In the back of some of the finest restaurants in the world, you’ll find the chef’s secret recipe for a happy staff is not on the stove—it’s on the floor.
Anti-fatigue mats, which are increasingly common in commercial food preparation, can keep workers healthy, productive and on their feet for longer than with regular flooring. While anti-fatigue mats were originally invented and intended for workers on industrial production lines, the use of these mats are spreading to other industries where workers spend hours on their feet. Even better, there are good financial reasons for their popularity!
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that reduced worker productivity was most often not the result of absenteeism. Instead, decreases in productivity were often caused by pain and discomfort experienced by employees on the clock, and as a result, led to a reduced performance.
Internal work conditions, including the type of flooring that is used, can contribute to employee pain. Employee discomfort on the job costs companies an estimated $7.4 billion in lost productivity per year. Discomfort can result in suppressed productivity levels or an increase in taking longer or multiple breaks from work. It might not seem like much, but reduced performance caused by worker discomfort adds up to more than 23 days of lost worker productivity per employee per year— a number that can be reduced by employers evaluating and improving workplace conditions.
Fortunately, anti-fatigue mats are designed to help workers, such as kitchen staff, tolerate standing for long periods of time while working. The gel and cushioning inside of the mat helps stimulate blood flow through the legs, as well as maintain better circulation, which minimizes the back pain, foot pain and stress that contribute to fatigue. Anti-fatigue mats are recommended by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for preventing injuries caused by working in a standing position. When used appropriately, anti-fatigue matting can also reduce slip-and-fall accidents.
Anti-fatigue mats are made in a variety of sizes and materials to suit any situation. They are used in hospitals and medical facilities, beauty salons, retail establishments, in offices with standing workstations and, of course, in home kitchens like yours. So, the next time that you or your employees complain about discomfort and fatigue—think about your matting and floors and consider a new addition to your workplace!