Survey of Employees Reveals that Most are Dissatisfied with Office Ergonomics

Recently, Performance Ergonomics was invited to present a seminar on office ergonomics at one of Arizona’s largest employers that offers an Employee Wellness Program. Our team met with employees participating in the Wellness Program and asked them to participate in an informal survey about their office equipment, workstation design, and comfort levels when at work. 

We know that working at a computer workstation can result in challenges for those who sit for prolonged periods. Since seating is a foundation in the workplace and office chairs are often undervalued, under-appreciated and misunderstood, we focused on proper seating.

Our informal survey of participating employees revealed some findings worth noting.

When asked if their workplace provides adequate adjustability and ergonomic options, less than half agreed (43%), nearly half disagreed (47%), and many simply didn’t know (11%).

1. My workplace provides adequate adjustability and ergonomic options.

a) Strongly Agree (11%)

b) Agree (32%)

c) Disagree (30%)

d) Strongly Disagree (17%)

e) Don’t Know (11%)

As expected, when given the choice of which item(s) most needed improved ergonomics design, the chair clinched first place (68%).

2. The following item(s) is most in need of improved ergonomics design in my work environment.

a) Office seating (62%)

b) Keyboard (21%)

c) Mouse (6%)

d) Monitor(s) (26%)

e) Cubicle or office design (26%)

f) Other (19%)

We asked them how they would assign a letter-grade to their chairs. Nearly a third (26%) would face academic probation or worse. The lion’s share (66%) earned an unimpressive C – only fair or lower. 

3. If you were to give your current office chair a letter-grade, what would it be?

a) A – Excellent (11%)

b) B – Good (21%)

c) C – Fair (40%)

d) D – Underperforming or barely passing (17%)

e) F – Failing (9%)

The most concerning responses came from our inquiries about musculoskeletal discomfort while working. Well over 75% of those responding indicated that they have experienced discomfort either several times in the past six months or continuously. 

4. During the past six months, have you experienced aches, pains, or other physical discomfort while working at your desk?

a) Never (6%)

b) 1–2 times (17%)

c) Several times (51%)

d) Continuously (26%)

Finally, we know that discomfort leads to limited productivity and adversely impacts employees’ work performance. People tend to put up with aches and pains until they can no longer tolerate it—at which time they generally seek medical care, which consumes valuable healthcare resources on preventable conditions.

5. Did these aches, pains, or other physical discomfort interfere with your ability to work effectively or limit your productivity?

a) Not at all (21%)

b) Interfered somewhat (68%)

c) Interfered significantly (6%)

d) Not applicable (0%)

No surprise here—people tend to work for long hours each day sitting. Wellness efforts are important and needed to promote healthy behaviors. 

6. How many hours per day do you estimate you spend working in a seated position?

a) 2—4 hours (6%)

b) 5—6 hours (34%)

c) 7—8 hours (47%)

d) > 9 hours (13%)

Although this survey focused on just one organization, it offers valuable insight into employees’ comfort levels at work and opinions on their workstation set-up and equipment. If you’d like to learn more about how to boost your employees’ comfort and satisfaction by improving ergonomics in your workplace, contact Performance Ergonomics today! 

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