Une entreprise Nord-Américaine décida de conduire une expérience basée sur 4’000 employés de la société. La société décida d’investir dans l’ergonomie pour ce test. Les employés furent encadré par le biais de cours et formations pour comment se tenir au bureau, ainsi que l’achat de bureaux et sièges ergonomiques. Les résultats furent sensationnels !
- Baisse de l’absentéisme de 4% à 1% soit une réduction de 75% !
- Baisse du taux d’erreur de 25% à 11%, soit une réduction de 56% !
- Une hausse du temps passé à travailler de 60% à 86% du temps, soit une hausse de 40% du temps actif à travailler !
- Réduction phénoménale des accidents du travail et de l’inconfort !
90% des managers ont noté que la productivité avait « BEAUCOUP évolué » !
« There are two reasons to consider ergonomic issues during the design of office environments and in the purchase of office equipment. One reason is that dollars spent on improving the ergonomic acceptability of offices have an excellent return on investment. The other reason is that, because of the possibility of legislation, there may be no other choice.
A major incentive to purchase ergonomic equipment and to design ergonomic environments is the improved performance and well-being of office workers. Office automation (OA) has been associated with increased absenteeism, reports of muscular discomfort, eyestrain, and reductions in job satisfaction. There are many factors involved, including task design and the way OA technology is introduced.
One of the major components of the problems associated with the introduction of office automation is the computer screen. The computer screen demands that the user work within a very restricted posture range. Unlike a book, a computer screen cannot be read from the side. nor from above, and is difficult to move around on the desk top. Consequently, the relationship of the user to the computer is frozen.
The postures that result are not normal for the human. Posture is not a given position of the body; there is no such thing as a single good posture. Posture is a dynamic process of movement. If the computer screen freezes a person into only one posture, the result is discomfort, hence the requirement for ergonomic furniture. Although adjustable furniture is important to accommodate the differences in body size between users, another important aspect is to permit any individual to adjust his/her work environment throughout the day, allowing for different tasks and different postures. Adjusting posture throughout the work day by using adjustable furniture reduces postural discomfort.
Ignoring ergonomic requirements has a substantial cost. The large number of people reporting discomfort while using computer equipment has resulted in many research studies and investigations. These investigations and the continued high user complaint rate has prompted the development of guidelines in Canada and legislation in the United States regulating the design of office equipment and the duration of video display terminal work. Currently, approximately half of the legislatures in the U.S. have bills passed or in review that regulate the use of video display equipment. Some of the legislation carries fines of up to $1,000 per day per worker for contravention of workstation regulations.
There are several issues related to a regulatory approach to the improvement of office environments: First, restrictions in hours of exposure to VDT work limits the effective work time of employees and usable time of computer equipment. Second, it costs money to police the regulations. Third, and most importantly, if the improvements in operational effectiveness that can be achieved through the office environment were better understood by decision-makers in the business community, a legislative approach would be unnecessary.
Studies And Results
Over the last five years a study on the relationship between ergonomic office environments and productivity has been underway. The sample group includes managerial, technical, and clerical workers from a broad cross-section of North American industry. In the sample group approximately 4 per cent of managerial workers and approximately 60 per cent of clerical workers have direct work-station access to a computer terminal. The total study population of VDT workers is approximately 4,000 persons.
In the survey, workers using computer equipment, specifically video display equipment, more than one hour per day reported twice as many complaints of neck and shoulder discomfort as coworkers who did not use VDT equipment. VDT-workers reported eye strain three times as often as workers using conventional office equipment. VDT operators also had higher rates of absenteeism, reported less job satisfaction and, at entry-level positions, had a higher turnover rate (approaching 30 per cent a year) than their co-workers.
During the course of the study, specific groups were selected for further analyses. In one case, a group of 123 office workers were selected to fur-ther investigate the impact of ergonomic furniture on productivity. For eight months preceding the design changes workers kept diaries of time spent on various tasks. The absenteeism rate of the group was monitored as well, as was the percent of time the person was actively using computer equipment. The number of errors per document was anaiyzed, as well as the mean time to complete various clerical func!ions. The workers were given checklists which they completed every half hour, describing their postural comfort and perceived well-being.
Management workers completed time diaries and rating sheets evaluating their own effectiveness and the effectiveness of employees directly within their supervisory responsibility.
During the design change process the workers participated in the selection of furniture through user evaluations, development of layouts, and determination of finishes and accessories. The performance measures were continued for six months after the design changes.
Results were impressive: Monday morning absenteeism dropped from 7 per cent to less than 1 per cent. Over-all absenteeism fell from 4 per cent to less than 1 per cent. Error rates in document preparation fell from 25 per cent to 11 per cent. The percent of the day computer equipment was in use increased from 60 to 86. These results signified an increase in active work time of more than 40 per cent. Reports of postural discomfort showed a marked drop in frequency, severity and duration.
The subjective ratings that managers made of their own performance indicated that more than 70 per cent felt that their effectiveness had improved « very much. » Ninety per cent subjectively rated the productivity of their employees as « much improved. »
Because the study was completed over a one-year time frame, the « observer effect » was minimized. Many productivity improvements reported in other studies are crititicized as being merely an indication of the increased attention given to workers. In this study many of the same questions were asked in several different ways to determine the consistency of the responses. The first eight months of the pre-design phase did not show an improvement in performance, which should have been indicated by an observer effect. The productivity improvements also endured after the study team was no longer on-site; a follow-up study by an in-house office manager of non-invasive factors such as absenteeism and document error rate indicated that, one year later, the improvements in office performance measured in the study were still in effect. These data demonstrate the value of office ergonomics. »