Ergonomics and Fun Theory

At our ergo conference in June, we heard talks about using fun to motivate people’s behaviour. Presenters showed videos of musical stairs; most people chose to climb the stairs that were painted like a piano and made sounds as they climbed, rather than use the escalator that was right beside it. They showed people running across a field to deposit waste into a bin labelled “deepest trash bin in the world”. This wasn’t a blooper reel; these were real people in the real world. People like to have fun. For some inspiration, check out this video.

How can we use fun theory in workplace ergonomics? For starters….

In our training, we’ve always used games – we use an ergo “bingo” as an icebreaker, and we’ve been working on a new version of ergo jeopardy. We’ve been known to toss candies or “ergo bucks” to people who participate in discussions or volunteer for activities. We use bathroom scales to allow people to test their strength in different postures.

In a training environment, it’s fairly easy to make things fun. People come out of the workplace for training; they expect to be entertained, and we can rise to that challenge.

In the everyday work environment, making things fun takes a bit more effort, and a lot more creativity. But if you’re trying to change behaviour, it seems like a theory worth applying! Here are some ideas:

  • Posters

Do you have a caricature artist somewhere on staff? (You might be surprised – artists are hiding everywhere in plain sight.) Encourage people to use ergo techniques, by using cartoon images of real-life managers modelling the techniques you’re encouraging. Alternatively, make a fun tik-tok video and post it on the e-bulletin screen!

  • Floor footprintsdance footprints

Directional information doesn’t have to be boring! Follow the example shown at right and add in a few dance steps! Sooo fun!

  • Communication

Is it taking longer than you expected to implement something? Make light of an uncontrollable situation while providing daily updates on the status of the solution….the lift table has been ordered, the order is being processed by Sally,….Track the entire implementation process as it moves from one step to the next.

  • Stickers

We love stickers! “Ergo-approved!” “Ergo Work-in-Progress”

  • Ergo thought of the week

We post at least one ergonomically-related joke or riddle every month! (Sign up to purchase a year’s worth of awareness content, here.)

  • Run an ergo contest

Even in the digital age, people enjoy word search and crossword puzzles. (A variety of these are included in our awareness content package.) You can also get very creative with contests using apps such as “kahoot!”, and in-person games.

Have another idea? We’d love to hear how you’ve applied fun theory in your workplace!

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