Attractive and healthy jobs thanks to ergonomic workplace equipment
These hard workers deserve comprehensive support, which includes investing in things that make work healthier.
By providing an ergonomic working environment, an employer demonstrates that they value their staff. Ergonomic equipment enables workers to stay healthy and productive, and also makes physically demanding jobs more appealing. All of this is important given the challenges posed by an ageing workforce and a shortage of young people with vocational qualifications.
Here, we look at:
- How the world of work is changing due to developments such as demographic change and the waning popularity of vocational careers
- The challenges associated with this and
- How companies can overcome these challenges using ergonomic workplace equipment.
Demographic change and more people going to university – how the world of work is changing
Europe has an ageing population thanks to low birth rates and high life expectancy. In 2020, the average age of Europeans was 42.5, and this could increase to over 50 by 2050.
In turn, this is changing the age structure of the labour force. Whilst the working-age population is shrinking overall, the proportion of workers aged over 50 is increasing all the time. This is trend is so pronounced that it cannot be reversed by the arrival of younger immigrants.
Another factor is the increasing numbers of young people getting university degrees rather than vocational qualifications. This is not down to money – tradespeople may earn more than their university-educated counterparts – but rather due to vocational careers having an image problem.
This has consequences for industry and the skilled trades
- The competition for skilled tradespeople on the job market is becoming more intense. Companies wanting to attract these professionals and keep them long-term need to offer more than just money.
- Jobs in the skilled trades and in industry need to be made more attractive, despite the fact they involve getting up early and getting your hands dirty. This will ensure that more young people opt for a career in logistics, for example, or as a baker or mechanic.
- Since many companies now have an ageing workforce, it is crucial that they adapt their work environments to the needs of older staff, thus ensuring that these individuals can continue to work effectively. At the same time, companies should also take steps to keep their younger staff fit and healthy.
Ergonomic equipment as a way to counter the shortage of skilled tradespeople
Making workspaces more attractive
Modern, well-equipped and ergonomic workspaces are proof that an employer cares about their employees’ well-being. They also make work more enjoyable. Companies that can offer this are more attractive to potential employees – because after all, who doesn’t want to feel good at work? Ultimately, this boosts the image of careers in industry and the skilled trades.
Helping staff to stay productive
Ergonomic equipment protects staff from injury, back pain, hearing damage and many other physical complaints, preventing long periods of absence or staff being declared unfit to work. It ensures employees can stay productive, whatever their age. This in turn also benefits the company financially.
Making work easier for older employees
These days, we know that if you have a healthy lifestyle, you can be as fit at 65 as others are at 25. However, hearing and eyesight do generally decline as we get older, and our spines become less resilient. But these limitations can be compensated for with the right equipment. This allows older staff to bring their strengths to the table – this could be decades of experience and a wide breadth of knowledge, or greater willingness to take on responsibility.
How to improve ergonomics in the working environment
Equipment for more light and better vision
Appropriate lighting conditions in the workplace can help to prevent eye strain, increase concentration and provide motivation. It is important to remember that older employees will require significantly brighter lighting than their younger colleagues, and will also be more sensitive to dazzling light.
Dimmable lamps enable each individual member of staff to adjust the lighting at their workstation to a level that suits them. Another important factor when it comes to protecting eyes – and necks – is being at the correct distance from the screen. Laptop stands and adjustable monitor holders can help with this.
Equipment for fresher air and a better interior climate
Make stuffy air at work a thing of the past. Fans, mobile air conditioning units and air purifiers ensure a pleasant ambient temperature and filter out harmful substances. This decreases health risks, reduces errors and boosts performance.
Equipment for more strength, simplicity and comfort
Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time is a widespread phenomenon in today’s world of work, and not only in typical office jobs. Height-adjustable workstations turn traditional desks into dynamic sit-stand versions. These can be paired with ergonomic chairs, stools or anti-fatigue stools.
Talking of standing: how about trying out anti-fatigue matting on assembly lines? You’ll see what a difference it makes. And since lifting and carrying heavy loads can present a health risk even for younger members of staff, we recommend the use of electric platform trolleys and lifts. Meanwhile, lift tables and lifting devices make frequent bending over a thing of the past.
Equipment for less noise and more peace and quiet
Hearing damage, stress, a lack of concentration: The negative impact of noise in working environments is often underestimated. Don’t make this mistake – protect your staff using acoustic dividers and ceiling panels.
Take advantage of the opportunity to make jobs at your company healthier and more attractive. Our online shop offers you a wide range of products to take the strain of backs, protect ears, improve interior climate and generally make your workplace a better place to be. The best thing about it: you’ll see the benefits straight away.
Tips for older employees
Ensure staff are intellectually stimulated
Make sure your employees have enough variation in their jobs, give them the opportunity to contribute their ideas and skills, and provide them with tasks that challenge them intellectually. This helps to keep the grey matter in good working order.
Provide training opportunities
Organise training events on health-related topics, for example on nutrition or good posture. Anti-stress seminars are also a good idea, as are exercise opportunities – these help employees to build muscle strength and lead a healthy lifestyle outside of work.
Ask for feedback
Remember to check in with your staff regularly: Ask how they are doing and what aspects of the company they think could be improved. This shows them that you value their efforts and their input.
Adapt work schedules
Long working hours and working different shifts can be tough even for younger members of staff. And the older we get, the more important it is for us to avoid these things and to get sufficient rest periods. This helps us to stay fit and motivated over a longer period of time.