The Importance of Business Leaders investing in Ergonomics

For many organizations, the implementation of a sound ergonomics program represents a significant investment. In addition to complying with workplace health and safety regulations, prioritizing the well-being of employees involves being proactive. By implementing proper ergonomics, organizations can reduce the likelihood of work-related injuries or health issues among their staff.

Organizations often require a comprehensively defined business case to justify the need for investment in ergonomics. Toward this end, an effective ergonomics program can offer a positive return on investment (ROI) that is often many times the cost of executing the program.

So, lets define ergonomics?

Ergonomics focuses on creating products, work tools and work environments that reduce physical strain and increase productivity of employees in the workplace.

Given that the average worker spends more than seven hours a day at their desk, ergonomics must be given top priority by companies in order to develop happier, healthier, and more productive workers.

Why is ergonomics a smart financial investment for HR leaders?

In today’s challenging Human Capital landscape, ergonomics can deliver valuable benefits for employees and a significant return on investment for organizations. A growing body of evidence suggests that the presence of an organizational-wide approach to health and wellness has long-term financial implications. The National Business Group 2022 survey on Health found that employers that have health and productivity programs are able to reduce disability days between 10% and 35%, improve return to work rates by at least 6% and experience an ROI ranging from 3:1 to 15:1.

The financial benefits of Business Leaders investing in ergonomics are highlighted below:

  1. The financial benefits of reducing workplace pain  

Desk-related pain is a significant health-related burden for employers – 2.6% of a workforce requires time off each year due to issues like back pain, with an average absence length of 29 days. A company with just 50 people typically spends more on sick pay than the average employee salary.

In the most serious cases, workplace MSK injuries can result in huge compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. Red Wing Shoes implemented an ergonomics program with equipment modifications and experienced a drastic decrease in workers’ compensation costs, from $4.4 million to $1.3 million.

Even the smallest ergonomic adjustments, such as repositioning screens or using a footstool, can prevent workplace pain and minimise the legal risk as an employer.

  1. Cost savings from a more productive workforce

People with pain are much more likely to experience presenteeism – showing up to work, but generally being unproductive due to their pain. For every sick day a member of your team takes off work, an organization is likely experiencing four non-functional or phantom days with severely reduced productivity.

Studies show that ergonomic setups can lead to a 40% productivity increase and a 56% reduction in error rates amongst employees. Ergonomics can help employees to maintain focus and work more efficiently, resulting in higher quality work for your business.

  1. Higher job satisfaction and retention rates

An investment in ergonomics is an investment in employees, especially in today’s challenging job market. Employee engagement and morale are more important than ever. A staggering 80% of employees are willing to leave their jobs for opportunities with a greater focus on employee health and wellbeing.

Studies in the United Kingdom (UK) show that replacing an employee costs an average of £30,000, with an additional £1,500 for new employee training. Ergonomics demonstrates an organization’s commitment to employee wellbeing, leading to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

Well-considered ergonomic workplace design not only creates offices that are free of health and safety risks and meet your occupational regulatory responsibilities but can also strengthen an organization’s ability to attract and retain employees.

4. Reduced Absenteeism.

Providing a workplace that reduces and prevents musculoskeletal disorders means employees will in turn have less time off sick for these issues. The 2022 – 2023 HSE Annual Report reveals that 35.2 million working day lost, due to non-fatal workplace injuries and work-related ill-health. The workload is frequently divided among coworkers when employees are ill, which can lead to needless stress. Equal task distribution also fosters a sense of closeness within the team, which contributes to a positive work atmosphere.  Fewer absences in the workplace can therefore directly reduce the stress for the wider team as a result.

  1. Improved Quality of Work

Employees will likely produce poor-quality work if they are unwell or do not operate in the right environment. A 2020 Report showed that some organizations’ cost of poor quality (COPQ) work is as high as 15% to 20% of their sales revenue. Investing in office ergonomics helps an organization avoid the cost of poor-quality work.  By making employees more comfortable and the workplace hazard-free, it helps them have better focus on their jobs.



By applying ergonomics to their work environments, organizations can experience a ripple effect of the benefits. When an organization takes a proactive approach to employee safety and well-being, employees take notice of this active stance on their wellness. Well-considered ergonomic workplace design not only creates offices that are free of health and safety risks and meet an organization’s occupational regulatory responsibilities but can also strength an organization’s ability to attract and retain employees.

Enhanced employee commitment leads to increased productivity and a greater demonstration of initiative and effort in their work. Consequently, higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity contribute to a positive corporate image for the company, potentially fostering stronger community ties and a more influential brand.


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