Does your staff only feel good when they’re “Out of the Office”?
Do they seem tired, lethargic or unmotivated? Does it seem like co-workers are more impatient with each other and with their customers? Has your organization lost that “lovin’ feelin’”? Look around! Maybe it’s not the people that are to blame – maybe it’s the actual work environment!
When the economy is sluggish and budgets are cut, one of the areas that receive cutbacks is the actual workplace and its components. Any money for better desks, chairs, keyboards, etc is thought to be an unnecessary expense. A common school of thought is that if an employee has a desk, a chair, a computer and a phone, then they should be fine and able to do a great job. Right? Well, maybe not.
Consider this – out of 24 hours in a day, what two things take up the biggest chunks of time? Sleep and work. And unfortunately, many times work surpasses sleep in the number of hours that are devoted to it in a day. So if experts say that a good mattress, pillow and a calm, quiet and pleasant environment are essential for a good night’s sleep, then shouldn’t the same standards be in place for the other part of our life that consumes so much of our time?
Of course we’re not suggesting that you supply everyone with a good mattress and pillow for work! But what would their workplace counterparts be?
- Functional and Ergonomic Desk – it should have adequate room for organized and productive work, allow for a monitor to be centered and at least 20 inches away, and should also allow for work in various comfortable postures.
- Comfortable Chair – a chair with padding and proper back support is a necessity. A chair without good support increases stress in the back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs and can add pressure to the spinal discs and back muscles. So in addition to a good chair, remember to stand up and stretch!
- Ergonomically Correct Keyboard – positioned at a 90-degree angle with forearms parallel to the floor, a keyboard of this type can really help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a frequent work-related injury.
- Headset - handsets force users to cradle the phone between their neck and shoulders, often leading to sore necks and headaches. Headsets also allow for more productivity, since workers have both hands free.
- Lighting – although imperceptible, fluorescent lighting actually has a flicker that can be a migraine trigger. Some headache experts believe that incandescent lighting is much better work lighting. Simply disabling some of the fluorescent tubes and adding some incandescent lights can go a long way in preventing migraines.
- Computer Monitor – reduce eye strain with a monitor that is large enough for easy viewing but not overly bright – a monitor shield will help reduce the glare. And whenever possible, look away for short periods to give your eyes a rest.
- Other Ideas – allowing staff to personalize their workspace is often an easy way to increase productivity and job satisfaction without any additional company expenditures. Within reason, letting employees decorate their space with appropriate photographs, decorations or lighting is a great way to let them feel ‘at home’ when they’re at work! For instance, here at Phone Pro we encourage our staff to ‘customize’ their work areas and many of our desks have attractive desk lamps for softer lighting and a more personal feel.
If some of these ideas seem odd or unnecessary, keep in mind that the Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that ergonomic-related problems are on the rise, and they keep thousands of employees away from their jobs.* So look around your organization. Do you see smiles, productivity and appreciation? Or do you see stress, fatigue and resentment? Invest a little of your budget to make one of your biggest investments (your staff) happier and more productive. They’ll see that you appreciate them and you’ll be sure to see the benefits.
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