One of the first things I have noticed as an ergonomic advisor was the lack of uniformity and total absence of any standardization of the working environments at offices and working places.
This is mainly evident when you look at the equipment being used – a haphazard mix of old and new appliances, furniture items and ergonomic equipment. In many offices you can find a medley of different desks and chairs even in a single working space.
How would such a situation be created? There are a ton of different reasons.
For example, many working places might replace malfunctioning or broken equipment, but anything that is still functional gets left as it was.
Another reason could be replacing a specific item or equipment, only for those employees who used some sort of leverage to get their equipment renewed. And sometimes, it’s all about ranks – new and improved equipment is bought for the higher rank workers of the organization, but not for the lower ranks.
Additional reasons might be different decisions reached by different purchasing officers, a decision made by the operational vice president, a change in the budget allocated to acquisition, etc.
What is more clear is that this lack of uniformity can and does create an array of problems:
- Those workers left to work with outdated equipment suffer discomfort and pains;
- Each working station requires different ergonomic accessories (which ofcourse entails a higher monetary expenditure);
- It is impossible to offer a uniform ergonomic guidance to all workers;
- Planning the arrangement of different work stations in one working space is complex and unecessarily problematic;
- It is a situation which could create resentment among workers and lead to demands for ergonomic equipment;
- And of course this is a situation which could damage the organization’s public image.
Using solid ergonomic advise and planning when getting ready to purchase ergonomic equipment in the early stages of building work stations is a critical step. Good ergonomic advice will allow the organization to create a healthy, ergonomic and uniform work environment.