By Erika Napoletano
Ergonomic products are increasingly in demand due to the many benefits they offer workers, which has sent procurement professionals scrambling to find the right suppliers and products to meet the needs of their internal stakeholders.
If you're considering investing in ergonomic office products, we have some guidelines to aid your search and choose a supplier wisely, making your investment one that's both financially and structurally sound.
Identifying the Best Ergonomic Products for Your Office
Before approaching suppliers, enlist the help of employees who spend their days working at their desks to identify the key struggles they experience and solutions they need to prevent pain and injuries from poor equipment. Have them answer a brief survey to narrow down what kinds of ergonomic products will best suit their needs. Standing desks, according to a June 2017 study by the Society of Human Resource Management, are the fastest-growing benefit among surveyed employees, and are likely to be in demand. If it's in your budget, have management bring in an ergonomics specialist to provide an expert opinion on the features you should be looking for in both furniture and ergonomic accessories.
Then, look for products that meet current ANSI/BIFMA standards. Furniture that meets these specifications has been put through a series of tests to evaluate functionality, safety and sustainability, and it's built to last. You can also look for office products that are certified by United States Ergonomics.
Once you've identified and purchased furniture and ergonomic products that match your company's needs, know how to put all the pieces together and create an ergonomically ideal workstation. Don't neglect the importance of items like keyboards and mice, and monitor, laptop and document stands.
How to Choose a Supplier
There are many factors that go into choosing the right supplier, and before committing, any good procurement pro should first do their homework. Get to know the ergonomics industry and its largest and most heralded manufacturers so you can speak intelligently when meeting with suppliers and negotiating deals. If possible, consult with peers working at similar-sized companies to get their opinion. Then follow this checklist of questions to ask before and during conversations with potential business partners:
- Does the supplier follow industry best practices?
- Do they have a good history and reputation?
- If you're buying for a growing small business, does the supplier offer trade credit that'll allow you to buy now and pay later?
- What kind of guarantees do they offer? Is the warranty for their products sufficient for your investment?
- Will the supplier, manufacturer or dealer allow you to test the products in a real-world setting?
- What kind of follow-up does the supplier offer? Do they provide installation and demonstrate how the products work?
It's important to keep in mind that ergonomics isn't a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Keeping an open line of communication with your workforce and those in charge of requisitioning ergonomically friendly furniture and supplies will be key to a workplace that keeps employees healthy, moving and productive.