Improve Worker Productivity with Anti-Fatigue Mats
Physically demanding professions in industries such as food service, healthcare, construction and facility maintenance require employees to stand on their feet for long periods of time, which can cause worker fatigue and other negative side effects. From aches and pains to decreased alertness, working in a challenging environment can put strain on an employee, as well as the organization’s bottom line.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the loss of productivity in a variety of work settings can often be attributed to worker aches and pains.  The estimated annual cost of fatigue and health-related productivity loss is in the U.S. is $136.4 billion. 
To help combat productivity loss, facilities should consider installing anti fatigue mats to provide a more comfortable environment for workers spending long hours on their feet.
What is Worker Fatigue and How Does it Effect a Company’s Bottom Line?
Fatigue is the body’s signal that rest is needed. But unfortunately for those who work long hours on their feet, rest isn’t always feasible. Worker fatigue can cause a variety of negative effects that could potentially damage a company’s bottom line, such as:
- Increased risk for illness and injury: Long hours of standing can result in sore feet, legs, knees or hips. The body also becomes fatigued from standing for long hours which can increase the risk of injuries and accidents. 
- Decreased alertness from worker fatigue: In addition to body aches and pains, workers can experience decreased alertness from worker fatigue. Fatigue directly affects people’s mental and physical ability to carry out simple tasks. It impairs mental illness , which can lead to dangerous errors.
- Cost from productivity loss: Employees experiencing aches and pains due to standing for long periods of time will likely not be able to perform at the highest level. According to a study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, fatigued workers lose about 5.6 hours of productivity per week, which equates to a loss of almost 13 days per year. 
What are Anti-Fatigue Mats and Why Should Employers Provide Them?
Designed to reduce fatigue caused by standing for long periods of time, anti-fatigue mats are made with various materials to provide cushion and support for users. Their unique design allows them to absorb stress and reduce foot fatigue and body aches experienced when standing for long hours.
In addition, employees may have higher job satisfaction when they’re in a comfortable work environment. A new online survey from The Harris Poll revealed that 93% of respondents believe companies who provide anti-fatigue floor mats care about their employees more than those who do not. Also, 91% of respondents agree that employers should supply anti-fatigue floor mats as a benefit for employees working long hours on their feet.
How to Choose an Anti-Fatigue Mat
When choosing an anti-fatigue mat, organizations should select a company whose matting program best fits their needs. But beware, while implementing a low-cost, anti-fatigue matting program may be enticing, it could end up costing more in the long run. Inexpensive mats tend to be made with inferior materials, which can lead to lower durability and a shorter lifespan. Invest in a high-quality mat or matting program to ensure long-lasting performance and comfort for employees.
Businesses should consider anti-fatigue mats designed and constructed to ease the physical strain that comes with long periods of standing on the job. The mats should include beveled edges to reduce curling – so they lay flat, longer – and be certified for high traction by the National Floor Safety Institute.
Another factor to consider when selecting an anti-fatigue mat is whether it has received a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. The Seal of Acceptance recognizes products that are beneficial to foot health and of significant value when used in a consistently applied program of daily foot care and regular professional treatment.
The Bottom Line
Employees rarely choose to work in environments where they may be in pain at the end of a shift. By installing anti-fatigue mats, organizations can help improve worker comfort and overall productivity. Learn more about the mat service offerings from Cintas.