Is comfort at work a luxury, or is scrimping on office furniture a false economy? As our lives become increasingly sedentary, perhaps it’s time we started to place greater emphasis on how comfortable we are when we’re at our desks.
According to research discussed by HR Magazine, a quarter (25%) of office workers said that the discomfort of working from their desks hinders their productivity. A similar amount (24%) admitted that sitting at their desks brings discomfort, and 25% said their productivity is negatively impacted by their working environment.
Distractions from the working environment cause half (50%) of respondents to be unproductive for up to an hour every day.
However, the Wellbeing Guide from Steelcase suggests the issue of discomfort in the workplace could be even worse. The guide found that 85% of workers experience discomfort at work, with more than a third (37%) feeling like the discomfort stops them from doing their best.
The cost of discomfort
As the research suggests, discomfort can impact productivity. It is estimated that such distractions can cost the UK 21 million working days every month. This equates to a loss of £3bn every year.
But discomfort can lead to even more serious problems, by causing injuries to workers.
High Speed Training revealed that half a million workers suffered from musculoskeletal disorders in 2015-2016, with many of these issues being caused by poor workstation ergonomics, such as unsuitable desk layouts and uncomfortable and unsupportive chairs.
Comfort is the way forward
But when it comes to increasing comfort in the workplace, workers aren’t expecting plush armchairs at their desks. Instead, nearly two thirds (63%) believe standing up at work and being more active throughout the working day could help boost productivity.
Providing workers with sit-to-stand desks could make the world of difference to your employees.
It might also be worth investing in some ergonomic chairs. But, while one chair might work brilliantly for one person, it might not suit the whole office… One size does not fit all!
Instead, get employees to trial different chairs to find the one that is most comfortable for them.