There is a worrying global trend that is the worsening health and sense of well-being in the population, a problem that if applied to workers negatively affects the performance and productivity of company. And for employers that offer health insurance, in addition, it also implies an increasing cost. The following graph shows the time percentage that we dedicate to different activities, in which it is verified that the most part of the day is spent working:
An increase in the frequency of work-related musculoskeletal diseases has been observed due to, principally, to the global trend of spending more and more hours working with IT tools (and generally sitting down). This has a major impact on employee performance, since as according to the National Business Group on Health the health-related costs of workers who enjoy high well-being in the workplace are 41% lower than those who do not that well-being. Likewise, the turnover of personnel of the companies that provide well-being to their employees is 35% lower than the companies that fail to provide such well-being.
Health problems and their solution
The most common health problems among office employees and control center operators are musculoskeletal disorders and visual symptoms, manifesting as ocular discomfort, prolonged pain in the neck and upper extremities, regional disorders, such as wrist tendonitis, epicondylitis, trapezius muscle strain and low back pain.
Musculoskeletal pathologies generate discomfort in the person, reduced productivity, costs associated with treatment and work absenteeism. High workload has been identified as a significant risk factor for muscle soreness in office workers, as is physical inactivity. To prevent these disorders it is necessary to take enough breaks during the workday, improve working conditions with adequate ergonomic furniture and physical exercise in free time.
As we can see in the graph below, the most common pathologies and that the greatest number of people suffer are related to sight. Eye strain is considered the most common complaint among computer users. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health indicated that 70.6% of workers who used computers in their workplace suffer eye fatigue.
For this reason, it is very important to implement Ergonomics in the daily life of employees, in the form of ergonomic improvements and specific exercises in the workplace, methods that alleviate pain caused by musculoskeletal or visual disorders. It is widely demonstrated that improvements in the ergonomics of the workplace, exercise and stretching in the workplace have short-term benefits for workers and reduce ailments that they may suffer in the long term. For this, it is essential to invest in 3 fundamental pillars of ergonomics and thus offer a complete solution: visualization systems, control consoles (or the technical furniture that is required) and 24/7 chairs.
A practical example is the Sit & Stand workstations, spaces in which the operator can decide how much time of his day dedicates to work sitting and how much standing. Thanks to them, sitting time can be reduced between 66 – 143 minutes / day, increasing the level of activity that can later translate into a positive effect on perceived comfort, energy, health, productivity, happiness, stress and general mood.
Economic, corporate and social impact of health care
Ergonomics not only affects the physical well-being of the worker, but also the economic performance of the company and general coexistence.
Employees who see their company take an active and positive stand for employee health, safety, and well-being are more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction and demonstrate higher levels of commitment. When employees are more committed to the company, they also demonstrate greater “civic behavior” with fewer complaints and claims, higher performance and quality of work, better productivity, and perhaps even more initiative and effort in the tasks performed.
Thanks to the positive reaction of the employees, the company not only obtains an economic benefit, but also gains in giving a good image to the public, due to the satisfaction of its workers. This leads to better relations with the community and a strengthening of the brand.
In a competitive era in which companies actively fight for the best talent, an active ergonomics program and attention to worker comfort can also help attract and retain talent, as they distinguish a company from others. A growing body of data suggests that the presence of an organization-wide focus on health and wellness has positive long-term financial implications.
The National Business Group on Health association recently found that companies that have health and productivity programs showed the following benefits:
So, should the company take care of the health of workers?
The most direct answer is YES.
Taking care of the health of workers is a good practice for any organization, since it represents a competitive advantage, which is why the well-being of people in the workplace has always been a priority for GESAB and the current trend corroborates it.
We must be clear that the workplace is a key area for the well-being of our workers, since it is a place where they spend most of their day and precisely for this reason it offers us multiple opportunities to promote behavior changes and health recommendations that can have a significant impact.
With all this, we hope that the data and information shown can promote decision-making aimed at the field of ergonomics and health at work. At GESAB, always focused on achieving maximum ergonomics in their projects, in collaboration with experts in the field of health, we have produced a guide on health at work in which we talk in detail about ergonomics and health in work spaces with the aim of ergonomics programs reach their full potential within companies.