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Ensuring Good Workplace Ergonomics in a Low Budget

23 April 2023

One of the major reasons employers aren't too eager to make their workplaces ergonomic despite being aware that poor ergonomics can put their employees' health and well-being at risk is the cost involved. Most employers assume that addressing ergonomic challenges at the workplace is a very expensive ordeal. While redesigning your workplace to address ergonomic challenges from scratch can be very expensive, it doesn't mean you can improve workplace ergonomics if you're low on budget.

The good news is that you can improve workplace ergonomics without having to break the bank!

This blog post highlights the importance of good workplace ergonomics and some pocket-friendly ways of making your workplace ergonomics-friendly.

Why Consider Improving Workplace Ergonomics?

Before anything, you may find yourself questioning the need to improve the ergonomics of your workplace. Even if budget isn't an issue, you'll still have to invest your time and energy into the process, and you may want to be absolutely sure that it's worth it.

Below are some reasons why you should consider improving workplace ergonomics:

Enhanced Employee Safety and Comfort

One of the first reasons you should work towards making your workplace ergonomics-friendly is to provide your employees with a safer and more comfortable workplace. Good ergonomics mitigate numerous workplace hazards like the risk of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders by encouraging employees to sit in a healthier posture. With posture correction, employees are able to work with greater comfort.

Enhanced Productivity

When employees are comfortable at work, they're less distracted and are able to focus on work better. Good ergonomics, as we said earlier, encourage employees to sit in the correct posture where their bodies receive adequate support. They don't get fatigued like they do in case of poor ergonomic working conditions. When employees aren't fatigued or distracted due to discomfort, their productivity skyrockets.

Lowered Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Since most jobs today require employees to sit in front of their computer screens for long hours, people are at a much higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Sitting for long hours in an incorrect posture strains their back, neck, and shoulders. The employees would initially feel pain in their back, neck, and shoulders, but soon the pain will be too much to handle, which is a sign that they've started to develop musculoskeletal disorders. With good workplace ergonomics, the risk of musculoskeletal disorders is significantly reduced as the employees are encouraged to sit in the correct posture and do their job a certain way.

Pocket-Friendly Ways of Improving Workplace Ergonomics

Good ergonomics have got plenty of benefits to offer. We've only listed some of them here. Now, the more important part of our discussion is how to ensure good workplace ergonomics on a low budget.

Well, it's very much possible to make your workplace more ergonomic without spending too much money. Here are some of the best ways you can achieve an ergonomic workplace on a low budget:

Ensure Lumbar Support

The lumbar region of the back (lower back) is the most susceptible to strain and injury. It's also the region of the back that's usually without adequate support. Most office chairs have curved backrests. The lower section of the backrest is curved outwards to fit into the spine's natural curvature, but this outwards curve is often not at the right height. It's either too low or too high, leaving the back's lumbar region without the support and putting the employees at risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Without support, the back can get strained, which can put you While most ergonomics experts recommend investing in ergonomic chairs like Ergonomic Chair Pro (OC14) with adjustable backrest, it's not the most budget-friendly option. Ergonomic chairs are quite expensive.

One budget-friendly way to ensure lumbar support without investing in ergonomic chairs is to provide all your employees with lumbar support pillows. These pillows or cushions feature a contoured design that the employee can place behind their back to provide the lumbar region the support it needs.

You can also instruct your employees to adjust their backrests at an angle of 93 to 113 degrees. Many people think setting the backrest at an angle of 90 degrees is ideal, but sitting with the back fully straight is detrimental to the back.

Ensure That the Desk Height is Suitable

If you look around, you'll see that the desk height of most employees isn't the most suitable. The desk is either too high or too low for most employees. When the height of the desk isn't suitable for the user, their posture gets compromised, which is both uncomfortable and dangerous. If the desk is too high, the user will have to raise their elbows and shoulders awkwardly to reach the desk's surface. If the height of the desk is too low, the user will have to sit with their back curved and their head bent. Your best bet would be investing in ergonomic height-adjustable work desks, but unfortunately, that's not the best option if you're tight on budget. Instead, what you can do is ensure that all the office chairs have an adjustable height feature so that the users can lower or raise the height of their chair to ensure the desk isn't too low or too high for them.

Another convenient and pocket-friendly way to ensure the user doesn't have to sit awkwardly due to an unsuitable desk height is to install keyboard trays on all workstations. This would ensure that the keyboard is placed at the right height, even if the desk itself is too high.

Set the Computer Monitor at the Right Height, Distance, and Angle

If the computer monitor isn't the right height, distance, and angle for the user, it can strain the user's neck, shoulders, and eyes. If the computer monitor is too high, the user will have to bend their head back (chin-forward posture), which can strain the neck. If the computer monitor is too low, the user will have to sit with their head bent forward, which will strain the neck and shoulders. If the computer monitor is too far or too near, it'll cause eye strain.

One way to address this ergonomic challenge without extending the budget too far is by installing adjustable monitor mounts on all workstations. These mounts allow the user to ensure that the monitor is at an arm's length distance from the user and is at eye level, right in front of the user. This minimizes eye strain and ensures the user doesn't have to bend their neck forward or backward.

Ensure the Correct Mouse Position

If the keyboard is too big, the mouse will be placed far away from the user's reach, and they'll have to extend their right arm too far to use the mouse. This can strain the right shoulder. What you can do is replace the keyboards with compact ones so that the mouse is placed closer to the user, or you can encourage your employees to switch to left-hand mousing. This would change the strain and ensure that anyone's shoulder isn't exposed to strain for too long.

Place Footrests under Each Workstation

Ideally, the feet should be placed flat on the floor if your job requires you to sit all day long. Letting your feet dangle can compress the blood vessels running through the back of the knees. However, even sitting with feet flat on the floor for too long can cause the pooling of blood in the feet. This causes swelling in the feet. Blood pooling in the feet also puts the users at risk of heart conditions and clot formation. Providing all your employees with footstools will ensure that they sit with their feet slightly elevated so that the blood doesn't pool in the lower extremities.

Final Word

Do you see now that improving workplace ergonomics doesn't require you to spend a lot of money? It's highly possible to improve the ergonomics of your workplace while being tight on a budget. All you need to do is an in-depth risk analysis and lots of brainstorming to see how to address each identified risk. An ergonomic workplace means healthier, happier, and highly productive employees, and that's what'll help your business reach new heights. If budget constraints have been holding you back, now's the time to get an expert on board to help you come up with budget-friendly ergonomic solutions.