Costs and benefits of ergonomic office interior design


You might ask yourself:  Should I choose a fixed-height work station or invest more to get an ergonomically sound sit-stand solution?

 

The medical and economical facts

More than 50 % of grown-ups suffer from back pain at least once a year. About half of them require medical assistance by a doctor or physical therapist. According to the latest estimates, the economic damage caused by back pain problems is of approximately 2.8 billion Euros.

Sitting over long periods of time in a constrained posture in front of the computer is the main cause of tension in the muscles of the neck and back.  Other consequences are a weakened abdominal muscles (office belly), impairment of the respiratory and digestive system as well as circulation problems in the thighs.

Secondary complications of back-straining computer work are quite painful and lead to considerable financial losses for companies and the government. Countless studies have shown that furnishing your office with ergonomic sit-stand work stations, which encourage movement, pays off quickly and sustainably reduces costs.

 

A cost comparison as a decision-making aid

Employer costs caused by employee sick leaves (e.g. because of back pain):

Estimated annual costs (wages + social benefits)   EUR 65,000.00

Costs per day of illness (EUR 65,000.00: 220 work days)           EUR 295.00

 

Additional costs for an ergonomic sit-stand desk approx.           EUR 500.00 (for example a rectangular desk, 160 x 80 cm)

 

For a desk life of at least 10 years:

Additional costs per year            EUR 50.00

Additional costs per month            EUR 4.16

Additional costs per work day (for sit-stand option)           EUR 0.23 

 

This means that the additional costs of a sit-stand desk can be recovered after about a year if at least two sick days due to back problems can be prevented. In the following years of its product life, the ergonomic desk contributes to a positive balance with about EUR 590.00 per year.

Preventing is cheaper than healing

If you consider ergonomics as an integral part of workspace planning from day one instead of waiting until problems and costs occur to address the issue, it is no longer “expensive” to set up a work station according to modern ergonomic criteria.

Musculoskeletal damage caused by office or computer work can be avoided. These unnecessary health damages, which are in most cases a consequence of a lack of movement or one-sided posture and stress, cost employers, insurance companies and the government billions. 

The cardinal error: economising on ergonomics

Ill-conceived saving schemes are quick to forget about the most important factor in production: the human factor. Cost pressure forces companies to reduce expenses in many areas. In this context, the fact that a holistic ergonomic improvement of office and computer work stations accounts for less than 2 % of labour costs and shows fast positive results on the corporate balance is often overlooked. 

Excellent outcome:

Good ergonomic office furniture is always cost-efficient: it saves more than it costs. It helps you prevent cost-intensive health damage, which is always in the interest of any company.  

Employees who know the advantages of changing their posture and using sit-stand desks can work in a healthier way and are more motivated, more productive and more efficient.