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Home>Discover VersaTables> Ergonomics > Articles > Synergy and Ergonomics

Synergy and Ergonomics

In adopting a more ergonomically focused approach in your organization, one of your goals is to increase the synergy experienced in your workplace between your employees, management and office products, machines and equipment.

Understanding the concept of synergy and how it relates to the field of ergonomics can help you to consider ways to foster this important element in your institution.

Defining Synergy

At its Greek root, the word synergy finds its origin in the term “synergia,” meaning joint work and cooperative action.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “synergy” as:

“a mutually advantages conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts).”

In a more complete discussion and description, we can consider “synergy” to refer to the result that is achieved through the sum of all parts. Synergy is truly created with individual elements work in concert together to create an outcome that is more valuable that the total of what the individual input is.

To help understand this concept, consider an example from physics: Two horses can pull about 9,000 pounds. How many pounds can four horses pull? The mathematical answer is 18,000 pounds. However, four horses are actually capable of pulling over 30,000 pounds—this is how synergy makes a difference in productivity and output.

Another example, more relevant to the business world, comes from the legendary former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welsh. Welsh sought to create an actively integrated culture of diversity in his organization. To accomplish this he not only hired and promoted extremely diverse groups of people, but shared project ideas across distinct departments and business labels within his company. He described the synergistic outcome of this approach:

“Integrated diversity means the drawing together of our thirteen different businesses by sharing ideas, by finding multiple applications for technological advancements, and by moving people across businesses to provide fresh perspective and to develop broad-based experience. Integrated diversity gives us a company that is considerably greater than the sum of its parts.”

Achieving Synergy with Ergonomics

Ergonomically enhanced products and procedures allow for increased efficiency, productivity and creativity among employees. When physical and mental energies are not devoted to combating muscle fatigue and stress, those energies can be devoted to innovation and design instead.

Organizations that actively focus on implementing an ergonomic culture into their workplace report great productivity gains.

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