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As the owner of your office ergonomics process, one of the most challenging situations you may encounter is a vocal workforce. Employees who are comfortable raising issues are a good thing; you can help address Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) symptoms early, rather than after an injury occurs. However, getting too many requests at once can be overwhelming, especially if managing office ergonomics is just one of the many hats you wear. To determine whether your employees want the latest and greatest office peripherals or truly need them, incorporate these four elements into your process.

  • Provide awareness training for your employees. This will empower them to fix some of their own issues (aligning the top of the monitor at eye-level), and request the appropriate equipment when necessary (a foot rest or a document holder).
  • Conduct quantitative, risk-based assessments to prioritize who needs help first and to determine whether a change really needs to be made. Implementing stretching routines or installing rest-break software is only going to get you so far. Those programs won’t flush out whether an employee is constantly exposed to an MSD risk factor.
  • Report and track the results of a discomfort survey. This may help determine if the symptoms your employees are experiencing are indeed related to the setup of their workstation.
  • Have a standardized set of solutions available to ensure that everyone is treated fairly when new equipment is distributed. This will also help you stay within a budget. Many times, companies can set up a preferred pricing plan with office equipment vendors, rather than paying the off-the-shelf prices.

Keeping these four elements in mind will distinguish wants versus needs when managing equipment requests.