When Going Cheap is Actually Expensive

Budgets are tight, expenses are to be slashed, so the question is where should you cut to make the tough decisions. You may be asking yourself … In what areas can dollars be trimmed without doing damage to the bottom line? The consequences of poor short-term decision are typically felt only years later.

More bang for your buck

We all know that it ends up costing more than we ever expected when we try to get by with the cheap option. Value-engineering which views “a chair is just a chair” may result in a poor fit with employees, and a poor value for the organization. “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett.

In reality, you’ll probably end up paying much more in human resources costs than you realize. Chances are you’re seeping loss in these areas:

1) Turnover and replacement of staff members

Employee see their workspace as a reflection of your commitment to them. Unappreciated, under-valued employees may quickly leave for an employer with better furnishings.

Do you know what it costs in your industry to hire and train a new employee? It is estimated that for a minimum wage ($8.05 in Arizona) employee it costs $3,500 to hire a replacement worker due to turnover. (Source: Society of Human Resource Management)

2) Lost productivity and revenue

When facing discomfort workers will chose to find ways to relieve a poorly designed workstation. Uncomfortable employees tend to exhibit behaviors such as; reduced efficiency, more frequent breaks, longer break times, greater time away from work tasks, and a continual search for relief.

Pain is an extremely powerful distraction to productive work. Employee will simply go home early, call-out sick, display absenteeism, or merely go-through-the motions at work.

3) Over-utilization of healthcare services

When pain strikes, some employees with health insurance coverage enter the healthcare system without a second thought.  Consider the employee who wakes up with tremendous neck pain. Thinking this is a true medical emergency, she visits the hospital emergency room where she’s prescribed muscle relaxers and narcotic pain medication. Follow-up visits with several weeks of physical therapy, work-time lost, finally provide a measure of relief. Source of pain, the computer workstation setup.

In another case, an employee with low back pain engages a pain management physician to manage his chronic condition. It’s not unusual to find employees turning to ongoing chiropractic care, and other alternatives to alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort. Today’s workforce is in poor shape—previous motor vehicle accidents, chronic back conditions, joint pain, fibromyalgia, obesity, and poor physical conditioning are common among employees leading to visits with:

  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Emergency rooms
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Pain management physicians

Conclusion

Poorly designed, and ill-fitting equipment leaves workers exposed to stressors that result in cumulative micro-trauma. It’s a wise use of money to invest in an adjustable, workstation in order to take care of your people and their health—you’re paying for it anyway. Better to invest a little up front, to avoid costly results later.

At Performance Ergonomics, we offer cost-effective injury risk management solutions. Contact us today and we’ll help you evaluate the return-on-investment for ergonomics.