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Managing Office Ergonomics Without Drowning In Employee Requests

Are you being bombarded by employees who are asking for and submitting several requests for different equipment and changes to their workstations?  Are they beating your door down asking for the latest in sit-stand devices?  It’s good to have employees who are aware of their environment and are comfortable raising issues as that’s the best way to nip any musculoskeletal disorders in the bud early rather than well after the first symptom occurs.  However, these requests can swallow up all of your budget in no time.  So, what’s the best way to address and manage the requests while making sure you are providing the equipment that will benefit your employee’s performance and health?  The answer is to have certain procedures in place that will help guide and determine whether your employees “wants” for the latest and greatest in office equipment match what they truly need.  The following are components that should be a part of your management program:


  1. Provide office worker training for your employees:  The training will provide them the latest and accurate information regarding the hot button issue of sitting and standing.  It will also provide them with the knowledge they need to fix some of their own issues and when necessary request the right equipment (different mouse, document holder, footrest, etc.)
  2. Perform risk-based evaluations to prioritize who and/or what employee group is in most need and to identify the changes that need to be made.  The goal is to determine if an employee/employee group is exposed to MSD risk factors on a daily basis. 
  3. Consider performing a discomfort survey on an annual basis.  This will allow you track the results over time and determine if workstation changes are related to an increase or decrease in symptoms.
  4. Develop standard protocols and equipment solutions that are followed by all employees and managers so everyone is evaluated and treated the same way.  This not only will provide clarity to all employees but will also allow you to stay within your budget.


Be sure to keep these 4 points in mind as they will help you differentiate between employees who want to keep up “with the Jones’ ” and those who really have a need when dealing with equipment requests.