When you think of workplace efficiency, what comes to mind? Workdays filled with little procrastination, economical meetings and attentive staff are some common images and ideals businesses strive for, but how is this achieved?
Commonly, the best way to facilitate efficiency is to focus on the small things: workspaces, seating and, often forgotten, general signs. Here, we discuss how general signs can improve in-work ergonomics and performance.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a broad term, but principally, it is the scientific practice of identifying interactions between humans and other elements in a working system.
To break the word down to its bare components, it means “science of work”; overall, ergonomics is about facilitating efficiencies and maintaining long-term health.
Ergonomics can refer to a wide spectrum of alterations to the working environment: chairs, desks, mouse positions, promoting good posture, facilitating in-work exercise, labelling, etc.
Most importantly, ergonomics is not a one-size-fits-all practice. An office, for example, consists of macro and micro-ergonomics. It’s the design of buildings, the organisation of our workspaces and the distance of monitors from our eyes; ergonomics refers to both big and small work-based situations.
If done properly, ergonomics can:
- lower business costs
- improve productivity
- better quality of product or service
- better employee attitudes
- provide a safer working environment
How to Improve Workplace Ergonomics
To be an ergonomic workplace, you don’t have to invest in the latest technology – nobody expects every workplace to have desk treadmills or bikes. Sometimes, little changes complemented by finely-tuned systems and procedures are all a business needs.
One method of improving in-work efficiency and ergonomics is the use of general signs. General signs are ideal for office and retail environments, but each can have a key place in improving the functions of a workplace, workspace and how co-workers interact with each other.
A few examples include:
- Office, Retail and Housekeeping Signs – These include health and safety posters, private property signs, warning signs, signs which delegate rooms and areas, and disclaimer notices.
- Engraved Plastic Signs – Identifies rooms, facilities and restricted areas. Helps to manage workplaces and keep people traffic organised.
- Public Area Signs – Customer-facing public signs which manage customer traffic and ensure there is segregation between employee and customer spaces.
- Metal Door Plates – Signposts doors and entryways, including safety-related terms such as “Mind Your Step”, “Mind Your Head” and “No Exit”.
How Ergonomics Improves Work Performance
A successful ergonomic change is measured by improved productivity, efficiency, safety and quality of a worker’s day-to-day existence. Not only does ergonomics improve in-work performance, but it makes employees happier outside of the workplace, too, by reducing the prevalence of MSDs, improving mental health and, as consequence, their quality of life.
However, strictly in terms of work performance, ergonomics broadly improves the following:
- Reduction in costs – By directly reducing risk factors, a business is able to reduce the prevalence of injury and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). In the UK, 498,000 workers suffered from work-related MSDs in 2018/19, leading to 6.9 million lost working days. The most direct way to prevent these is through ergonomics, leading to more working days, less time off sick and, in business terms, a better bottom line.
- Improvement to work quality – Work quality is what suffers most when workers are overworked or under non-ergonomic conditions. If workers are feeling physically and mentally under strain, all training is rendered useless – the end product will not be as good as it could be.
- Improvement in productivity – Ergonomics is directly tied to efficiency. Even the laziest, least efficient worker in a business will perform better in a well-optimised workspace with good posture compared to a workspace that flies in the face of good ergonomic practice. A 2007 study in the European Journal of Social Sciences, titled Productivity and Ergonomics: A Strong Relationship Leading to Best Working Results, revealed a strong relationship between ergonomics and total productivity, thus scientifically proving that the usage of ergonomic productivity saw a statistical increase in productivity.
- Better employee-employer relationships – Employees notice a lot, so concerted efforts to improve workplace conditions for them will be rewarded with better work, behaviour and, most importantly, the employee-employer relationship.
How General Signs Promote Better Workplace Ergonomics
So, how do signs and labels play into workplace ergonomics? Essentially, signs and labels can help remind and educate employees on how to properly undertake correct form, processes and posture during work.
For example, there are numerous back safety and lifting signs and labels that not only improve productivity but also reduce the possibility of injury. Other signs can be used to remind employees on how to sit properly, poster-style resources to educate employees, as well as safety-related signs to prevent head injuries for example.
Overall, health and safety, and by extension labels, are interwoven with ergonomics as they keep employees safe, healthy and performing well.
Organise Your Workspace With General Signs
To give your workspace an ergonomic boost to productivity and work quality, consider our range of general signs. These signs help to keep workplaces organised and functioning fluidly.