As an employer, you have a duty to ensure your team of DSE workers can carry out their jobs safely and comfortably. Under the Health & Safety Regulations 1992, it’s your responsibility to carry out adequate DSE assessments and make sure your employees have the equipment and ergonomic set-up they need to work safely.
But following good ergonomic practices is about more than legal compliance. Increasing the comfort and safety of your team can boost your employees’ wellbeing and improve staff retention rates. Read on to discover how.
Ergonomics is a relatively broad term used to describe the study of how people interact with their environment. Usually referring to the workplace, it looks at how we can set up a workspace or equipment in a way that promotes comfort and reduces the risk of injury.
You might see chairs, computer keyboards, and other DSE equipment described as ‘ergonomic’. This means it’s been specially designed to improve the user’s comfort and safety.
It’s important to note that, while ergonomics and wellbeing aren’t the same thing, they are closely interlinked. As we explored in our Ergonomics vs Wellbeing guide, wellbeing refers to “feeling good and functioning well”, according to the UK Department of Health.
So, how can ensuring a good ergonomic set-up improve staff wellbeing?
Whether it’s taking recommendations from your latest DSE assessment and adjusting desk height or investing in footrests, new office chairs, and wrist rests, improving workplace ergonomics can benefit employee wellbeing in a number of ways.
In turn, this can help staff feel more valued and boost workplace satisfaction. As a result, they’re more likely to stay in their role, and you’ll see lower levels of staff turnover.
Poor ergonomics can lead to physical discomfort, which, as you’re likely aware, can really impact our mood and wellbeing. A poor workstation set-up can lead to an array of musculoskeletal issues and desk injuries, ranging from RSI to carpal tunnel syndrome.
By ensuring your team members have an optimised workstation with ergonomic equipment, you’ll help them feel more comfortable and happier.
When employees are free from physical discomfort, they are likely to be more productive. This can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and a stronger sense of accomplishment. The result? Better staff retention!
While good ergonomics covers getting the right equipment, it can also relate to healthy habits. It’s vital for you to encourage your team to take regular screen breaks and to stretch, stand or walk around throughout the day.
Again, this can reduce discomfort. However, it also showcases a level of care from you as an employer. It will highlight to your team members that you don’t expect them to work for long stints without breaks and that you have their best interests at heart.
When teams feel that their employer is taking steps to promote their comfort and wellbeing, it can improve morale and create a positive work environment that people want to remain in.
Following good ergonomic practices can bring a myriad of benefits to any workplace. While it ensures you’re compliant with legal requirements, it also helps your staff feel comfortable, supported, and more motivated. As a result, you can encourage a more pleasant and positive work environment and reduce staff turnover levels.
If you’re unsure where to start with improving ergonomics, your best bet is to arrange a DSE assessment. This will identify any areas of desk or workstation set-up that can be improved to increase safety and minimise discomfort.
It’s important to note that you need to provide every employee with a DSE assessment, whether they work in a shared office space or remotely. If any of your staff members have specific health requirements, underlying medical issues or ongoing back pain, it’s best to opt for an advanced ergonomic workstation assessment.