Office Technology Pain Points and What You Can Do About Them
Ronald Monte | July 12, 2018
Carlos Kasuga, a conference speaker, always emphasizes the importance of personal organization and order within the workplace. His position is that keeping work areas neat allows a person to focus on the task at hand, perform better and even grow professionally. He states, “Organization is a key factor in your professional success. You must stay organized, and keep work areas impeccable. The work space needs to be an ideal one as it helps maintain focus, promotes innovation and improves overall performance in the work environment.”
It Is True…
A recent study by HLW International LLP, of 400 participating managers and employees found that cleanliness does influence productivity. Those who worked in a clean office reported a 5% productivity gain compared to those who had cluttered workspaces.
Yes, there are proven benefits to working in a well-organized and efficient work area. Unfortunately, in this modern-age, it is an almost impossible challenge. Why? It is the number of electronic devices, the work desk itself, and the way the desk, the devices, the chair, and the employee interacts with everything in this area that causes a total mess of the workstation. It is a workplace problem that holds employees back and keeps them from performing at their best.
The Workspace Issue
Because we need so many devices during the workday , we put them all on our desktop. And because this desk area is not made to accommodate them, there really is no real way to declutter, organize and improve the workspace. Consequently, an employee’s overall work performance is always compromised and he usually performs subpar. So why aren’t design experts focusing on this problem?
The Modern-Day Workspace
Increasingly, HR departments, architects and designers are tasked to redesign the corporate workspace. The trend is for office areas to do more than simply house certain work functionalities. The goal is to create communities, facilitate collaboration and encourage an environment conducive to teamwork.
But —and this is a HUGE ISSUE —what is being done to help people declutter, organize, and improve work performance at the actual workstation? In this world of constant corporate design changes, isn’t it time we addressed the problem of the actual workstation? How are corporate designers taking the use of desktops, laptops, screen viewing area needs and ergonomic work areas into account?
Why Does It Matter?
Proper organization improves productivity by as much as 8%. Which means that having a well-designed workspace improves work performance, promotes overall health and relieves stress. Still skeptical and wondering what an efficient employee workspace has to do with health, stress and performance? Let’s take a look.
The Health Factor
Most employees sit at their desk hunched over. They lean on the arm rest or sit with their leg propped underneath the other. Sure! It may be comfortable, but the truth is, sitting in this way for hours on end can have negative long-term health implications. Not to mention it also causes back pain and energy slumps.
Studies conducted at Princeton University show that poor workstation ergonomics increase the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Prolonged sitting and static posture is also associated with cardiovascular and circulatory disorders, weight gain and lower back problems. Nerve and tendon related disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis are also factors here. Needless to say, these are some pretty scary health problems, which may not develop until a person reaches middle age or even later, but it does happen as a result of poor posture while sitting at a desk. Ergo, it is a problem workplace designers really do need to address.
It’s The Chair, Right?
So, the chair is the problem, right? Not really. Most work areas now have ergonomically designed chairs, even though, people never take the time to learn to properly adjust the chair properly.
Okay. It is a simple problem to solve. Just read the manual, ask the HR team or check with the workplace health department to learn to properly adjust the chair, right? Yes, adjusting the chair and using it correctly is a start. But unfortunately, this alone does not cover the full scope of the issue.
The Leaning Forward Problem
Even when a worker does adjust the chair correctly, this does not often solve the problem. People tend to accommodate their body to the desk and to the tech equipment instead of vice versa. It is common for workstation users to lean forward all day long and break contact with the chair backrest. It is easy to blame the chair, but often, the problem is not a chair design issue. It is the combination of the way tech devices are set up and the way employees use them that is the real problem at hand.
The Keyboard – We need to re-evaluate the desk and keyboard height. Standard 29.5-inch desks are too high for 95 percent of the population. So workers compensate by sitting high in their chairs and slumping over the desk the entire day. Added to that, employees tend to lean forward and in doing so, place their bodies at risk for lower back pain issues. Being able to bring the keyboard and mouse closer to the body and lowering the keyboard towards a person’s lap can offset this problem.
Mouse – Yes, even the mouse can influence posture and comfort when working at a desk. Traditional mouse designs promote wrist contact stress and can cause ulnar and radial deviation of the wrist which leads to carpal tunnel and other types of injury.
Monitor – An improper monitor height, view and position cause an employee to lean forward, squint and adopt improper posture when working, and all of this leads to serious health consequences.
The Organizational Factor
How many tech gadgets does the average employee own and use in the office? Chances are they have, at the very least, a laptop, a desktop and a smartphone. In some cases, they may even have a tablet or a Kindle e-reader or some other device to deal with. The problem with this is that these things take up desk space and create clutter, which in turn causes:
Distraction – Removing distractions allows the mind to focus on the most important project of the moment.
Freedom – Devices placed on every area of the desk space robs the user of work area freedom. In these situations, employees have only a very small portion of the desk to work on. It’s almost as if there wasn’t a desk at all, just a small corner of a table surface to work from.
Opportunity – When able to come into a clean and clutter free desk space, the new day brings opportunity and the potential to accomplish something great. But if the entire desk is taken up by computer equipment, there is no room for this fresh start.
Reputation – A clear desk indicates a focused mind. It makes you appear more efficient, accomplished, thorough and organized.
The Performance Factor
Even the nicest office building, floor plan or designed space can have poorly performing employees. By contrast, a bare warehouse space may have workers who perform at their best on a daily basis. The key influencer here lies in the individual employee’s work area. When each individual’s workspace is more comfortable, easily adjustable, organized and functional, employees perform better. There are fewer work-related injuries, fewer sick days, and an overall better work environment.
A proper workspace offers:
A Boost to Employee Productivity – A work area designed for comfort and good posture, allows for less body exertion, fewer strains and better work heights. Workstations help prevent fatigue, eye stress, and thereby enhance performance.
Improved Quality of Work – When tech devices are placed at adequate eye level, in high contrast lighting, it prevents eye fatigue. Your job is easier, less stressful and causes less of a mental strain. It helps you focus on the project at hand.
Enhanced Employee Engagement – When a company makes a real commitment to the health and well-being of employees. When the organization focuses on the individual workstation needs first, even before addressing floor plans needs, meeting room and outdoor aesthetics, employees take notice. As an employee, this makes you feel cared for and prevents frustration with corporate management. It improves performance, targeted goals and wins you over. There is nothing you won’t do for a company that takes your health into consideration.
Take it A Step Further
What can organizations do? Yes, it is important to consider an open vs. a closed floor plan, the dual usage of office space, and the overall look of the entire business. But before doing this, we need to focus on improving the workstation desk. It is in the organization’s best interest to redesign the workstation to create a more productive environment, one that allows the employee to have clear thoughts, be more innovative and work more efficiently.
The Cemtrex SmartDesk combines and reimagines all the needs of the modern office. The result is a fully integrated workstation that minimizes the pain points found in today’s offices. The SmartDesk keeps things clean with a single workstation connected by a single wire – and all the work necessities seamlessly integrated. When seamless software combines with optimized business tools, productivity goes uninterrupted.