One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The Automotive Workbench
There’s a contradiction we all live with: We want to be like everyone else, but we also want to be unique. Not too tall, not to short, not too old, not too young. But we also want to have something that makes each of us special. Social scientists found that people judged to be beautiful had almost perfectly symmetrical faces (the “alike” factor), but had a small flaw (the “different” factor). It seems we require a little bit of difference in our lives.
And that carries over to the workplace, too. In any job, you’ll find workers who make their workplace their own. Every cubicle farm is filled with personalized workspaces. Big-rig drivers deck out their cabs. Nurses collect chotchskies. Cowboys customize their belts. Injecting a unique touch into our workplace helps us feel positive about the work and about ourselves.
Occupational therapists have long promoted the idea of a holistic approach to productive workplace design, supporting customization as beneficial not only for the mind but for the body. Nowhere is this more true than in the automotive world. Mechanics are in constant motion as they perform their tasks, and while constant motion is productive, it can also be injurious. Workplace injuries commonly include repetitive motion strain and overexertion caused by heavy lifting in awkward positions.
Workbench customization is one of the keys to reducing auto mechanics’ workplace injuries. Using a modular storage and benching system, each mechanic can lay out his or her tools for optimal productivity, keeping at hand those items most used. They can store heavier items on waist-height shelves to avoid dangerous lifting. As additional parts or tools are added to the workstation, they can be accommodated in new shelving modules rather than crowding the existing inventory and risking loss or injury.
And customization creates pride of ownership too. Employees who feel they “own” their workstations will maintain a clean and orderly workplace, which also helps to reduce injuries. Workplace injuries have a high price, affecting productivity, overhead, and profits. A customizable benching and storage system keeps employees safe, keeps productivity high, and keeps profits where they should be.
Photo © Letitia Wilson / Adobe.com