Do you need to hire an ergonomics professional to reduce outbreaks of aching backs and carpal tunnel in your office? Do you need to take the ergonomic bull by the horns?
Science says yes – according to Dr. Jasminka Goldoni Laestadius from the World Bank’s Joint Bank/Fund Health Services Department,
“Just providing new office furniture and written instructions is not sufficient to achieve proper accommodation,” Laestadius’ paper reads. “Good office equipment is a poor substitute for good working positions.”
The study was conceived when the World Bank workforce moved headquarters – an excellent opportunity for Laestadius’ team to study how proactive ergonomics could improve employee health.
The employees were divided into two groups – one simply got new ergonomic office furniture, together with the manuals to set them up and no more. The other received new furniture and information, plus personalized attention from an ergonomics professional.
The second group was found to experience less musculoskeletal pain and eyestrain, with a corresponding jump in productivity. “Better postures meant less pain,” the paper concludes. “This verifies our experience that equipment such as an adjustable chair does not add value unless properly adjusted.”
The study was published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
(If your office could stand a World Bank-grade ergonomics upgrade, consider checking out Cubicles.com’s selection of ergonomic chairs. Unfortunately, professional ergonomist not included.)