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Ergonomics and Human Factors
Ergonomics and Human Factors
Vartika Aggarwal

Associate Trainer

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Ergonomics and Human Factors

02 Dec 2020

Employers from all over the globe work tirelessly to provide workplace ergonomics to increase productivity and the comfort level of their employees. Ergonomics refers to the study of how people interact with their working environment and then adjusting that environment to improve efficiency—all while reducing the chance for injury and optimizing wellbeing and productivity.  

Recent HBR surveys indicate that employees before the COVID 19 work situation opted for office spaces with better daylight, good air quality, and personalized workspaces. Benefits like onset gym, massage rooms, nap pods, and so on are placed in workplaces to make it more employee-friendly and for everyone to feel comfortable whilst they work. It is reported that poor air quality makes the employees sleepier, thus reducing their productivity. It was also seen that good natural light and air quality were the biggest contributors to employee performance, whereas perks and benefits like fitness facilities or technology-based health tools were trivial for contributing to employee performance.  

Ergonomics might feel like an insignificant part of the work environment, but it has major impacts on employee productivity. Hewlett-Packard Enterprisebuilding is designed to manage ambient sound to reduce worker distractions. Additionally, they also allowed their employees to customize their workspace, which had a positive impact on their productivity. Some companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have gone a step further, allowing employees to control the amount of natural light streaming in through the glass of their office windows with a cell phone app. This had a huge effect on the employees wellbeing. 

Major players like Cisco have also adopted a free workspace where the seats are not assigned based on the teams, but the employees can choose their seating arrangement based on their external environments such as lighting, noise, and seat type.  

Ergonomics have shown to have various positive impacts in the workplace, such as:  

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduced absenteeism 
  • Higher retention rate  

In the current work-from-home scenario, it is of utmost importance to maintain the ergonomics of the workstation at home. Individuals are finding it hard to distinguish between their work and their personal lives. Ergonomics International Journal (EIJ) has released official guidelines for work from home environment and the guidelines to be followed by everyone to facilitate better productivity. 

EIJ has suggested an interesting acronym; N_E_W, while setting up the workstation at home. 

  • N refers to maintaining a neutral body posture i.e. straight back and neck, arms at 90 degrees, and the lower back must be supported by pillows.  
  • E refers to elbows being at 90 degrees.  
  • W refers to the workstation being customized to every person, whether it be footrest, extra backrest, natural lighting, or anything else. 

Every individual should take few conscious steps towards making their workstation comfortable ergonomically with mitigating any scope for harm and increasing their productivity. When the current situation eventually concludesglobal health stakeholders need to reevaluate what the term “functionally healthy” actually means. 

Keeping up with numerous tasks virtually and making the employees feel comfortable at their homes has been one of the HR professionals’ biggest challenges. Draup for talent platform helps these professionals through various insights, making room for them to focus on the human factor and be rest assured about the data component. As every company is struggling to provide better work-from-home experience to their employees during this pandemic, Draup gathers and analyses companies’ information from multiple data sources to provide in-depth company insights. Additionally, we also provide the best practices being followed by the companies that help the users understand why certain employers are preferred over others. 

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