June 11, 2007
New Studies Show Ergonomics Enhances Productivity
Minneapolis, June 11, 2007 - Office workers are more productive as well as more comfortable and less likely to report injuries when they are provided well-designed ergonomic furniture and are trained to use it.
A study reported at the Office Ergonomic Research Committee’s Marconi at Marigold conference found that an employer who provided employees with a combination of good ergonomic furniture and training in how to use it realized about $367 per day more income per employee (a 17.8 % productivity gain) than did a control group.
Significantly, preliminary results from an independent replication of the study at a different company’s call center found that employees who received the same combination of furniture and training achieved a productivity gain of 8.3% in the number of calls handled per hour. A concurrent study in this employer’s claims-processing center found that the ergonomic improvements produced an increase in the quality of claims processed that was worth $6,563 per employee per year.
Dr. Kelly DeRango, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, who led the productivity portion of the study, noted that the effect resulted from the combination of good ergonomic furniture and training: "In contrast," reported DeRango, "the training-only and the control groups did not show any significant increase in productivity."
"This study was one of the most comprehensive scientific efforts to link an ergonomic product and training to health, employee productivity, and return on investment for a corporation," said Ben Amick, Ph.D., University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston.
Amick and DeRango concluded that the benefit to cost ratio of an investment in the combination of good ergonomic furniture and training was very favorable in all the studies, ranging as high as 25 to 1 within a one-year time period.
About the Office Ergonomics Research Committee (OERC)
The Office Ergonomics Research Committee, Inc. (OERC) is a non-profit organization whose member companies are leaders in the insurance and computer, software, and furniture manufacturing sectors. Established in 1991, it has since played a leading role in funding innovative research in the field of office ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders.
OERC Contact Information:
Tom Albin, OERC Executive Director