Monday, June 20, 2011Management and Information Processing (cont.) Chapter 15Office Design, Space, and Health Issues Odgers, Administrative Office Management with Workbook, 13th edition, Cengage Learning, 2008.
Objectives: • Discuss your understanding of several office design elements that include layout, work flow, space allocation, and office design trends. • Define ergonomics relative to the office and give examples of ergonomic tips for the office worker. • Describe the occupational risks of the following five primary sources of frequent physical problems in offices: air, lighting, noise, workstations, and chairs. • Identify ways of preventing repetitive stress injury and carpal tunnel syndrome while using an office computer. • Explain how computers can contribute to eyestrain and computer vision syndrome.
Office Design Issues • One of the most important aspects of an administrative manager’s position is ensuring the office is set up and that it functions soundly for all employees.
Office Layout and Design • . . . because no single design can be all things to all workers. • Layout Considerations • An office environment is made up of several interdependent systems that include people, floor plans, furniture, equipment, lighting, air quality, and acoustics.
When planning a layout, an AOM should keep these ideas in mind: • Become aware of the mandatory layout stipulations dictated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and design office space in keeping with the law. • Consider communication relationships between individuals when planning layout and locate individuals or work groups performing similar or related duties near each other. • Position individuals or work groups with frequent public contact near the entrance to the premises; conversely, . . . • Plan space so that everything in the office has a purpose.
Design Issues • In designing an office, specific questions need to be asked and answered regarding lighting, décor, noise, and air control. Consider: • Lighting • Task lighting – illuminates the work surface. • Ambient lighting – illuminates the areas surrounding a work surface.
Color – wall and floor coverings • Noise – proper construction can help to control noise • Air – temperature, humidity, ventilation, and cleanliness
Use of Office Space • When you study how most administrative and office workers really operate or function on a day-to-day basis, you find they spend a lot of time working in common spaces. • Three different approaches are generally taken to use office space effectively: • Open plan areas • Private office • Hybrid approach
Open Plan Using Modular Design • Is designed to foster the free flow of information and is characterized by lack of interior walls and the freestanding placement of desks, partitions, and other office furnishings. • Main attraction is flexibility because of its efficiency when teamed with modular design. • Works best for workers who have no need for privacy and may need to openly collaborate • Can be easily re-configured to fit the need • Can be custom fit • Components include a desk, storage space, file space, and shelf space.
Private Office • Create problems when making layout changes • Creates air conditioning and heating problems within the building • Typically, upper management and workers in HR department prefer private offices.
Hybrid-Space Approach • Encompasses both open and closed spaces with convertibility • Ex. Floor-to-ceiling panels
Workflow Considerations • Workflow is the movement of information from person to person within an organization. • One of the first activities in workflow management is to examine how documents move and are managed.
When planning efficient office workflow, an administrative manager should: • Analyze the interrelationships among equipment, information, and personnel in the workflow. • Move work in a circular pattern or in as straight a line as possible. • Avoid crisscrossing and back-tracking because they are time consumers and energy wasters. • Take work to the employee; do not ask the employee to get up and get work to do. • Creating online forms and developing computerized templates for the most common office documents are two more ways organizations bring the work to the employee.
Office Design Trends • Tools like instant messaging, file sharing, and wireless networking allow employees to easily collaborate and be on the move without negatively affecting productivity. • As a result, managers are abandoning their long-cherished notion that a productive employee is an employee who can be seen. • Technology and new patterns of office use are making companies judge people by what they do, not by where they spend their time.
Alternative Officing • Describes flexible work arrangements and settings that support work processes, functions, or activities that can’t be encompassed in one space. • Note: . . . More than 20% of the nation’s nonclerical staff may find themselves without a permanently assigned desk. • For alternative officing to be successful, two major issues must be in place: • Should a company not have a system of trust factors in place, AO will struggle • If it does not have the necessary technology infrastructure for remote access to servers, AO will not work. • In other words, alternative officing is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. • Alternative officing is like a 3-legged stool – it requires the right balance of a physical space and setting, human resources processes and trust in place, and tools and technology.
The Office of the Future • This includes the need to eliminate “distractions” through user control of physical environment, to improve knowledge sharing and collaborative work through the ability to constantly display information, and to increase speed and access to information.
Blue Space • Is an interactive and personalized office of the future. • The joint project combines IBM’s technology expertise with Steelcase’s workplace knowledge to create a new office environment that integrates the physical work space with advanced computer, sensor, display, and wireless technologies. • http://www.research.ibm.com/bluespace
Blue Space (cont.) • Highlights of this fully Internet-enabled IBM-Steelcase smart office approach include the following elements. • Blue Screen • Touch screen allows user to be in control of their physical and virtual environments. • Interactive icons allow users to adjust with the touch of a finger – temperature, air flow, or lighting. • Interactive icons help employees share projects, better communicate with their team members and access real-time news feeds.
Blue Space (cont.) • Monitor Rail • Moving rail consists of a work surface that travels the length of the work space and a dual monitor arm that almost rotates to a complete circle, allowing the users to be positioned anywhere in the area. • Everywhere Display • Display projects information onto any surface – desktop, wall, screen, or floor, transforming everyday objects into interactive displays, and untethering employees from their desktop computers.
Blue Space (cont.) • Threshold • Designed in response to a need for increased privacy control and monitoring, this movable work surface, ceiling, and wall act as a “technology totem” that provides on-demand visual and territorial privacy to the user. • . . . Office ergonomics and health factors must always be incorporated into the designs and monitored as to their use.
Office Ergonomics and Health Factors • An increased concern for the health of employees is causing great interest in the area of office ergonomics. • An ergonomically sound office is one solution to increasing efficiency, productivity, and contentment in offices. • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor defines ergonomics as the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.
Office Ergonomics and Health Factors (cont.) • In the office, the concept embraces the idea that machines and office products should fit people, not the reverse. • These products include: • Chairs • Desks • Keyboards • Mouse devices • Monitors • Telephones, and • Grab bag of accessories • all aimed at taking the physical stress and strain out of administrative tasks in the workplace.
Office Ergonomics and Health Factors (cont.) • Some common ergonomic guidelines for the office worker: • Don’t sit in one position all day long. • Keep your mouse next to and on the same level as your keyboard • Minimize awkward postures and reaches, whether they involve your wrists, arms or other body parts. • Invest in adjustable work surface systems, such as keyboards and desktops with height adjustments. • Put the keyboard in front of the monitor, not off to the side. • Use a telephone headset if you’re on the phone a lot. • Pay attention each day to warning signs from your body that may be relieved with proper ergonomic practices you may incorporate or tools you may use. CREATE AN OFFICE FLOOR PLAN AT www.floorplanner.com
FYI • According to OSHA, businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses – expenditures that come straight out of company profits. • Injuries and illnesses increase workers’ compensation and retraining costs, absenteeism, faulty product returns, and customer complaints. • They also decrease productivity, morale, and profits. • Businesses operate more efficiently when they implement effective safety and health management systems. • Safe environments improve employee morale, which often leads to increased productivity, better service, and greater profits.
5 primary sources of frequent physical problems in offices: • Air • Lighting • Noise • workstations • chairs
Air • Air quality is a growing concern because of the steadily increasing number of sealed office structures. • The so-called “sick-building syndrome” has been used to describe a range of complaints that encompass eye, nose, throat, and skill irritation, headache, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty in concentration, and shortness of breath. • This syndrome is considered to exist in a particular building when at least 20% of the employees complain of similar symptoms, but the symptoms tend to disappear after employees leave the premises.
Air (cont.) • A good source for more information about the quality of air in offices today is at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s web site, http://www.epa.gov/air. • Solutions for better air quality: • Air purifiers to control or alleviate workplace allergens, such as dust and mold. • Add plants that require low light. • Effective in filtering certain chemicals in the air. • Not only are plants used to improve air quality, they also serve as stress reducers.
Lighting • Poor lighting may lead to headaches or fatigue. • Natural lighting is easiest on your eyes; but, because natural light is not always available in offices, incandescent lighting, which almost replicates natural daylight is often used. • Lighting affects your moods • When light enters the eye, the retina sends signals to the pineal gland to suppress production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, while increasing the production of energy-giving serotonin.
Lighting (cont.) • Give people too much light, and they’ll eventually become disoriented; • Take away light and they’ll show signs of depression. • One of the more common lighting problems, a desktop in shadow, can be taken care of easily with a desk lamp. • The recommended intensity range for office lighting is 100 to 150 foot-candles. • A foot-candle describes the quantity of light. • It is the amount of light a distance of 1 foot from a standard candle. • Put another way, 1 watt of light per square foot produces approximately 15 foot-candles. • Many vision problems office workers have today, however, are related to computers which will be discussed soon.
Noise • According to a Cornell University study, working in a moderately noisy office with ringing telephones, worker conversations, the sounds of office equipment whirring, and drawers opening and closing may lead to heart disease since workplace noise causes heart-damaging stress hormones to become elevated. • Current trends in office design have relegated 25,000,000 Americans to open-plan office space, or “cube farms,” where a sense of teamwork and camaraderie may flourish – but noise distractions and potential health hazards do so as well. • In another study, conducted for the American Society of Interior Designers, conversational noise was the number one complaint of office workers.
Noise (cont.) • One solution is a portable and affordable system designed to mask intrusive sounds. • It operates by blanketing an individual’s work space with unobtrusive, natural sound that reduces the intelligibility, and therefore the distraction, of nearby conversations and various other sounds. • The system uses two tiny emitters that are used to create a gentle whooshing sound similar to air conditioning that fades into the background as it masks unwanted office noise.
Workstations • Working in awkward positions leads to injury because the muscles become strained and fatigued. • Placed on top of the desk, keyboards are often too high; but placed on your lap they are too low. • Mice are often too far away to be reached without straining. • A workstation designed for the employee’s size helps the employee be more productive and feel less fatigue.
Workstations (cont.) • To ergonomically fit a workstation to your needs, consider the 7 steps that follow: • identify your workstation needs. • Get the right mouse device. • Know your physical needs. • Adjust your keyboard to work properly. position keyboard tray either flat or at a downward slope (i.e. so that the row of keys beginning with the letters “QWERTY” is lower than the row of keys beginning with the letters “ZXCVBN.” • Consider a wrist rest. Wrists rests should generally not be used as actual resting places for your wrists while typing, but instead they are best used as a place to rest your wrists between periods of typing. • Keep your mouse close. • Accommodate different size-people.
Chairs • Backaches and neck aches are related directly to the adaptability, design, and condition of the chair. • One of the best ergonomic investments is an adjustable chair. • Look for good lumbar support for the curve in the small of your back. • Another characteristic to consider is depth of the seat pan; you don’t want one that cuts into the back of your knees, possibly reducing circulation.
Just having ergonomically correct furniture and equipment in the office (chairs, keyboards, and monitors for example) isn’t enough if you don’t know how to make the furniture and equipment fit you and other workers in the workplace. • Regardless of how your chair is designed, • However, it is important to get up from your desk and walk every half hour.
Recognizing and Preventing Computer Injuries • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 700,000 workdays are lost annually because of work-related computer disorders, costing employers $15 billion to $20 billion in workers’ compensation annually. • Two office work musculoskeletal disorders are repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome, which will be discussed in the sections that follow.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) • MSDs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, are potential physical outcomes for workers using poorly designed office equipment, furniture, and work spaces, or for employees who are inadequately trained in ergonomic practices. • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that MSDs account for more than one-third of all lost work-time cases.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) (cont.) • Repetitive Strain Injury is an injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) (cont.) • 4 major risk factors to RSI are listed below and workers must be aware of these risks in order to take preventive measures against each occurring. • Sitting – in one place for long periods is a risk because it slows blood circulation, which is needed to remove the waste products of simple muscle activity, such as keying and using the mouse. • Repetitive Movements – making the same movements again and again, such as keying numbers into a spreadsheet or circling a mouse or trackball, tires the muscles. • Faulty keyboarding technique – Avoid movements such as pounding the keys, tightly gripping the mouse, or twisting your wrists from side to side or in an up-and-down action. • Awareness of discomfort – People have varying degrees of awareness about their personal level of pain and comfort or how they move, sit, and stand. Some people concentrate some much on the task at hand . . . They forget about their posture or movements.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) (cont.) • Becoming sensitive to these matters helps workers become aware of symptoms and avoid unnecessary injury.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) • Is a medical problem of the hands, specifically an inflammation of the nerve that connects the forearm to the palm of the wrist. • The symptoms of CTS can include numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. • The best prevention for workers who may be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is correct use of the keyboard and mouse.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) (cont.)Treat carpal tunnel syndrome early, because if treated correctly it can be reversed.Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome can be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical Treatment Non-surgical treatment is usually the 1st choice and may include modifying the way you use your hands (at work and at home), wearing wrist splints at night, and injecting the carpal tunnel with steroid medication. (for people with mild symptoms or symptoms that tend to come and go. Surgical Treatment Surgical treatment for people with CTS should be considered when symptoms have failed to respond to the treatments just mentioned or if CTS is at a late stage and the symptoms are constant.
Computer Vision Syndrome • Characterized by eye fatigue, blurred vision, dry eyes, and headaches. • Furthermore, since people with vision-related problems frequently hunch over to see better, CVS is often accompanied by neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Computer Vision Syndrome (cont.) • Visual ergonomics • A new and relatively novel concept, is the interaction of your vision with the task that you are performing. • Visual fatigue is caused by staring at small letters and numerals on a screen for hours on end.
Computer Vision Syndrome (cont.) • Visual ergonomics (cont.) • Follow these basic work habits to reduce eyestrain in the workplace. • Keep your hard copy close to the screen • Place the copy just below or on a keyboarding stand next to the screen. • Take breaks • Follow the “20/20/20” rule for computer use: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet away. • Blink regularly • Remember to blink fully and often. • Move the monitor. • Be sure your monitor is at least 20 inches away. • Have your eyes checked • Be sure to have an annual eye examination.