Productivity or Well-being? Balance Is Best.

According to a recent study in Colorado (USA) designing and modifying work to show a balanced emphasis on both productivity and well-being for employees achieves the greatest rewards – for both employee and company.

The study was centred on a tool called the Ergonomic Climate Assessment. Basically, this measures the workers’ perception on how the work they perform (and the workplace itself) is designed. Is it designed to maximise productivity or with greater focus on safety … or a balance of the two.

A perception that the work or work environment is designed to equally encourage both productivity and well-being leads to:

  • reduction in physical and mental strain,
  • lowered risk of work-related injuries and illness,
  • increases in both work quality and efficiency.

This balanced approach they called a “positive ergonomics climate”.

One indicator they used in their testing was the extent of work-related musculoskeletal pain experienced by workers. In workplaces where there was perceived to be a stronger emphasis on either productivity or on safety, workers experienced higher levels of musculoskeletal pain.

The researchers suggested that this could be a result of an imbalanced design causing increases in work related stress.

When productivity is over-emphasised, workers can feel stress needing to deliver even if it means jeopardising their health, safety or general well-being.

When safety is over-emphasised, workers can feel stress about safety measures getting in the way of their productivity.

I think intuitively we all know that a balance of productivity and safety measures is ideal.

Here at Online Compliance Systems it is one of the main principles under-pinning our Online WHS System – our aim with Online WHS is to keep safety a high priority but to ease the burden that comes with compliance.

We want our clients to have both the most productive workplaces with the greatest sense of well-being – and, as shown by the Colorado research, to yield the greatest rewards.

Online WHS is a fantastic tool for helping you create a “positive ergonomic climate”. For more information view our introductory videos on the home page.

Or use the green Book A Demonstration button at the top of this page to schedule a free, no obligation, online demonstration of Online WHS – we will take you through the System in the comfort of your own office and you can have as many participants as you like.

The study referred to here was done by Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Public Health. The researchers were Krista Hoffmeister, PhD, AEP; Alyssa Gibbons, PhD; Natalie Schwatka, PhD, AEP; John Rosecrance, PhD, CPE.