Most people spend between a quarter and a third of their waking lives at work.1 That’s a big chunk of time for employees. And for employers, it’s a big opportunity. The better employees feel while they’re at work, the more productive they’ll be.
To feel good throughout the day, people need workspaces that do more than just keep them from getting stressed or sick. Workspaces need to actually improve what we refer to as well-being—the big picture of someone’s mental and physical health. The World Health Organization agrees. They say good health is not only the absence of ill health, but also a
state of well-being.2
Employers can have a direct impact on the quality of work being done in the office by simply ensuring that people feel good and experience well-being while working. While this may seem like a daunting task to pin down and achieve, a proven and powerful method is right at your fingertips . . . or perhaps under them — improving workplace ergonomics.
Ergonomic equipment, like a mouse that facilitates natural hand placement, helps employees work longer, with higher efficiency and quality, and less downtime. It produces happier employees and more profitable companies.
In short, ergonomics is good economics. Logitech ergonomic workspace solutions can help your company become a healthier place to work.
No matter how nice the view from the office, or how friendly co-workers might be, there are drawbacks to desk jobs. The biggest disadvantage for an employee from a health
perspective is limited movement throughout the day.
Sedentary workers, camped out in front of a computer while performing repetitive movements, risk strain-related injuries to hands, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders and the
neck, not to mention eye strain, which can result in vision problems and headaches.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a condition where doing the same actions over and over causes pain, and even reduced functionality in tendons and muscles. RSI is not something
that only happens to people who have been working for decades, it strikes young and old alike. In people aged 25-29 years old, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome strikes 3.4 out of every 1,000. Consider the following typical case:
Karen is a social media manager at a growing tech firm. She loves her job and the opportunity for advancement it affords. After work, you can find her at the gym or hanging out with friends and on weekends, hiking with her dog in the mountains.
One day, while working at her desk, she notices a dull ache in the thumb side of her wrist. She thinks she may have hurt it in yoga class and assumes it will go away on its own but instead it intensifies to the point that it begins to affect her work. A week later it morphs into a shooting pain. A doctor examines her and among other things, recommends she adjust her workstation setup so that it encourages a more natural arm position. After doing some research, Karen realizes the way in which she’s been sitting and
making thousands of arm and wrist motions a day was akin to running a marathon in flip-flops.
The direct cost of repetitive motion workplace injuries just in the U.S. is $1.5 billion dollars.7 Direct costs include worker’s compensation, medical and hospital rehabilitation, dependent pension and legal costs.
That doesn’t even take into account the indirect costs such as high turnover, bottlenecks, absenteeism, poor work quality, low morale, lost productivity and inefficiency. These last two should not be underestimated. Office workers who suffer from wrist pain alone typically experience a 15% loss of productivity.
If the answer to any of these questions is "no,” employees are risking workplace injury. However, there is an effective way to help avoid painful and potentially expensive outcomes: Ergonomically sound office equipment.
The bad news is that the facts are undeniable—the increased risk of injuries stemming from common deskbound jobs is real. But there is good news: an easy solution exists and it’s neither pie-in-the-sky unattainable nor prohibitively expensive to implement. Simply adding an ergonomics program to existing wellness initiatives can lower the risk of workplace injury while increasing worker job satisfaction, commitment, engagement and sense of purpose, not to mention improving employee retention. More tangibly, employers with established ergonomics protocols in place are lowering medical costs and capturing other economic benefits.
But day-to-day well-being matters just as much as profits to the incoming generation of workers and they are making sure employers know that. In 2017, Millennials like Karen represented 35% of the labor force. By 2020, that number will rise to an imposing 50%.11 And they value health benefits more than any preceding generation, partially evidenced by their personal spending habits. On whole, millennials spend almost twice as much on “self-care” as baby boomers.12 In the workplace, they have already started shifting culture by setting high expectations for a work/life balance. It used to be that salary packages mattered the most to new hires, but millennials care about the big picture of total compensation including corporate wellness and the daily culture. They especially want to be sure that they will experience well-being during the workday.
When companies promote forward-thinking policies of corporate wellness and well-being, they connect with this younger generation. They also bridge the gap between millennials and other generations in the workforce by educating and preventing injury for all. What used to be optional is now imperative. Well-being has become a business mandatory for high-performing companies.
The end goal of ergonomics has always been—and always will be—pain relief and pain prevention for the end-user. To achieve this, scientific findings derived from studying people’s objective physical well-being and performance must be translated into products that can be used by workers day in and day out.
The craving for comfort is basic in humans, yet in the past, the idea of comfort was rarely associated with the workplace. But considering the amount of time the average person now spends at work, it’s imperative that employees feel comfortable in order to realize peak performance and efficiency. Being comfortable means entering a state
of visual and tactile ease and freedom.
The following key questions help gauge the comfort level of an end-user in an office environment.
Here’s the key takeaway regarding comfort in the workplace: If the equipment reduces or mitigates distracting pain—if it increases comfort—then employee capacity and potential production are enhanced. This can be the start of a sea change because when comfort increases and pain decreases, it puts an end to a vicious cycle. Painful conditions are depressing and being depressed makes a person more likely to get painful conditions.
Work that involves using a keyboard and mouse for long hours entails a significant amount of repetitive movement. Awkward posture and/or using the wrong equipment for the job can exacerbate the impact of those movements, potentially leading to fatigue, discomfort, and pain. With ergonomically-sound equipment, those movements become more natural with healthier wrist and hand positioning, which can help reduce the risk of RSI.
It’s best not to wait until signs of RSI are present to see how mice and keyboards can make a difference. Ergonomic devices can help alleviate pain or at least reduce the risk of its escalation. And when employees are pain free, companies are more profitable. Having a worker diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can result in astounding costs that employers must cover. As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the average direct cost of just one case is $30,882 and worse, indirect costs average $33,970.14 That puts the total cost for a case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at $64,852. Leveraging ergonomic equipment in an attempt to ward off workplace injuries is a prudent way to avoid unanticipated overhead and in terms of ROI, it’s the closest thing there is to a sure bet.
Ergonomic products only truly work when end-users actually adopt them. Finding the sweet spot that ensures ergonomic improvement without compromising performance defines Logitech’s overarching mission.
So how does this objective translate into actual product design? It distills down to three core principles: ergonomics, comfort, and desirability.
The beauty of ergonomics is that it can be quantified and measured by observing posture, muscle activity, and impact on performance. Posture is the position in which you hold your body segments while standing or sitting. Muscle activity refers to the degree of strain and movement an ergonomic device will cause a muscle. Performance impact is where the rubber meets the road. It considers the dual metrics of performance combined with reduction in strain for the end-user.
Although subjective in nature, comfort can be evaluated with both a visual and a tactile assessment and it’s non-negotiable in the Logitech design world. If a product isn't comfortable to use, then workers won’t utilize it. That defeats the entire purpose.
Finally, desirability due to the overall design. Do users think it looks nice, does it appeal to them, does it look like a product they understand, does it make sense to them and do they want to try it? To the user, the idea of ergonomic mice and keyboards might conjure up images of awkward, alienesque devices better suited to an inventor’s lab rather than a typical office. Logitech ergonomic products, however, defy this mode of thinking. Their unique design approach delivers comfortable, aesthetically-pleasing keyboards and mice that employees truly want to adopt.
The ability to successfully implement these three criteria determines whether a particular device ultimately becomes a Logitech product offering. It also results in devices that are easy to adopt and quickly become familiar—and then indispensable—for end users.
Logitech tools fit the human and the task.
The answer is simple. Yes. When ergonomic solutions are moved into the workplace, it raises overall awareness of healthier working habits. During a transition to healthier equipment, the following guidelines can help accelerate and emphasize positive behavior changes for employees:
An additional benefit of adopting proven and appealing ergonomic products is that workers perceive their employer to be someone who respects their needs and health, going beyond what is merely “required.” The resulting morale boost leads to happier, more productive employees.
Approximately 4 in 10 Americans say pain interferes with their mood, activities, sleep, ability to do work or enjoyment of life.16 For these people, ergonomic solutions are game changers. Finally, they can do their job efficiently. Perhaps even more importantly, they can work with peace of mind.