9 Common workplace modifications for all types of office jobs

Discover the top 9 essential workplace modifications that can benefit employees of all types of jobs.

From ergonomic chairs to assistive technology, this comprehensive guide provides an explanation of each modification and how it can improve your work experience.

Whether you are living with an injury, illness or disability, or just want to optimise your workspace, these modifications can make a big difference.

Ergonomic furniture

Ergonomic furniture is designed to provide comfort and support to the body while working.

Here are three common ergonomic furniture modifications you might like to try:

1. Ergonomic chairs

Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the natural curve of the spine and reduce pressure on the back. They can also improve posture and reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. There are different types of ergonomic chairs, including kneeling chairs, saddle chairs, and ball chairs. When choosing an ergonomic chair, consider how easy they are to adjust, lumbar support, and seat depth.

2. Standing desks

Standing desks allow employees to alternate between sitting and standing while working. They can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. There are different types of standing desks, including fixed-height desks, adjustable desks, and desk converters. When using a standing desk, it is essential to maintain proper posture and wear comfortable shoes.

3. Footrests

Footrests can reduce pressure on the feet and legs while sitting. They can also improve circulation and reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. There are different types of footrests, including adjustable footrests, rocking footrests, and massaging footrests. When using a footrest, make sure you adjust it to the correct height and position.

Assistive technology

Assistive technology is designed to help employees living with disabilities perform their job duties in a way that works best for them. Some common assistive technology modifications you can try include:

4. Speech recognition software

Speech recognition software allows employees to dictate text instead of typing. It can be beneficial for employees with a physical disability or those who type slowly. There are different types of speech recognition software, including Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Windows Speech Recognition, and Google Docs Voice Typing. When using speech recognition software, speak clearly and train the software to recognise your voice.

5. Screen readers

Screen readers read the text on the screen aloud for employees with visual impairments. They can also help employees with a learning disability or those who prefer auditory learning. There are different types of screen readers, including JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. When using a screen reader, adjust the speed and volume to your preference.

6. Adaptive keyboards

Adaptive keyboards are designed for employees living with physical injuries or disability that affect their ability to type. They can include larger keys, alternative key layouts, or voice recognition. There are different types of adaptive keyboards, including IntelliKeys, BigKeys, and Keyguard. When using an adaptive keyboard, adjust it to your preference and practice using it.

Lighting and sound

Lighting and sound can affect your work environment and employee productivity. Some common lighting and sound workplace modifications available include:

7. Task lighting

Task lighting provides focused lighting for specific tasks, such as reading or writing. It can reduce eye strain and improve visibility. There are different types of task lighting, including desk lamps, floor lamps, and clip-on lamps. When using task lighting, position it correctly and adjust the brightness to your preference.

8. Noise-cancelling headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones reduce background noise and improve concentration. They can be beneficial for employees who work in noisy environments or have difficulty focusing. There are different types of noise-cancelling headphones, including over-ear headphones, in-ear headphones, and wireless headphones. When using noise-cancelling headphones, adjust the volume to a safe level and take breaks to prevent hearing damage.

9. White noise machines

White noise machines produce a constant background noise that can mask distracting sounds. They can be beneficial for employees who work in open-plan offices or have difficulty sleeping. There are different types of white noise machines, including portable machines, bedside machines, and office machines. When using a white noise machine, adjust the volume to a comfortable level and position it correctly.

If you’re living with an injury, illness or disability and need help identifying and implementing workplace modifications, DES providers like APM can help you out.

You can access this support throughout Australia at APM’s Disability Employment Services Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offices, as well as all other major cities.