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ANSWERED on Fri 17 Jun 2016 - 4:57 pm UTC by JD Umiat

Question: Research on the value of better ergonomics for office workers

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 16 Jun 2016 23:12 UTCThu 16 Jun 2016 - 11:12 pm UTC 

I need to make a profit argument to a customer as to why he should improve the desk ergonomics of his workers.

I would like some research that shows when workers have better desk ergonomics (better chairs, better desks, better height placement, that sort of thing) they are in some way more productive (maybe they get more done, or take fewer breaks, or make fewer mistakes or something).

Does such exist?


JD Umiat 


 17 Jun 2016 16:57 UTCFri 17 Jun 2016 - 4:57 pm UTC 

Hello, Scavenger,

The following references should be helpful!

From "A Workplace Design That Reduces Employee Stress and Increases Employee Productivity Using
Environmentally Responsible Materials."


A recent survey of 350 major corporations, both professional services and small businesses, found that
82.5% believe that good ergonomics makes employees more productive (Danner, 2001).  Miles (2000) adds that ergonomics is becoming a very important issue in the workplace.  Ergonomics involves adapting jobs
and workspaces to the worker.  By applying ergonomic principles, the employer can reduce medical costs, decrease absenteeism, and positively affect the employees, both physically and psychologically.  Ergonomics
reduces strains such as physical discomfort, fatigue, and tension.  As a result, employees’ stress can be reduced. Promoting good posture, for example, can play an important role in reducing worker fatigue and improving productivity.

Poor posture, stress on the muscles, unnatural setting of hands and arms, static loading of the neck,  and pressure on the upper back and lower body all contribute to pain and illness.  These symptoms not only reduce
productivity, but they increase medical costs and absenteeism (Shihadeh-Gomaa, 1998).  According to the Kensington Stress Survey, 60% of American workers experience musculoskeletal pain on a regular basis. 
Experts say that this happens because the employees are not getting the support they need from their office environment.  Factors such as poor lighting, repetitive movement, stiff chairs, and inflexible workstations
contribute to the strain (Parrish, 1999).  Miles (2000) adds that ergonomic designs that include such things as adjustable chairs, wall color, and work area design have shown positive effects on stress reduction.  For example, the city of Portland, Oregon, studied the issue and installed new adjustable furniture.  As a result, 85% of the employees reported an increase in their comfort levels, 64% reported decreased fatigue, 72%
reported an improvement in their ability to focus on work, and 66% reported a reduction in pain associated with their work (Shihadeh-Gomaa, 1998).

Karen (2004) concluded that ergonomic chairs continue to be in demand due to reduction in employees stress and injury, as well as enhanced comfort and good posture, which can significantly impact a company’s productivity.  


The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: A review
Thomas Karakolis, Jack P. Callaghan


The Productivity Consequences of Two Ergonomic Interventions


The Advantages of Ergonomics


Impact of Office Design on Employees’ Productivity: ACase study of Banking
Organizations of Abbottabad, Pakistan


This 73-page document covers both physical and productivity issues:

Office Ergonomics - Practical Solution for a safer workplace


The following link is more about designing office spaces than about the ergonimics of furniture but you might find it useful:

Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices - The next chapter for green building






 20 Jun 2016 16:38 UTCMon 20 Jun 2016 - 4:38 pm UTC 

perfect, just what I needed, thanks!


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