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7 Effects of Poor Ergonomics in Workplace You Should Know

15 June 2023

Do you have a desk job that requires you to sit in a poorly designed office chair with little or no lumbar support? Are your computer accessories including your keyboard, mouse, and monitor all on a level surface? Do you constantly shift your hands and wrists to get into a comfortable typing position?

If yes, then you'll most likely experience numbness and tingling sensation in your fingers and hands which is a symptom of the debilitating condition carpal tunnel syndrome. And that's just one of the many effects of poor ergonomics in the workplace.

Ergonomics defines how you interact with your immediate environment. While it makes a critical consideration when it comes to office design, many modern offices still disregard ergonomics which eventually leads to various health concerns.

According to research, not having an ergonomically-designed workstation is directly associated with several physical and mental health effects on individuals with a desk job. And that's what we look at in this post. In what follows, we examine the effects of poor ergonomics in the workplace followed by a discussion on what measures you can take to offset the negative implications of poor ergonomics.

So, let's get started.

7 Effects of Poor Ergonomics in Workplace

The main objective of ergonomics in a workplace is to focus on an individual's posture while reducing the risk of musculoskeletal and repetitive stress injuries. Workplaces that are not ergonomically designed can have serious implications on the worker's productivity and their overall quality of life as it can have devastating consequences on a person's health and well-being.

the goal of ergonomics in any workspace is to improve posture while reducing the risk of repetitive stress and strain injuries. Integrating office, manufacturing, retail, or medical equipment that isn't ergonomic can have serious impacts not only on your worker's productivity and quality of work but also on their health and well-being.

Here are some of the most common effects of poor ergonomics in the workplace.



Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common undesirable effects of working in a poorly designed workplace. When you spend several hours every day in a chair that's not ergonomically designed or while working on a workstation that's not ergonomically set up, it can lead to physical pain and discomfort. Over time, as the pain and discomfort continue, it can affect your nighttime sleep which results in fatigue and sleepiness throughout the day.

If you fail to take the necessary actions to get a restful night's sleep, overtime, it will lead to fatigue that can affect your productivity at work and overall quality of life.



Increased Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries

While the nature of your job often determines your risk of suffering from painful musculoskeletal injuries, however, most desk-bound jobs can significantly increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Since working on the screen is often accompanies by poor posture, most employees with a desk job end up slouching over the screen which strains neck and shoulder muscles.

Moreover, prolonged sitting in a chair that's not ergonomically designed can strain your back and lower body including your hips and legs. Over time, strained muscles reduce your range of motion and flexibility. Moreover, they can also contribute to spinal conditions including herniated discs and disc bulges.



More Frequent Headaches and Migraines

Working for too long in an inappropriate posture (forward-head position) with inappropriate workplace lighting can increase your risk of experiencing more frequent headaches including migraines.

Inappropriate posture is one of the leading causes of migraine and headaches as it strains the muscles of your neck and shoulder that are designed to support your skull. The strain triggers active pain points in your neck and back of the head which results in headaches.



Higher Risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Poor ergonomics at the workplace is one of the leading causes of repetitive strain injuries that are a result of repeated movement of any particular part of your body. Repetitive strain injuries are often quite debilitating and painful as they affect tendons, muscles, and nerves.

One of the most common repetitive strain injuries that affects millions of employees with a desk job is carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition of the wrist and hand that irritates the specific nerve within the wrist and results in a range of symptoms including the following.

Tingling and burning sensation,

Numbness,

Pain,

Restricted range of motion and

Loss of grip (in extreme cases).

Another common repetitive strain injury is tendonitis which is a result of inflammation or irritation of tendons. Poor ergonomics and associated incorrect posture is the leading cause of tendonitis. A closely related injury is bursitis which is a result of inflammation of the bursa (a sac-like cavity between the bone and tendon, or skin and bone). Bursitis particularly the one affecting your hand and fingers can result in swelling and can severely hamper the functionality of your hand.

Poor ergonomics can also trigger another painful repetitive strain injury of the hand that causes inflammation of tendons located in the finger. The condition is known as trigger finger and is a result of repetitive movements or using one's grip too strongly and causes extreme pain associated with movement of the fingers making it difficult to move one's fingers without experiencing pain.



Lowered Productivity

It goes without saying that poor ergonomics in the workplace is a leading cause of lost productivity and quality of output.

When an employee isn't sitting comfortably, is tired, and is experiencing a variety of aches of pains, it's obviously impossible for the employee to concentrate on the work at hand. With lost concentration and focus, there's lost productivity and work effectiveness.

Poor productivity eventually leads to burnout, damages employees' self-esteem, and results in a workforce that's increasingly drained and demotivated.



Potential Weight Gain

Weight gain is another undesirable effect of poor ergonomics and extended sitting. When you spend longer hours in a sitting position that too in a poor posture, you have a much higher risk of developing a range of health conditions that can affect your flexibility and mobility.

As you lose mobility, your physical activity reduces further which can add to your risk of obesity and other metabolic concerns such as Type II diabetes.

Increased Risk of Mental Health Concerns

Constant fatigue and persistent pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders can take a toll on your mental health and make you prone to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.

Mental health conditions resulting from painful physical health conditions can further lower your quality of life.

How to Counter the Effects of Poor Ergonomics at Workplace?

Now that you have an insight into what implications poor ergonomics can have on an individual, you should also learn about what measures you can take to counter the effects of poor ergonomics at the workplace.

Let's look at them.



Invest in Appropriate Ergonomic Office Furniture

Perhaps the most important thing that employers need to do to counter the effects of poor ergonomics in the workplace is to invest in appropriate ergonomic furniture.

Setting up an ergonomic workstation requires investment in various equipment such as an ergonomic office chair, and a height-adjustable standing desk. It also involves investing in various ergonomic accessories including desk converters, monitor mounts, ergonomic mouse, ergonomic keyboards, and more.

While there are various pieces of ergonomic office furniture and accessories, one of the most critical ones is an ergonomic office chair like Pro Mesh Office Chair OC10. The adjustable ergonomic office chair features enhanced neck and back support that helps combat neck, shoulder, and back strain and significantly reduces your risk of developing musculoskeletal concerns.

The ergonomic office chair features movable modern lumbar support that can be adjusted over 3.14 inches to effectively prevent backache. Moreover, its functional design complements its modern appeal which makes it a perfect addition to any modern workstation.



Provide Adequate Wellness Training to the Employees

Apart from investing in ergonomic office equipment, it's also critical that organizations provide adequate wellness training to employees. Appropriate wellness training programs are designed to ensure that employees learn and practice healthy lifestyle techniques with a specific focus on sleep hygiene, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and staying physically active.

Final Words

Poor ergonomics at the workplace can have devastating consequences on an individual's physical and mental health. It can increase your risk of various health conditions including Type II diabetes, a range of musculoskeletal disorders, and obesity while contributing to lost organizational output. Moreover, it can also have various mental health implications.

Fortunately, there are ways to counter the negative implications of poor ergonomics. By investing in appropriate ergonomic office equipment and providing adequate wellness training to the employees, organizations can counter the effects of poor ergonomics and ensure the health and well-being of the employees.