On the importance of proactive office ergonomics

Updated: Jul 5



I had the opportunity this week to speak with someone who exemplified the very circumstance that is the reason I started my small business.


An individual described to me that she had accepted a new job. She was provided an office, but no orientation to the space or furniture, no review to ensure that the space was suitable to her. She noted immediately that things didn't seem quite right and they quickly escalated to the point that she needed to take time off of work due to the symptoms that had developed. Only on her specific request was she provided an alternate chair subsequent to her eventual return to work and even today she's not sure whether it is appropriate for her or not.


Let's consider the impact of this;

To the Employer;

  • The inconveniences created by an employee's unexpected absence, particularly in a role which may have been sitting vacant for a time already.

  • The usage of extended health benefits.

  • The cost of short term leave and/or replacement costs.

  • The risk of a discontent employee, very early in their employment.

  • The risk of a disconnect as the employee may not have had an opportunity to achieve sufficient connection with her peers before having to go off and possible resentment and on the part of the other employees at her absence.

To the Employee

  • The experience of an injury which has created a negative impact on not only her work life but her personal life.

  • Possible embarrassment at having to take an absence so early in her tenure and fear that she won't be respected in the workplace or worse; resentment toward her new employer that she has been injured.

  • Potential loss of income as she may not be entitled to sick or accrued vacation time yet.

  • Out of pocket costs for medical treatment.

  • The possibility of a disconnect with her peers.

All of this could have been prevented had the employer simply provided suitable orientation and training to the employee on her commencement of the role and ensured that the workstation was set up appropriately and was a suitable fit. Such a simple preventative measure is surely worth its weight.

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© 2020 by Balance Ergo o/o by Balance Employee Wellness Consulting