When you control the environment in which your employees work, your teams will stay comfortable and focused. And when your employees are comfortable and focused, they work harder, are less vulnerable to distractions, enjoy their jobs more, and generally bring more productivity and fewer errors to the workplace.
Controlling the environment starts with the equipment you choose, especially if your employees will be seated at a desk or standing behind the controls of a forklift for the duration of an eight-hour shift. Small details like the incline of a chair or the position of the operators hands and wrists can cause a cascade of effects over time; get it right, and your employee will thrive and accomplish more over time. Get it wrong by just a few centimeters, and the employee may accomplish less and even suffer from stress-related injuries.
But ergonomics and productivity extend beyond posture and position. And one of the damaging environmental problems in the workplace can’t always be seen and may be very difficult to control: temperature.

Temperature in the Workplace
If your employees are padding around in a quiet indoor office setting all day long and you have the budget and resources to control the workplace climate, temperature isn’t a huge concern; just set the thermostat and walk away. But in the materials handling workplace, temperature control may not be so simple. Keep these tips in mind:

When workers complain, listen.
If your workers are cold, don’t just assume they’ll adjust during the day. Even if their bodies do adapt eventually, this may take a few hours or a few weeks. Make sure they have the protective gear they need, including gloves, coats, and dry footwear.

Choose the right equipment.
If your materials handling workplace is unprotected from the elements, make sure the same does not apply to your lifting equipment. Consider heated or enclosed cabins, which may cost only slightly more and may add immeasurable value over the long term.

Don’t wait until problems occur.
Don’t let your workers suffer from dehydration or heat exhaustion before taking action when the workplace becomes overheated or when workers are exposed to direct sun. Provide breaks, shelter, and access to water before the environment becomes dangerous.

Protect thresholds.
Closely monitor areas in which employees move between hot and cold environments. For example, in cold weather, don’t allow unprotected employees to move rapidly back and forth between overheated indoor and frigid outdoor environments.
For more on how to protect your teams from injury, stress and lost productivity, reach out to the ergonomics and materials handling experts at Liftow.