work. Encourage downtime with a kitchen and dining tables that allow people to take proper lunch breaks instead of eating at their desks. If you have the room, a foosball table or giant chalkboard wall can contribute to a creative office design and motivate employees to relax and recharge.
A creative office can also be a productive office. Employers need to think outside the box to provide a work place that meets their employee's needs in terms of health, function, and inspiration. If your current office is not fulfilling these needs, it may be time to consider moving to a new office that you can truly make your own. Your team will reap the benefits and you’ll have a healthy, thriving staff.