6 Ways to engage employees in office ergonomics
When trying to keep office employees comfortable and productive at work, one of the biggest challenges is getting them to change the behaviors that contribute to discomfort and injury. The best way to make these important changes is to ensure that employees are actively engaged and participating in ergonomics efforts. Ideally, employees will feel accountable for – and empowered to improve – their own comfort and health.
However, it can be challenging to figure out how to interest and engage employees when they have so much on their plates. By providing thoughtfully-designed training, in conjunction with tools that enable employees to make positive postural and behavioral changes on their own, organizations can improve employee engagement in ergonomics programs. Here are six ways to do just that:
1. Make Sure Training is Relevant
Nothing kills an employee’s attention faster than forcing them to learn about ergonomics issues that have nothing to do with their day-to-day activities. For instance, only an employee that works with multiple monitors should spend time reviewing the healthiest practices for positioning and working with two or more screens. It may seem like common sense, but it can be hard to achieve such personalization when administering ergonomics training and information across an entire organization – especially for those with employees working remotely.
It is crucial to collect information about each employee’s setup that can then be used to tailor the training to the employee’s unique needs. For organizations working with a software-based ergonomics training program, this can happen seamlessly by implementing a solution that provides a brief assessment in order to tailor subsequent training content. Efficiency will encourage employees to absorb the information and enable them make the changes needed to work comfortably and productively.
2. Cut the Jargon
When you’re working deep in the world of ergonomics, it’s second nature to use words like “pronation,” “flexion,” or “forward head posture.” To the majority of people, however, these words sound like complete gibberish! To ensure that employees can digest the ergonomics information available to them, it’s important to communicate in simple, concise language with clear visuals - and, of course, make sure your resources are available in the variety of languages spoken across your office employee population.
3. Keep Ergonomics Top of Mind
Some organizations expose their employees to ergonomics only once a year, during a mandated training session. However, when aiming for employee engagement, it’s important to keep ergonomics more top of mind. For some organizations, this takes the form of ergonomics “buddies” that check in on each other on a weekly basis. For enterprises that wish to engage their employees on an even more frequent basis, ergonomics software applications can provide tools and reminders daily – or even hourly! However, not all employees have the same tolerance for frequent notifications, so, for best results, it is important that the software offer flexible settings to match each employee’s individual work style.
4. Maintain Cultural Sensitivity
Not all employees are alike – especially in those organizations that span large geographies. When providing photos, video-based training, or other educational component, two factors are critical:
- Your images should reflect the diversity of your workforce.
- The clothing and presentation of the individuals in the images should be appropriate to the diversity of cultures that make up your workforce.
These efforts will help your employees relate to the images and the people in them, increasing their likelihood of retaining the information being presented.
5. Ensure High-Risk Employees Have Access to Resources
An absolutely critical part of the process is to provide employees with an easy way to ask for additional help to address specific issues that they cannot resolve on their own. Best in class organizations use office ergonomics software to prevent high-risk situations from blooming into more severe problems. By implementing a sustainable process to identify high-risk employees – those experiencing discomfort, those with an already existing injury or disability, or those that lack suitable equipment – through assessments and computer usage information, resources can be effectively deployed to increase comfort and productivity.
6. Track Engagement
As with any safety effort, measuring success is imperative! But how do you measure employee engagement? Ergonomics software lends a hand by providing the ability to see when employees have logged into and completed their training, read an ergonomics-related message, or complied with a break reminder. This data provides the insights into what’s working and what isn’t. For example, when certain activities have low compliance rates, the software can be reconfigured to make the activities more accessible, more efficient, and/or more relevant.
More and more enterprises are successfully engaging their employees in office ergonomics efforts, which yield higher levels of comfort and productivity. With clear and personalized ergonomics educational resources, as well as tools to empower employees to make the necessary changes, any organization can achieve the engagement necessary for efficiency and success in their office ergonomics program.