No matter the budget, a small business can make its office as ergonomic and comfortable as possible for its employees. Ergonomics is simply the science and discipline of ensuring that people don’t have to strain or make themselves uncomfortable while they work throughout the day. It’s a way to ensure that no one has to suffer from back pain or headaches because of bad lighting or awkwardly placed office furniture, as well as ensuring that employees have access to everything throughout their workday without having to exert much effort.
Even if your budget is on the tighter side, you can still find ways to ensure that your small business’s office is as ergonomic as possible for you and your team. All you need is careful planning, accurate measurements, imagination, and resourcefulness.
Here are some tips and ideas you can consider:
Observe how your day-to-day operations go
Before you can make plans, you first need to identify your team’s needs on a day-to-day basis, and how you can make it easier and more seamless for them through the office’s layout. Observe the traffic flow and how people move, and if there are assembly lines that you need to observe. This will help you determine how many desks and chairs you need, where to position the couch or the waiting area, and even something as small or simple as the position of the door switch. If you get a feel for how your team moves throughout the day, you would have a general idea about how to lay everything out.
Consider going for the co-working space style
While there is some benefit in giving everyone their workstation or cubicle, there are also plenty of advantages in opting for a co-working style. Here are some benefits you need to know:
- There will be more space for people to roam freely.
- There are also more opportunities for people to collaborate and network together.
- You would also be spending less on furniture pieces because you would only be investing in bigger pieces like a big desk and a few chairs.
Instead of going for a traditional office style with multiple cubicles and workstations, consider opting for an open floor space plan that looks more like a co-working space than an office.
Follow the basic rules of office ergonomics
Here are some basic principles of office ergonomics that you need to remember:
- The user’s feet must be able to be planted flatly and firmly on the ground.
- Chair height should be level with the hips, so it should be adjustable according to the person using it.
- The elbows and hands need to be level and angled at about 90 degrees.
- The screen or monitor should be an arm’s length away, and the top of the screen must be the same level as the user’s head.
- Everything that the user needs regularly, like the landline phone, pen, Post Its, and others need to be within an arm’s reach.
As long as you abide by these basic principles, you can now play with the layout and the kinds of furniture pieces you can use for your office.
Lay everything out according to foot traffic
This is where the research and observation part of your planning will come in handy. You need to lay everything out according to how people use the machines and other supplies in the workplace. Here are the things you need to consider:
- The supplies, machines, and appliances that are used by a lot of people, like the copy machine, refrigerator, and others, need to be placed in such a way that is accessible and comfortable for everybody.
- If there is an assembly line—for example, someone writes a document, another employee edits or notarizes it, and another brings it to the CEO to sign—then that process needs to be taken into careful consideration and should influence the way everything in the space is laid out.
Don’t forget what the day-to-day operations look like so that you can design your office in a way that perfectly accommodates that process.
Incorporate some indoor potted plants
Having some greenery in the workplace is a simple way to bring the outdoors indoors—and it will do wonders for the team’s health as well.
With enough imagination, creativity, and resourcefulness, you can design an office space that is ergonomic and comfortable for you and your employees. You can help boost their productivity and energy—and you don’t even need to spend an arm and a leg! Just observe their needs and your work culture, and let them influence your office’s design and layout.