I've learned that when doing office ergonomic assessments there's a common misconception that you can only offer your clients the "typical" office ergonomic assessment.
Well, this couldn't be further from the truth. As an Ergonomist, I offer many more services that fall outside of the typical 'one-on-one' ergonomics assessment box. However, I do think that learning how to do a quality and effective one-on-one office ergonomic assessment is the foundation you need to explore other service opportunities! The thing that you need to know as a consultant is that the more services that can serve your clients, then the more potential for revenue generation!
So, with that let's dive into this post where I share the juicy details of the other services that your clients need, want, and desire!
These are most common (aka stereotypical) types of assessments that people think of when they think of ergonomics. You know, it's when you come into an office and you see just one person? Yes that's it. In terms of time, the actual assessment may take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
Some companies may use these for every employee, others may only use them for compensable and non-compensable injuries or even only for new-hire orientations. There's a lot of ways to use these.
But, here's the thing... Most companies that I work with today simply don't have a budget for one-on-one ergonomic assessments for ALL of their staff. It could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars for an assessment for every employee. I'll go into details of how to serve your clients this way. However, what I'll be sharing with you in this blogpost is that you can still strategically leverage full one-on-one office ergonomic assessments.
These are the most costly of all ergonomic services. Why? Because they simply just take more time, and we all know that we must charge at a rate that is reasonable, we think is valuable, and that we are satisfied with.
In my humble opinion these are some of the most impactful of all service offerings because you not only identify where the ergonomic risk is, adjust the workstation on the spot, but you also write them a personal report with specific advice and long-term planning, including writing recommendations.
So it takes an investment not only on your time (travel, time to assess, and time to write the report), but it also takes a monetary commitment from the employer. But here's the thing. Most employers think that this is the only ergonomic services that are available. I think this holds many workplaces from pursuing ergonomics for their employees because it's simply out of their budgets. Of course, that's not true!
One-on-one ergonomic assessments with no report are also a valuable experience for the employee and slightly more cost-effective than full office ergonomic assessments with a report.
Keep in mind you also need to include travel time and time for the actual assessment in your price, however because you don't need to spend time writing the report and researching vendors, it will require you to take less time!
Another service is that you can offer is Training. Just like the one-on-one service offering, presentations that educate staff on how to improve their ergonomic setup is something that many workplaces desire. Just a head's up, that there's a huge fallacy here that ergonomics training will solve all of the workplace's challenges - including workers' compensation costs, aches/pains, retention, hirings, and absenteeism.
Although training can certainly help, it is not a silver bullet nor just a check in the box for for ergonomics. Rather, it should be part of an organization's comprehensive health, safety, and wellness strategy!
This can be a really valuable approach for employers with just a small ergonomic budget because it gives a lot of 'bang for their buck'. Compliance and long-term results are not as positive compared to one-on-one assessments. But, there's a lot of opportunity to combine Education with other service offerings to boost employer results in a manner that is more cost-effective for them, and will take up much less of your time!
Things to include in your training:
Many organizations will handle the majority of ergonomic concerns in-house. This means that either a Human Resource representative, Occupational Health and Safety, or even someone else who has the desire to do this will learn the basics of how to do an office ergonomic assessment.
While they might lack the expertise to do complex ergonomic assessments, they would likely be able to handle the majority of concerns in the office. Also with an internal person to manage all aspects of ergonomics including: who received an ergonomics assessment, who has complaints/discomfort, and how it relates to other HR issues is incredibly valuable.
This is how you fit into the situation: You train their in-house ergonomics representative and then consult on more complex issues and ergonomic planning. Training-the-training is great for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship for both you and the organization!
I like surveys because you shift from merely selling an organization one of your services to becoming a trusted alley. The reason is that many organizations know that they need help, but may not have the budget to give everyone full one-on-one ergonomic assessments.
That's where surveys fill the gap. After delivering a discomfort survey (or other survey that would fit in with your goal) you would identify where the discomfort 'hotspots' are then make a plan. It could be that you deliver one-on-one assessments only to those people who have either suffered a work-related musculoskeletal injury or score high on self-reported discomfort. Or perhaps you offer that with training and quick-consults (which is my favourite offerings and I'll talk about what this means in the section to come!).
Surveys are really practical to form a long-term relationship with organizations that you want to work with. Instead of offering full one-on-one office assessments to their staff which you may be able to get a substantial amount of money from (at once), you become their trusted ergonomic resource whenever the need arises. Trust me when I say that the former is the way to go to make a mutually beneficial, rewarding, and profitable relationship... for years and years!
This is where the workplace calls you in on a particular ergonomics related matter. Usually this doesn't necessarily fall into one of the other areas, however the advice that you offer can be very important. Also letting your clients know that you provide services in this area before an incident happens can certainly help them (and you) in the long-run.
This is one of my favourite things to consult with employers with. There's so many reasons why a company would want to reach out to an ergonomics expert. Usually it's because they are about to make a BIG equipment order and they want to make sure that "they don't blow it" - meaning that they flippantly purchase ill-fitting equipment that causes aches, pains, or discomfort.
One of my favourite sayings: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" really fits here. You can simply apply ergonomics criteria to whatever piece of equipment that they are interested in purchasing - chairs, sit-stand desks, or monitor arms. You name it. There is so much potential here.
One last thing on this topic. I hope that you are starting to see the potential here for your services. If you've just advised a company on purchasing a certain type of chair (or other piece of equipment), there is incredible potential to pitch or make a business case for one of your other services - office ergonomic assessments or trainings!
As an ergonomics professional you have an uncanny ability to understand how a person's injury relates to their job tasks, in that if it's safe or un-safe for them to return to their original job or if their job requires a modification.
Companies may request your services for complex return-to-work cases whether or not they're compensable injuries. I've had the opportunity to consult in both scenarios. It could be that the employee requires a different type of mouse, keyboard, chair, or desk that you would identify based on their functional capacities (usually from the injured worker's Doctor/Treating Practitioner) combined with an assessment of their workstation.
With all the moving parts these can be complex. However it is worthwhile to build the relationship with employer and gives you an opportunity to see if they would be a good match to your other services.
One of my favourite service offerings is a combination of services. And, one of the most popular that I offer my clients is a 30 minute ergonomic training presentation combined with a brief (approx. 5 min/participant) ergonomic check-ups to ensure that there are no MAJOR risks. If the client needs MORE help than the 5 minutes than the expectation is that you would come back to do a more thorough ergonomic assessment. Of course you would clarify these points prior to the start of the work.
Another promising combination of services is Employee Discomfort Surveys to target the degree of consultation. It could be that the most severe symptoms require a full one-on-one office ergonomic assessment, however the remainder of staff may only require a training presentation. Another option would be information pamphlets or a training presentation (plus ergonomic check-ups) for all other staff.
There are so many options here and you can get creative as you like to serve your clients!
If you've read up to this point then I know that you have a burning desire to get started and learn about office ergonomic assessments, consultations, and trainings. And good news for you is that I have an ultra-exclusive offer just for you. In the upcoming week (hint, hint) I'm going to finally open the doors for enrolment for my transformative course on how to do one-on-one office ergonomic assessments, the Ergonomics Blueprint. You can sign up to the waitlist here, where I'll share with you exclusive updates and I'll also let you know when I open enrolment because ... I only open it a few times per year!
Why would I do such a thing (open enrolment so few times)... well the easy answer is that I have a vested interest in my student's success. Not only with learning the course material, but applying what they learn to get their first paying client! My students have been getting awesome results and I want to keep it that way!
Interested in hearing more? Well you can sign up to the WAITLIST RIGHT HERE! Can't wait to tell you about this amazing course that's been getting my students awesome results! 🤗 🤩
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