The Economics of Ergonomics: How to keep Your Team Upright

You don’t have to operate heavy machinery to put your body at risk in the workplace. Even sitting the wrong way in front of a computer monitor can lead to lingering wrist, neck and back issues. That’s why designers, scientists and engineers around the globe have dedicated their research to workplace ergonomics. You’ve probably heard the term before; ergonomically designed chairs, mouse pads, keyboards…all created to eliminate discomfort and the risk of injury due to work.

What is ergonomics?

In its simplest terms, ergonomics is the study of people in their working environment and its physical effects. To take it a step further, ergonomists take these studies and apply them to design to adjust the working environment to fit the worker, not the other way around. Ergonomics can prevent most workplace injuries by putting an emphasis on proper posture to reduce the impact of repetitive movements through proper posture. The use of computers and rapidly changing technology had already changed the ergonomic landscape, but with remote and hybrid work schedules becoming more prevalent in the wake of Covid, desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting require even more thought and consideration.

How does ergonomics specifically affect branches?

Bank and Credit Union employees risk a multitude of repetitive movement related injuries. Because the job requires standing, sedentary work and even lifting heavy bags of money, ergonomics play a critical role in maintaining a happy and healthy staff.

Meet and greet zones- As banks adopt the more personal approach of using roaming tellers and associates, employees who might have once spent eight hours sitting, are now standing still for elongated periods of time. This can cause lower back pain and stiffness, sore necks and feet, muscular fatigue, and more.

Tellers and advisors- While some branch employees are on their feet most of the day, others are behind desks or sitting at teller windows helping customers with a variety of banking needs. Often in these environments, the position of the monitor is to the side of the staff member for a more personal connection with the customer they’re helping, which leads to twisting the neck and body when inputting and accessing information. This, coupled with the repetitive motion of data input can lead to a variety of risks, including Osteoarthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Cash and coin- Cash is heavy, and coins weigh even more. While the addition of automation in branches through ATMs and Coin kiosks have provided more convenience for customers, it adds an extra strain to employees who have to keep one machine full, while emptying the other. Bags of coin can weigh as much as 40 pounds, which can cause strained and pulled muscles and musculoskeletal injuries.

What can branches do to help?

Making small changes can have a big impact on the ergonomics of a branch. Ergonomically designed computers and equipment can help relieve the repetitive motions that come from sitting in front of a monitor inputting information, and chairs with lumbar support and swivels can allow tellers to view their monitors without having to constantly turn their neck or twist their bodies. Educating your staff about the correct positioning of monitors and posture can also help reduce unwanted strain. For the staff members on their feet, it’s important to stress the importance of cushioned insoles, comfortable footwear and sitting down during breaks. Adding carpeting to a branch floor will also reduce the impact on standing employees. Adjusting storage of cash to mid level shelves rather top or bottom and reducing the amount of heavy lifting can reduce unnecessary back strain.

Ergonomics are good for business.

The benefits of good ergonomics in your branch far exceed avoiding injury. Reducing the aches and pains often associated with branch work can have a butterfly effect on the general morale of staff. Reduced risk means fewer sick days, and less workers’ compensation claims which leads to an increased overall productivity and customer engagement for a better banking experience.

Let Coinstar do the heavy lifting.One of the easiest ways to mitigate the risks involved with workplace injuries, is finding a partner in Coinstar for Financial. We provide a fully managed coin system, which includes coin pick-ups, removing a large burden of heavy lifting from your branch staff. Contact one of our coin experts today and see how we can help your branch with the heavy lifting.