Fatigue management is all about figuring out how to keep people comfortable—how to keep them from becoming so fatigued that their productivity dips. Do standing mats make a difference? Absolutely. One of the best ways to combat fatigue is to install an antifatigue mat where the person is stationed. Ergonomic matting is specifically designed to support individuals who are on their feet for prolonged periods of time, thereby reducing bodily stress. This, in turn, decreases risk of injury and oftentimes heightens productivity. Framed this way, ergonomic mats are inexpensive investments that yield valuable rewards.
According to Ergomomics.com, “The term ‘ergonomics’ is derived from two Greek words: ‘ergon,’ meaning work, and ‘nomoi,’ meaning natural laws.” And according to Active Living Solutions, ergonomics, at its root, is the way individuals interact with the machinery or appliances within their workplace environment: “The purpose of ergonomics is to assess the interaction, or relationship, between each component for determining optimum performance. Ergonomics therefore examines the relationship between three elements: the individual, the equipment, the environment.” Many of us have an 8-hour workday during which we are expected to be productive. While this is a reasonable expectation, it can be a difficult one to realize if workers are subjected to poor flooring conditions—especially floors which don’t support bodily comfort. Combine this with the fact that workers, on average, spend 56.8% of their workdays standing (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), and you get the picture: comfort mats, like rubber standing mats or rubber floor pads, are more important than ever. Poor fatigue management will seriously hurt any business. If experience itself doesn’t already tell you this, then the study of ergonomics does.
The first step towards proper fatigue management is understanding the difference between fatigue and tiredness. As Dr. Karin Olson from the University of Alberta notes, “It’s important to recognize the difference between tiredness and fatigue, because fatigue is a marker that the body is not able to keep up. The onset of the manifestation of fatigue, particularly if these are not normal states for you, should be taken seriously.” What Dr. Olson suggests is that tiredness is a normal part of life—and that fatigue isn’t. We become tired after being active for most of the day. I mean, just think about the common expression for sleepiness: I’m tired. But fatigue, as Dr. Olson states, should be taken seriously. Fatigue is a constant pain, wearing you down as you sit or stand unnaturally or prolongedly. Physically, fatigue often manifests as discomfort in your feet, ankles, legs, knees, and back. Fatigue management is essential. An antifatigue mat is the standard way by which many business owners conduct fatigue management. If your workplace doesn’t have antifatigue matting, this is likely your signal to get started. Here are two important questions to keep in mind as you consider fatigue management—like installing ergonomic mats—for your workplace:
What Does an Anti-Fatigue Mat Do?
An anti-fatigue mat reduces the chances that you’ll become overly fatigued from standing or walking for prolonged periods of time. Oftentimes made of rubber, antifatigue matting is great for combatting fatigue. According to SafetXChange.com:
“Workers suffering from fatigue—physical and mental—are not only less productive and more prone to illness but also more distracted and thus more likely to be involved in a safety incident. For example, studies show that fatigued workers are more than twice as likely to experience health-related lost productive time. One study found that 37.9% of U.S. workers experienced fatigue, costing companies approximately $136 billion in lost productivity.”
Of course, you were considering workplace fatigue as a cause of lost productivity. But this data shows you, perhaps, that worker fatigue may be more costly to your business than you previously thought. Chances are—without a proper antifatigue mat—your business’s losses are a part of that $136 billion in lost productivity.
Fatigue needs to be taken seriously. Its consequences, such as pain and discomfort, are physical manifestations that should be alarming—not just financially, but morally, too. In the U.S., by law, employers must provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees. Fatigue management—like the installation of an antifatigue mat—may not seem so important; but when you consider some of its potential consequences, preventative measures seem much more appealing. Here are some of the many possible ailments that stem from long periods of standing without the proper anti-fatigue tiles:
Swollen or Painful Feet: Prolonged standing can negatively affect circulation, causing liquid retention in the feet and legs. Bunions: A deformity of the big toe—bunions can be extremely painful. Plantar Fasciitis: This happens when the tissue on the sole of the foot becomes inflamed—a common affliction in people who stand or walk for prolonged periods of time. Achilles Tendinitis: An inflammation of the tendons located on the back of the ankle and the top of the heel—this injury is painful and happens due to overuse of the tendons. Knee Problems: A sharp or throbbing pain when standing or walking—this problem manifests in many ways. Varicose Veins: According to the National Library of Medicine, “Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and sometimes painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of blood.” This tends to happen in legs after the body remains standing in a single position for too long. Lower Back Pain: Like knee problems, this problem manifests in many ways. Poor Posture: Poor posture often arises when people augment their natural resting positions to match unnatural environmental conditions. Poor posture can lead to issues such as sore muscles, spinal curvature, blood vessel constriction, and nerve constriction. Altogether: Now, if you’re still wondering, “What does an anti-fatigue mat do?” With the information we’ve just given you, perhaps the better question is this: What doesn’t an anti-fatigue mat do?
Do Standing Mats Make a Difference?
Standing mats definitely make a difference, especially if they are made of rubber. A rubber antifatigue mat greatly reduces the likelihood that the person will become overly fatigued. Standing mats are important to a worker’s health, as well as the business’s productivity. At this point, it should be clear that fatigue management is crucial. Employing padded floor tiles in your workplace is a worthwhile investment. There is, though, a best anti-fatigue mat for each specific application. Some ergo mats are specifically designed for residential use, and they work well as such. But, even though such anti-fatigue flooring is highly durable, an antifatigue mat designed for the home will not work as well as cushioned flooring designed to withstand the harsh conditions of industrial environments. According to About.com, “[Foam rubber mats (typical cushion floor mats)] are more durable and thereby better suited to more industrial environments. Again a denser foam rubber is better than a cushy one. Foam rubber offers good support and good anti-fatigue.” Rubber floor pads designed for heavier-duty settings are a great method of fatigue management—reducing worker discomfort and productivity loss. Using an anti-fatigue floor mat is a practical, as well as economical way of conducting fatigue management. Consider a rubber cushion pad, which is available in many styles, including runners, mats, and interlocking tiles. In any case, companies like Rubber-Cal often offer multiple designs and styles of anti-fatigue floor mats, maximizing the chance that you’ll find what you specifically need. With Rubber-Cal, fatigue management is made easy.
Fatigue Management: A Rubber Antifatigue Mat is the Best Solution