The changing workplace: Why wellbeing is one of the biggest HR issues of our time

The conversation surrounding health and wellbeing in the workplace has risen to the top of the business agenda in recent years. Many businesses are now questioning what they can do to make their staff feel comfortable, happy and healthy whilst at work. Meanwhile employees are choosing to work for the companies that will provide them with the support and tools they need to be productive in the working environment. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), employee health and wellbeing is one of the biggest human resources issues of our time, affecting millions of people worldwide. In order to solve these challenges, businesses are turning to a number of ergonomic solutions and products that create a comfortable office to work in.

The importance of an ergonomic workspace

So, why is it important to consider the ergonomics within the workplace? A desk is no longer somewhere to sit and work, but an environment that supports us to work efficiently. A workspace must be designed to enhance the productivity of the person using it and this extends to the way they sit and move about this space. Ergonomic workspace solutions mean that staff can tailor their workspace set up to suit their individual comfort needs and requirements.

Offering ergonomic solutions to improve staff wellbeing will provide businesses with some significant returns for the business’ performance. Research has shown that a comfortable, well-lit, workplace will increase productivity levels by as much as 16%. Ergonomic products are also crucial to reduce the number of employee sick days taken as a result of work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). It’s estimated that 8.8 million working days were lost in 2016 as a result of WRMSDs, so a key objective for businesses will be to reduce this number. Ergonomic and health and wellbeing office tools will play a major role in making this happen.

Tackling workplace wellbeing issues

A well-designed, ergonomic workplace will need to take into account the need for flexibility. This means that while a particular setting works for one person, it may cause another further discomfort or pain to another. So with this in mind, how can HR managers and business owners resolve wellbeing issues in a way that suits each employee?

A simple but effective way of targeting wellbeing challenges flexibly is to break them down by each of the body’s common pain points on the body and match it to the ergonomic product or solution that is designed to improve it. Common pain points are:

  • Neck – 2 out of 3 adults will experience neck pain
  • Back – It’s estimated that between 60-80% of people have reported having back pain at some point in their life
  • Wrist – Up to 12% of people report difficulty with wrist pain everyday
  • Leg – According to research, nearly 75% of people who work in an office double their chances of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) by not getting up from their desk and taking regular breaks
  • Eyes – 68% of office workers are unhappy with lighting conditions, often working without the light of a desk lamp, causing strain on the eyes.

Once the key pain points affecting staff have been identified, it’s time to choose the products that tackle these issues. The Kensington SmartFit and Rexel ActiVita products give the individual user to power to choose the setting that works for them, without getting in the way of colleagues. The adjustability of these products means that more than one user can benefit from them at different times – delivering that all-important flexibility that the modern office requires.

A comfortable office makes for happy employees

The 2016 What Workers Want survey by the British Council for Offices (BCO) and Savills revealed that 25% of respondents would be willing to travel an extra 30 minutes to work in their perfect office, so it’s more crucial than ever for managers to get the office environment right. 18% of organisations have already started using ergonomic solutions specifically to improve employee welfare, and that number is only set to grow to ensure that workers everywhere are working comfortably and productively.

Banner has sponsored a report in conjunction with ACCO Brands for OEN that explores health and wellbeing in the workplace, and the solutions and products that are available to HR managers and employers to ensure everyone within the company is happy and healthy whilst at work. If you would like to download a copy please visit: