July 2017: Case Study – 595,260,706 Observations, Dependable Results


This study’s data (below), reminds us of an earlier study by a university research team at an Insurance Brokerage Risk Management firm where they measured the impact of an earlier version of ErgoSuite on their employees using computers at least one hour each day.

The company’s Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) was surprised and delighted after validating the results of their safety team’s project of seeking ways to empower and protect employees.   A later Safety Online article chronicled their project which exceeded maximum expectations for risk reduction and additionally produced a sustained new 13.4% increase in Work Accuracy:

If anyone had told me that making simple changes to the way people use computers could lead to a 13% improvement, I’d have dismissed it out-of-hand as not credible,” stated LeAnn Orabona, Human Resource Manager, New Century Global Inc.”  But seeing is believing.  We measured the results, and anyone can see the difference in the amount of work we’re completing, and you can feel the difference in the positive attitudes around the office.

I Am At My Best When I Am Comfortable and Rested

Below, we’re looking at an actual ErgoSuite Enterprise chart where we’ve chosen to utilize Least Squares Linear Regression Lines (trend lines) to reliably model extensive underlying data’s movement over time.

This chart summarizes a comprehensive twelve month research project completed last month, analyzing 595,260,706 keystrokes and mousing seconds belonging to a large population of office workers including a diverse spectrum of job functions.

The live chart illustrates the achievable efficacy of Behavioral Office Ergonomics for reducing fatigue, increasing comfort, effecting actual behavior change and, yes, productivity improvement – which any organization of any size can sustainably realize.

When we properly empower employees, who can then meaningfully share in the responsibility of their comfort and safety and learn to automatically pace themselves while working in more neutral postures, then they will fatigue at a slower rate, be more comfortable, work at a lower risk profile, have fewer injuries and produce a higher output at a higher quality.

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We’re data-driven people at SmartErgo and so in respect of the data and outstanding results, we’ll keep the commentary brief and simply report on the details here:

  • We’re specifically examining (1) Behavioral Coaching Cues, (2) Cue Compliance which is a measure of an employee’s adherence with behavioral coaching cues supporting an organizational best practice, (3) Fatigue objectively quantified, (4) Keystrokes and (5) Minutes Keying.

  • In this analysis, ErgoSuite is modeling actual data and not forecasting future trends.

  • A key understanding here (discussed in more detail below) is that the behavioral coaching cues are only required when an employee’s “recovery time as a function of duration and repetition” is inadequate (high risk). As they learn to automatically pace themselves then they are coached less by ErgoSuite Coach which knows this.

  • Of course, raw data is never as smooth as the trend lines because it ebbs and flows over time traversing seasonality such as reduced activity during holidays, however, the trends above are clear and reliable. Linear regression is an invaluable tool widely used throughout mathematics and business for modeling trends from complex data sets.

  • Each metric in the chart is indexed to its initial value, for comparability, showing its trend (growth) over the period. For example, seeing the metric Fatigue decrease from an index of 100.5 down to 96.3 confirms that objectively quantified Fatigue has been reduced by 4.2% over the period after taking into consideration the entire ordered data set and not just the beginning and ending values. It does not mean that the employee population’s fatigue was over 100% at the start.

  • The overall Behavioral Coaching Cue Compliance for this specific population of employees was solidly within the 90%-100% range throughout the period (see chart below).

  • The average number of data observations ‘per employee’ underlying ‘each’ trend line is more than 350,000 over the twelve month period.

  • This employee population spans the spectrum of low, medium and higher computer-usage. In addition, we know from other collected live data analyses that when employees develop new good ergonomic behaviors at work, these learned behaviors carry on after work when using the computer at home.

  • Work Output was up over the period from an index of 94.9 to 98.9 which is a 4 percent improvement over the twelve months for these new ErgoSuite users. We must be clear that an Output increase of 4% per year will not happen year to year every year as your employees are not robotic. It is, however, extremely well-received by clients to see Output move into a new zone and sustain there due to ErgoSuite use.

  • Work Accuracy significantly improved over the twelve months we know because the Fatigue Indicator is a measure of how often employees adjust their own work. The less one’s work requires adjustment, the higher the quality achieved in fewer passes. In simple terms, employees become more accurate when they are comfortable and restful.

  • Contemporaneous with the behavioral, fatigue and productivity improvements, employee work time edged up slightly (keying minutes) which was not only tolerable but also was expected as employees learned to more optimally work through pacing themselves effectively and working in more neutral postures, no different than how a marathon runner working in good form and pacing themselves can manage the full race and do it more comfortably and at lower risk.

    How well do you work when you’re tired compared to when you’re fresh and rested?
Good Tools Facilitate Good Ergonomics and Good Economics

It’s quite clear in the chart how; while output is increasing over time, behavioral coaching cues are decreasing over the same time period. Here is solid irrefutable evidence of new good ergonomic behaviors forming. Employees are not “being coached less because they are doing less”. In fact, employees are producing more within a lower risk profile.

A key understanding here is that employees learn to automatically take frequent short microbreaks while working to the extent that ErgoSuite Coach recognizes this, thus reducing its operant conditioning requirement to provide coaching cues to meet the organizational best practice or standard.

Another key “take-away” here is that we can see in the data how “when a person learns to pace themselves automatically and therefore they fatigue at a lower rate, they produce higher output at a higher quality as a result”. This is a key in understanding one of the ROI values in using ErgoSuite.

In fact, when you know the salaries of the people involved, you can precisely calculate the productivity impact of ErgoSuite to a high degree of accuracy rather than guess or hope that it will occur.

Good Data Is Integral In Good Decisions

Within this study, when looking at a prioritized Overall Risk Report analyzing current risk for the entire company, we can immediately see how more than 99% of empowered employees have solved their own issues and improved their workstations and their behaviors – leaving only the small subset remaining who should be the prioritized receivers of a professional touch from EH&S.

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Very common with properly deployed ErgoSuite, employee utilization of the behavioral coaching cues in this study is consistently in the 90% to 100% range throughout the period for this population of employees. In simple terms, employees are utilizing ErgoSuite Coach’s real-time behavioral coaching and reinforcement cues more than 9 out of 10 times offered.

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With Patience You Can Consistently Drive Solid Outcomes

Indeed, you absolutely and effortlessly can objectively and conclusively measure both risk levels and behavior change in office ergonomics and we’re not referring to surveys, semi-annual assessments or other subjective anecdotal data.

In addition, you certainly can empower your employees and effectively include them in taking responsibility for their behaviors and sharing in the development of a more comfortable, lower risk and more productive experience at work.

Of course, real behavior change can not be achieved from throwing a training course in front of someone and asking them survey-like assessment questions once or twice a year afterwards with some follow-up emails. Almost all of our clients have dearly paid for that education before seeking us out. Some have even earnestly set up elaborate high-energy group training sessions but have later learned that after the event then employees will return to their life, their work, their boss, their stress and their long-lived prior behaviors and the event becomes another expensive New Year’s resolution.

There is no panacea here. It all happens steadily and gradually over time which precisely tracks well-known models of human behavior change as taught by Applied Behavioral Analysis. There is no perfectly-straight day-to-day or month-to-month progression of behavior change as this process involves a complex system of computer software, artificial intelligence and human beings. For each employee, there are days with two steps forward and there are days with one step backwards. This is the real world of effective sustainable long-term behavior change.

The only way these new behaviors become sustainable is when the employee learns to change their behavior where they can automatically pace themselves without having to focus on it. This is no different from how a musician uses the coaching of a metronome while developing their rhythm. This is the ideal time to positively reinforce neutral postures and awareness training.

People’s capacity to learn new behaviors will vary from time to time based on many factors, however, the progression of objective data in the above chart is quite clear and significant representing how these employees are learning to automatically set their pace or beat while working with a computer for certain. ErgoSuite Coach understands Relapse Theory quite well and gently helps employees through those times with special care.

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When employees can finally automate good ergonomic behaviors including neutral postures and pacing, they are more comfortable and produce more at a higher quality of work and lower risk profile.

Your ErgoSuite: Corporate-Grade Next Generation Office Ergonomics Software

  • eLearning Ergonomics Training
  • Real-time Behavioral Training
  • Microbreak & Postural Coaching
  • Workstation Assessment
  • Postural Assessment
  • Discomfort Assessment
  • Reporting and Analysis
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Risk Modeling, Trend Analysis
  • Risk Prioritization
  • Ergonomics Case Management
  • Business & Safety Logic Engines
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Centralized Management
  • Nearly 400 Risk Metrics
  • 100% Customizable
  • Unlimited Scalability
  • Simple Implementation