Providing a comfortable working environment for your employees is important for three primary reasons:
- Morale – employees working in a comfortable environment feel better about their surroundings and the company employing them.
- Productivity – more and better quality work is likely to be produced when employees are comfortable and therefore better able to focus on the work in hand.
- Health and safety – there are certain obligations employers must meet to ensure their employees comfort.
What areas affect employee comfort?
Their immediate working area and general working environment all have a part to play.
Is the work area well lit? Are any bulbs out or do any lights need repairing? Poor or inefficient lighting can severely affect your employer’s ability to work productively. Bear in mind lighting demands can vary throughout the year depending on the seasons, and some working hours might be spent working in darker conditions.
Comfortable seating is very important as an employee may spend most of their working hours seated at a desk or work station. Are the seats you provide of acceptable levels of comfort? Are they still in full operating condition? Worn or outdated seating can soon prove uncomfortable, and in certain cases can cause injury to your employee resulting in lower levels of productivity and quality of work and possible absenteeism.
Temperature and ventilation
The correct ambient temperature and ventilation is a health and safety requirement. The terms may differ for workers operating in office or factory floor environments.
Any equipment employees use should work correctly and be adjusted for optimum performance. For example, a flickering computer screen can soon become very uncomfortable to use and will likely interfere with the employee’s effectiveness in producing work at the best quality and output levels.
An untidy working environment is an uncomfortable one. In extreme cases it can be hazardous and possibly promote the spreading of germs and other pathogens putting employees at risk of catching viruses and other infections.
Information for employers
It’s important to make your employees aware of how to maintain and enhance their comfort while working. For example, when working at a computer it’s a good idea to look away from the screen every so often to rest the eyes.
Information about how to use the keyboard to avoid RSI (repetitive strain injury), how to sit properly and the need to take regular breaks should be given to employees to help them work more comfortably.
How do I find out what is required?
Visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website, in particular this page, which provides links to useful information and downloads.
Doing more to aid your employees’ comfort
While there are certain obligations relevant to your employee’s comfort as discussed above, there’s nothing to stop you doing more to ensure comfortable working conditions.
While there are basic obligations concerning seating, an investment in seating of a higher ergonomic standard than the norm can pay dividends in making for comfortable employees. Since many of your staff probably spend much of their time seated, a well designed, top quality chair will help comfort levels considerably.
While it may prove expensive to implement, an advanced air temperature management system will make sure the temperature of the workplace stays consistent whatever the weather is doing. This is an undoubted key to workplace comfort – people soon become uncomfortable when they’re too hot or too cold.
Information and reminders
It’s a good practice to remind employers of how they can enhance their own comfort by sitting properly and generally ‘setting up’ to use equipment comfortably and ergonomically. So the provision of an information document or perhaps periodic training sessions would be worthwhile.
Comfort in the workplace
There’s no doubt a comfortable employee is a happy one, and a happy one is likely to feel motivated to work well as they feel part of a company who looks after them. In turn, as an employer you’ll benefit from a workforce creating a positive atmosphere and producing work at high levels of quantity and quality.
Patrick Boland is the CEO of the quality and comfortable heavy-duty office seating company – H&M Ergo Seating. Patrick believes that by ensuring your employee’s are comfortable and happy in the office environment, will increase productivity and staff morale.