Did you see the recent CBS News report about how one major company is dealing with the aging population? It’s no secret – the media tells us about this all of the time – that the population of the U.S., as well as other major industrial countries – is growing older. What this means is that many businesses and corporations must get serious about how to accommodate the older worker, and they can do that with smart ergonomics.
Well, that’s just what the BMW company experimented with. Harvard Business Review called it “How BMW is Diffusing the Demographic Time Bomb.” CBS reporter Richard Roth went behind the scenes to discover just what BMW had up its sleeve.
Older workers have been shown to have greater patience and skill, based on years of experience, than younger workers, but they also have less flexibility, less strength, and diminished vision.
At one of its German plants, BMW took one entire assembly line and staffed it solely with older workers. Then they told the workers to let them know “how to make it better.” And make it better they did. From suspended magnifying glasses to specially designed shoes and floors, to adapting a hairdresser’s chair for sitting at the assembly line, the older workers found numerous ways to improve their work place.
Other changes included re-designing tools for easier grip, installing computer screens with larger type, and putting in “stretch bars” so the workers could take much needed, and properly therapeutic, stretch breaks. This latter innovation not only proved helpful during work, but the employees reported having more energy when they went home.
All in all, BMW made some 70 small changes that cost less than $50,000. On that one line staffed by older workers production went up 7%, absenteeism dropped below the plant average, and this assembly line’s defect rate dropped to zero.
What this experiment shows is that with creative ergonomics even older workers can be as productive, if not more so, than their younger counter parts. Any older worker in any type of job who must write can benefit from creative ergonomics, too. As mentioned above, decreased flexibility is one of the problems older workers face, and this often is manifested in the hand where arthritis of the fingers sets in. Lack of muscle strength also contributes to problems with writing as a person ages.
My revolutionary ergonomic UGLee Pen has been especially designed to counteract those problems of aging. It is light-weight, uses a revolutionary material that allows the pen to grip you instead of you having to use force to hold on to the pen, and the ink is the smoothest flowing on the market. This is the perfect ergonomic pen for any age.