You’ve heard the term “ergonomics” and how important it is to employee health and safety, but what does it really mean? “Ergonomics” doesn’t only refer to your keyboard’s shapely new figure—or to your own new figure when you wear that back brace to lift boxes. Ergonomics is also a science that designs items for the safest, most efficient human use. In the workplace, this means arranging workstations and creating work conditions that put less strain on the body. For business owners and managers, ergonomics is also a tool to prevent employee injury.
According to OSHA, improper ergonomics is the primary cause of severe workplace injuries. OSHA also states that ergonomic issues are common in jobs that require “repetitive, forceful, or prolonged exertions of the hands; frequent or heavy lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying of heavy objects; and prolonged awkward postures.” Leading the pack of injuries promoted by incorrect ergonomics: musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, which are the main cause of workers’ compensation claims among office workers. Because these injuries may not be readily apparent and may worsen over time, affected employees may be slow to notice discomfort before it becomes a major health problem. Such injuries cost employers millions of dollars in medical costs and lost employee productivity.
So what can be done to combat the physical strain caused by improper ergonomics? Some employers may benefit from an independent audit of the company’s ergonomics needs, which will tailor suggestions for improvement to each employee’s workstation. With or without an auditor’s recommendations, employers should equip workers with the tools necessary to perform their jobs with ease. These tools may range from easy-touch staplers to brighter office lights.
Proper training is also important to promote ergonomics and to reduce injuries. Employers should develop ergonomically correct procedures for each job and should incorporate those procedures into their company’s safety program and employee handbook. Employees should be taught how to ergonomically perform their duties, how to recognize actions that may expose them to injury, and how to identify the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders.
With the right tools and training, effective ergonomic work conditions can lead to higher productivity, decreased risk of illness and injury, and increased worker contentment. Investing in ergonomic equipment and training will reap the reward of happier employees and reduced workers’ compensation claims.
To the relief of consumers, a large percentage of United States companies are bringing their call centers back to American shores. Many have found it difficult to interact with call center operators, as the operators often find themselves easily confused by slang and vernacular used by native English speakers. Because of this disconnect in communication between caller and operator, callers are becoming less likely to use information or help hotlines and often ending their phone calls more bewildered than they began– without the help, clarification, or instructions they were seeking in the first place.
In response to the widespread disappointment from American consumers, companies are bringing their call centers back home meaning ease in communication as well as an increase in jobs available across America. While companies have previously found it very profitable to outsource jobs, the payoffs are now nowhere near as high as they used to be. Inflation, as well as a rise in the pay expected in foreign countries, has pushed the cost of outsourcing to popular “call center countries” such as India and the Philippines through the roof. Once companies began to take the cost and quality of service provided through their call centers into consideration, many began to bring their business back home to the States.
Another bonus for American firms seeking a solution to their call-center dilemma: they are now able to contribute further to strengthening the American economy. Experts currently estimate that hiring someone in Nebraska to work at a call center costs only 15% more than hiring an employee in India. Take into account any potential tax-breaks the company may receive for hiring new (American) employees, as well as the impact that employee could have on their local economy, and the benefits of an American-run call center begin stacking up.
American consumers are voicing their opinion about their feelings about outsourcing customer service overseas. Reports have been conducted that have found customers expressed more favorable feedback when they perceived a call center in the U.S.
A few facts about American Call Centers:
- Consumer satisfaction is 1/5 higher when calls are (or are perceived) to be handled within the United States.
- Consumers are more likely to have their problems solved when the person handling their call can understand the issue and properly articulate the solution.
- The opportunity cost of employing operators in other countries is beginning to far outweigh the benefit.
- U.S. companies are looking for cost-effective, economy-building labor solutions across the board. Housing their call centers at home, rather than abroad, brings more employment opportunities for unskilled laborers and strengthens the lower classes.
While outsourcing call centers may have not been a viable option in the long run, companies are still looking for cost-effective options for their businesses. Human resource outsourcing, such as benefits outsourcing, employee and labor relations, employee leasing, government compliance, HR audits, HR consulting, HR management, payroll services, and recruitment services, are becoming popular ways for companies to save time and money, allowing them to bring you better products and services for less.
The term “audit” can make anyone nervous, particularly at tax time. GHRO, however, offers Human Resources Audits to ensure that your organization is meeting all of its legal obligations. From lunch breaks and safety posters to compliance with HIPPA, personnel forms requirements and even I-9 forms, we can reduce your risk.
Our audits provide you with a comprehensive review of all your HR practices, along with recommendations to maintain compliance with the country’s ever-changing legal rules and regulations. GRHO also provides Human Resources transactional services such as:
- Maintenance of personnel files
- Address and dependent changes
- Benefit changes
- Medical files
If you want to get out of the record keeping business, call GHRO today.