The IGR offers field and market studies
An extension of the IGR consulting portfolio are studies, found here under the heading of research and development.
Relational and Behavioural Ergonomics - Focus on the Human Being
The needs of employees are increasingly becoming more important from the perspective of health promotion and prevention. The reasons for this are the well-known changes in demographics and the shortage of skilled workers, as well as the tendency towards the intensification of work and the resulting increase of mental illnesses such as burn-out, depression and diseases of the musculoskeletal system due to lack of exercise and one-sided stress. Other determining factors are also increasingly changing due to new forms of work, such as the introduction of open office landscapes, desk sharing and the parts of work shifting to working from home On the production side, the increasing number of employees with physical limitations, the rising average age of the workforce and the as of yet unforeseeable consequences of digitalisation - buzzword Industry 4.0 - are becoming more important.
The Institute for Health and Ergonomics has already set out to examine how products or services prove themselves in terms of their ergonomic effectiveness in tough everyday practice when it comes to the certification of ergonomic products. Above all, whether or not they live up to the claim of being useful to most people at work. This means that the most varied individual characteristics with regard to height, weight, gender, age and health restrictions should be taken into account in order to do justice to the greatest possible number of people individually when it comes to optimised ergonomic working conditions.
This includes work equipment in the sense of "relationship ergonomics" as well as measures that have a (preferably lasting) effect on people in the direction of healthier behaviour, in the sense of so-called "behavioural ergonomics".
This could be conditions such as a more ergonomic design of work equipment that induces healthier behaviour or simply didactic influence towards healthier behaviour. For example, in the form of special training measures, targeted visualisation (and thus simplification) of instructions, improved user guidance - keyword software ergonomics - or optimisation of operating instructions, etc.
Studies provide answers
This is immediately followed by the consideration of the above-mentioned effectiveness in the context of duration of time. What is the impact of measures over a longer period of time? Can they bring about significant changes or improvements in behaviour?
How are the measures evaluated by employees, superiors, but also by the staff of workplace health management, HR or occupational safety?
Can impairments be minimised? Concrete parameters such as the sickness rate provide information about this, but also whether job satisfaction and motivation could be increased.
Last but not least, the business effects of ergonomics should also be examined. Here is an example from the production sector.
Employers are obliged to take suitable measures or use suitable work equipment in order to avoid stresses that pose a risk to the health of employees. Particularly in the area of manual and industrial serial production with regularly recurring work processes, technical design solutions are available to prevent incorrect strain on the musculoskeletal system.
This applies all the more to employees, i.e. those who are only able to work to a limited extent due to a previous illness, an accident etc. External help must be provided. [Source: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Dortmund]
Through concrete measures on both the relationship and behavioural side, the integration of physically impaired employees into normal shift operations is theoretically possible again. IGR field studies investigate whether and how such support measures can be implemented in practice.
Example field study administration:
"Effectiveness of motivational software for electric height-adjustable desks. in terms of the interaction between relationship and behavioural ergonomics".
The design of the workplace has a direct influence on the behaviour of the office worker. An obvious example: the use of electrically height-adjustable desks enables the so-called sit-stand dynamic. Practice shows, however, that after a short time gravity gains the upper hand and work is increasingly done sitting down again. How this phenomenon was countered and which measures were introduced to achieve healthy behaviour can be read in the current press release of LINAK GmbH.
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Motivated for better work
Can you motivate people to use your electric height-adjustable desk more intensively in order to work better and healthier? Yes, you can. This has been proven by a study conducted in the new offices of Diamant Software in Bielefeld. The study was initiated by LINAK, manufacturer of electric lifting columns for height-adjustable workstations. Some workstations at Diamant Software were equipped with the new DPG control element from LINAK. Four components were utilised to motivate employees to use the desk more: Firstly, the intuitive design of the control element, which has no buttons and allows operation only by tilting and pressing. Secondly, the three different options for a reminder function: integrated directly into the control element with a flashing light bar as a reminder, as a pop-up on their own computer or as a push message on their mobile phone. The result speaks for itself. The additional use of the desks was 74 percent.
"Sitting is the new smoking" - this phrase has repeatedly haunted many articles in newspapers and on the web in recent months. And indeed, we sit too much, which is extremely unhealthy. Desks that can be electrically adjusted in height at the touch of a button have almost become standard in German offices. Height-adjustable workstations are an effective means of counteracting health problems. The special challenge in companies, however, is to motivate employees to use this function. It is not uncommon to see in German offices that people are only sitting and hardly anyone is standing. Convenience and forgetfulness are the two reasons repeatedly cited when asked why they do not use their height-adjustable desk.
LINAK, as a manufacturer of electric lifting columns, has thought about this problem and developed a new control element for height-adjustable desks. The user can individually set how often he wants to work while standing. The software and app can be connected to the DPG via Bluetooth. The software can also be connected via a USB cable.
The field test was intended to clarify the extent to which the DPG control element and the motivation software induce employees to use the height adjustment more often. The study was conducted by the IGR Institute for Health and Ergonomics from Nuremberg. "Sitting down was already not an advantage at school. The same could be said in the office. Our spine and muscles need movement to stay healthy and strong. But our daily work today is sedentary and mostly takes place in a sitting position," explains Ralf Eisele from the IGR. The study examined 40 office workers who work at 40 electrically height-adjustable desks. At 20 desks, the new DPG was mounted and the corresponding software was set up. In order to obtain the results, a tracking function was added to the software. This made it possible to read out the frequency of the lifting movements on a monthly basis. After an investigation period of three months, the use or frequency of height adjustment was compared. Both were documented and evaluated accordingly. In addition to reading out the controls, the test persons were also asked about their experiences.
"In any case, it was fun. My colleague had not installed this software. I also swapped with her in the meantime to see what it was like with the other control element without the motivation tool. And there is no way I would want to swap", reports Christina Milenkovic, employee at Diamant Software. Other employees also confirm that they have changed their work behaviour due to the reminder software. Klaus Artmeyer, sales employee at Diamant Software says: "Before there was always the inner weaker self that always spoke out against it: "I don't get up, I prefer to sit and hang in the armchair. And that has changed significantly."
75 per cent of the participants had the software remind them to alternate between standing and sitting. The clear majority of users with motivational software said that since the study they had more alternations between standing and sitting or worked more often standing up. At the end of the study, the users of the desks with motivational software reported working standing up significantly longer every day.
The IGR Institute comes to the following conclusion: "It remains to be said that the positive effect of the motivation software will have a lasting effect. I.e., the increased use of the height adjustment will stabilise at a clearly higher level through the influence of the motivation software than in the participants without software. In addition, with increasing repetition of the sit-stand change, the users' awareness will be positively influenced to automatically include it in their own behavioural repertoire."
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