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7 Tips on Setting up Ergonomic Workstations

Jun 15, 2020 | Ergonomics, Productivity

Have you ever had a job where your work environment wasn’t comfortable? If your feet hurt a lot or if you’ve faced an increased risk of injury, you know how important a suitable workstation is.

Ergonomic workstations are more comfortable for employees, and they can benefit worker health and company productivity. Keep reading to learn more about how ergonomic workstations can help you.

1. Talk to Employees

Before you make any significant changes to your warehouse workstations, talk to your employees. Figure out what concerns they have and how to create more ergonomic workstations.

If you find that multiple employees say the same thing, you’ll know to make those changes. If even one person has a specific concern, you should address it with the group.

It can also help to talk to employees as a group so that you can discuss the current situation and potential changes. Some benefits of ergonomics include improved productivity and safer conditions, so talk with your team and discuss your reasons for making any changes.

As you shift to more ergonomic workstations, ask your employees for their opinions. Ask them how much easier the job is and if they feel as tired after a shift.

2. Get Adjustable Equipment

Unless your entire warehouse team is the same height and weight, you should have adjustable ergonomic workstations. When it comes to chairs and benches, the tallest and shortest employees should be able to use them.

If you primarily use standing stations, look for some that allow you to change the height. Then, whenever employees need to switch to a different station, they can do so comfortably.

Adjustable equipment is especially important if workers will use it for longer periods. However, even a quick inventory scan can be difficult if someone has to sit or stand with improper posture.

While one worker may use the same station each day, their needs may change. Being able to adjust ergonomic workstations will keep them usable for years to come.

3. Use Ergonomic Chairs 

If your employees ever use a chair to complete a task, you should swap out the chair. Even if an employee only sits for short periods, an ergonomic chair can support their back.

You don’t have to get the most expensive chair, but it should be comfortable and supportive. It should also be adjustable so that your employees can change the height.

An ergonomic chair won’t be as helpful if the employee can’t rest their hands comfortably on a keyboard. If you can get a chair with at least a few adjustable options, you can make it work for everyone.

A flexible ergonomic chair will be good for anyone who may need to use it.

4. Place Foot Mats

A foot mat is an essential tool for ergonomic workstations that typically have the employee on their feet. You might see some called anti-fatigue mats, and they can take some of the stress off the legs.

When you stand on an anti-fatigue mat, your muscles will expand and contract more than on solid ground. The mat can help reduce lower back pain, which is a common injury among workers.

If you can place a foot mat in every workstation, your employees can all use them. The mats can keep your employees more comfortable, which will help with productivity.

5. Use Handheld Tablets

If your warehouse employees need to use technology often, consider switching to lightweight tablets. A laptop or desktop can be useful but also restrictive.

Some laptops can weigh quite a bit, especially if they’re more durable or designed to withstand an impact.

As long as you can access your company’s technology with a tablet, consider switching. Your employees will be able to use it more easily without a desk, and smaller ones weigh about a pound.

Over a long day, a small or medium-sized tablet can be much more ergonomic for the hands and wrists. Your employees won’t have to worry about carrying a ton of weight or developing hand and wrist problems.

6. Implement Intelligent Assist Devices

Intelligent Assist Devices (IADs) let you use a computer to control a robot. The devices can move and lift packages, which means your employees won’t have to do the heavy lifting.

Maintaining proper form when moving packages can help with productivity and wellbeing. When employees have to lift heavy loads, there’s more of a chance that they can injure themselves.

If you can start with one IAD, you can cut down on the amount of lifting that your employees need to do. They can still complete the action, but it will be through a computer.

An IAD can follow human directions, and it can also adjust based on the weight distribution and other factors. That can keep it from dropping packages, which can be easy for people to do.

7. Consider the Warehouse Floor Design

After you start making some changes and developing ergonomic workstations, think about the overall layout of the warehouse. Consider if employees have to take packages a long way and if you can decrease that distance.

Perhaps you have multiple employees doing multiple tasks when you could have everyone focus on one thing like an assembly line.

Sometimes, the space in warehouses isn’t flexible, and your employees may need to navigate through narrow aisles. But as you make changes to the workstations to make them safer and more efficient, think about the design.

Even if you have a set of ergonomic workstations, the space between may not be as comfortable. If that’s the case, talk to employees and see if they have any ideas for how to make things more efficient.

Switching to Ergonomic Workstations

Ergonomic workstations are essential for any workspace but are especially critical for the tasks performed in many warehouses. If you analyze your situation, the necessary layout, and your workers’ needs, you can make the right changes.

Once you do, your company will see an increase in worker productivity and wellbeing.

Are you ready to switch to ergonomic workstations? Contact us for more information and to get started today.

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