Time for an Ergonomic Touch-Up: Staples Survey Shows Office Ergonomics Can Improve Employee Productivity and Well-Being

Staples Advantage Provides Quick Tips for Boosting Workspace Comfort with Easy Furniture and Desktop Technology Improvements

Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:00 am EST

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SPLS
"Companies can provide a more comfortable experience for workers by supplying ergonomic equipment and education on the best way to use it."

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The pain in your neck at work may not actually be from your demanding to-do list or endless meetings. According to a recent survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., office furniture and technology may make or break how employees feel during the day. Results show that by providing support – in the form of ergonomic enhancements – companies can create happier, healthier and more productive work environments.

While 86 percent of office workers report some discomfort from their office furniture and equipment – 41 percent say it actually does cause a pain-in-the-neck – a little ergonomic fine-tuning can go a long way. According to the survey results, with a more comfortable workspace:

  • More than 1 in 3 office workers say they would be a more pleasant person to work with;
  • Nearly 1 in 2 say they would be more productive; and
  • 35 percent say they would feel less stressed at work.

The first step companies can take to help create happier work environments and banish aches and pains is to start the ergonomic conversation. Results show that 1 in 3 respondents haven’t heard the topic of ergonomics discussed at work, and 70 percent say their workspace isn’t ergonomically adjusted for them.

“Ergonomics shouldn’t be overlooked until it gets to the point that employees are practically avoiding their own desks,” said Jay Mutschler, senior vice president, Staples Advantage. “Easy ergonomic fine-tuning can have a positive effect in the workplace – not the least of which is keeping employees healthy and happy throughout the workday.”

Does Your Chair Make the Grade?

When it comes to ergonomics, office chairs were top-of-mind for survey respondents – nearly 1 in 2 employees give the comfort of their office chair a “C” grade or lower. In addition, 54 percent say if they could make one change to improve the comfort of their workspace, they would ask for a more ergonomic chair.

If they had their wish, chances are, these workers would be sitting pretty – of the 82 percent of office workers who say they slouch at their desks, 66 percent assert their posture would improve if they had an ergonomic chair.

“A good office chair helps put employees in the driver’s seat and in control,” said John Michael, vice president and general manager for the furniture and design business of Staples Advantage. “With an ergonomic chair – one that alleviates back pressure and promotes good posture – employees feel more energetic and ready to tackle the day.”

Staples employs hundreds of furniture, interior design and logistics professionals who work with organizations to create more productive, ergonomic and aesthetic workspaces. Company experts provide the following tips for selecting – and helping employees get settled into – the optimal office chair:

  • Choose the right chair for tasks – Specialized job functions may necessitate specific chair designs. Consider multi-function chairs for maximum versatility.
  • One size does not fit all – When selecting a chair, consider its ability to conform to various body types. In addition, look for multiple points of adjustability (seat depth, back height, arm height, chair height and tilt tension).
  • Correct posture is key – The best seated position is not an erect 90 degrees, but rather a reclined posture of 100 to 110 degrees. Craning of the neck, tense shoulders or slouching cause strain even with an ergonomic chair.
  • Adjust chairs appropriately – For example, seat height should be adjusted so feet are firmly on the floor, and tilt tension should be adjusted for differing weights.

The Tech Effect – Selecting Equipment That Maximizes Comfort

Typists, take note: according to the survey, 86 percent of office workers do not have an ergonomic keyboard. Of that group, 69 percent report experiencing wrist strain – symptoms that may be alleviated through keyboard selection and the use of keyboard trays.

Today’s office workers face a variety of other challenges, including the fact that 1 in 3 spends eight or more hours a day at their desk, in front of the computer – more time than the average adult spends sleeping in their bed each night.

“With many office workers spending more time in front of their computers than in their own beds, it’s especially important to shift positions and take active breaks,” said Ed Ludwigson, vice president and general manager for the technology products and services business of Staples Advantage. “Companies can provide a more comfortable experience for workers by supplying ergonomic equipment and education on the best way to use it.”

With an extensive selection of desktop technologies, as well as laptops, desktop computers, monitors and more, Staples provides the following ergonomic tips:

  • Keyboards – Consider ergonomic keyboards, such as the “fixed-split” or “adjustable-split” designs that promote proper finger positioning.
  • The mouse – Keep it on the same level as the keyboard to avoid twisting or reaching. Consider mouse pads with cushions for maximum wrist support.
  • Monitors – Adjust brightness, contrast and screen resolution, and consider non-glare screens, so the display is easy on the eyes. Monitors should be at eye height and about an arm’s length away – positioned so that eyes look forward and slightly downward. Look for monitor stands that tilt and swivel for optimal ergonomic positioning.

For more ergonomic best practices from Staples Advantage, please see our ergonomic whitepaper. Please see www.staplesadvantage.com for more information on Staples Advantage.

About the Survey

Staples Advantage conducted an online survey, with responses from more than 150 office workers in companies of all sizes and across industries. The survey, conducted in December 2010, asked about ergonomic preferences and use of ergonomic furniture and equipment.

About Staples Advantage

Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 20 or more employees up to the Fortune 1000, including global businesses, local, state and federal government, healthcare organizations and educational institutions. The Staples Advantage one source solution includes comprehensive products and services from office supplies, technology and printing to promotional products, furniture and facility supplies. Dedicated to providing organizations with greater cost savings and improved ordering efficiencies, Staples Advantage provides a customized level of account support and best-in-class customer service. More information is available at http://www.staplesadvantage.com.

About Staples

Staples, the world’s largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.

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