Alternative Workstations May Be New But Are They Better?

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Abstract

An ergonomics survey of 84 employees who moved to an alternative workspace with smaller workstations equipped with various ergonomic products is reported. Half of the employees received some ergonomics training. Results showed that 25-40% reported the ergonomic products were somewhat or much less comfortable to use, and around the same proportion found them somewhat or much more comfortable to use. Between 25-40% of employees reported frequent neck, shoulder, back and right wrist discomfort and many reported that these symptoms interfered with work activities. There was clear evidence that levels of discomfort increased over the course of the work day. Employees were equally split on whether the office changes helped or hindered their work productivity. Comparison of the trained versus untrained employees showed that training reduced the problems associated with their new workstations. Overall, the results suggest that ergonomic products alone may not compensate for problems associated with smaller workstations.