Though ergonomics may be a buzzword these days, it’s relevant to all of us. You hear the word often, whether it’s being used to promote chairs, jeans or even sports drinks, but what does it actually mean?
It’s simple, really. Ergonomics is defined as the science of fitting the task and the tools to the user to maximize productivity while reducing discomfort, fatigue and injury. Derived from the Greek words “ergon,” which means “to work,” and “nomos,” which means “natural laws,” ergonomics applies to anywhere you work.
In addition to the traditional office environment, ergonomics is also applicable to alternative workplaces and even home offices. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, working on an assembly line or taking care of patients in a medical environment, ergonomics can impact your life. Ergonomics is about making the workplace fit you and your specific needs, rather than the other way around.
A proactive discipline, ergonomics helps to reduce discomfort in the individual. This can have a ripple effect, increasing job satisfaction, productivity and well-being, thereby helping to reduce costs to the organization in the long run.
So, next time you hear someone name-check “ergonomics,” you’ll know exactly what they mean (or don’t).