Ergonomics in the workplace: a brief history

When setting up an office, there is often a large emphasis placed on its appearance. With the right layout and beautiful office furniture, you create a productive, spacious workplace that will impress your customers. But ergonomics also plays an increasingly important role in creating a healthy workplace. Although it sounds like a new trend, there is a fascinating history behind it.

During the industrial revolution at the start of the 20th century, many ideas arose to make employees more productive. The conveyor belt already existed, but human muscle power remained important in the production of goods. To make optimum use of this power, adjustments were regularly made to machinery.

After the Second World War, more attention was paid to safety in the workplace. Research showed that accidents were often caused not only by human failure, but also by the poorly adapted designs of their work materials. Machinery needed to adapt better to human factors.

And that's how the study of ergonomics came about:

"Designing tools, technical systems and tasks in such a way that the safety, health, comfort and effective functioning of people is promoted."

Ergonomically responsible behind the desk

In the 1960s, working at a computer became increasingly widespread and we started to do more sedentary work. Office design was adapted: large office floors were arranged as efficiently as possible, each employee had their own 'cubicle' which included a desk, a chair and a computer.

Although more attention is being paid to the well-being of employees, for example spacious workplaces and concentration areas, there is still much to be gained in the field of ​​ergonomics. The provision of an adjustable desk and an ergonomic chair does not solve the many cases of RSI.

Prevention is better than a cure

More attention should be paid to preventing complaints. For example, make sure that your screen is adjustable by using a monitor arm and a document holder. This is an easy way to prevent pain in the neck, shoulders and back.

Need more inspiration? 

An ergonomic set up can be designed for every type of workplace. Whether it is a personal workstation, a flexible workstation or a place for focus work. Need inspiration? If you sign up for our newsletter we will keep you informed about the latest developments in the field of ergonomics.

Tags: ergonomics