Humans are a big factor in keeping a company working smoothly, efficiently, and cost effectively. So why is it so common for businesses to ignore the human factor when designing a workspace? In a market where consumers are primarily cost-concerned, companies today are often challenged with incorporating lean manufacturing, while keeping costs low and avoiding cutting corners. Businesses need to cut back where they can in order to sell a product at its lowest cost while still remaining profitable. Consequently, when Thrifty Jane is choosing office furniture, it can be hard for her to splurge on those beautifully designed, fully adjustable, ergonomic chairs for the office when she’s see the much-more-affordable-and-still-sufficient swivel chairs next to them. Herein lies the problem! We are often focused on the immediate result and how lucrative we’ll seem to our bosses when we show them all the money we saved…for now. When in reality, it’s critical to the longevity of a business to look at the bigger picture, which most notably includes all of its employees.
Consider our friend and loyal coworker, Assembly Jane. She’s been a hard worker for an assembly company for a while now, but recently, she’s noticed a pain in her hand. At first, she didn’t think much of it, but now it’s starting to affect her work. When she reaches for a tool on the top shelf, or when she picks something out of the parts cup that’s just out of arm’s reach, she’s in immense pain. These are common symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders, which are incredibly prevalent in the workplace. They’re usually due to an absence of ergonomics in the design process and actually easily preventable with the right planning.
Imagine your Average Jane. She wakes up, goes to the kitchen to sit and eat breakfast, goes back to her room to sit at her vanity and get ready, goes to the car to sit for her thirty minute commute to work, goes to her desk to sit for eight hours maybe getting up a couple times to go to a meeting or to get lunch. Later, she gets in her car to sit in forty-five minutes of traffic until she gets home. Now once she’s home, maybe she’ll have time to get some chores done, or maybe she’ll decide to sit on the couch and binge watch her favorite show. This happens five times a week every week.
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