Nine Out of 10 Employees Link Workspace Design to Their Productivity

REDMOND, Wash., June 28, 2004 — A new survey initiated by Microsoft Hardware found the U.S. work force is spending more time in front of the computer than ever. While one in three office computer users indicated they spend between four and six hours a day using the computer, nearly half said they were spending eight or more hours a day at the computer.

These survey results reflect the current workplace trend of employers placing greater demands on their existing work force to drive productivity and profits. At the same time that hiring remains stagnant, U.S. Department of Labor statistics show productivity gains in the past two years mark the best back-to-back growth in worker output in five decades. 1 This change in focus has employers and their employees seeking new ways to work more efficiently as they strive to meet business goals.

“Companies are needing to do more with less,” said Hugh McLoone, product ergonomist and usability researcher at Microsoft Hardware. “In an environment where every increase in work-force productivity has an important impact on the bottom line, well-designed workstations including ergonomically designed keyboards and mice can go a long way toward helping employees succeed and businesses thrive.”

Nearly two-thirds of office computer users tie the fatigue they experience during the week to working at the computer for long periods. In addition, nine out of 10 said the design setup of their workstation directly affects their ability to be most productive at work. More than 50 percent of those surveyed said one of the best ways employers can show their commitment to employees’ success is to provide them with the latest technologies so they can do their jobs more efficiently. This compares with 23 percent who said they would prefer motivational tools such as morale-building and social outings, and 16 percent who would opt for perks such as free soda and parking, which are commonly offered in workplaces today.

Healthier and Happier Businesses

Researchers have found that individual performance increases by 25 percent when employees use an ergonomically designed workstation. 2 Microsoft Hardware recently published a list of tips, written by its ergonomist, that range from proper workspace setup and employee training programs to ways to outfit workspaces with ergonomic-friendly products that can help businesses boost employee productivity and comfort through a few simple steps. For example, ergonomically designed mice and keyboards are more comfortable to use over time, and products designed with time-saving features help employees work more efficiently.

Recent Microsoft®
innovations such as the tilt wheel allow employees to scroll both up and down and from side to side, making work in large documents and spreadsheets much more manageable. In addition, enhanced functionality of keyboard function keys saves employees time when they perform common tasks, by allowing them to open documents and reply to e-mail with the simple touch of a button. Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro and Wireless Optical Desktop Elite are just a few of the company’s desktops that provide businesses with these time-saving features in a comfortable ergonomic design. Businesses interested in learning more about how to improve workplace productivity and wellness, including the tangible benefits of Microsoft Corp.’s complete line of comfortable ergonomic mice and keyboards, can visit .

Ergonomic Expertise

Microsoft Hardware is one of the few desktop peripherals manufacturers with in-house industrial design and user research teams that include a staff ergonomist — a professional engineer who understands how the body functions naturally and who creates products that will be comfortable by design. Together, the teams test and develop high-quality mice and keyboards that deliver enhanced comfort and productivity, increased return on investment (ROI), and added mobility to any business environment.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by Synovate, one of the world’s top research firms and the market research arm of global communications specialist Aegis Group plc, and fielded to more than 200 U.S. full-time or part-time office workers who use computers regularly.

About Microsoft Hardware

For two decades, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design and hardware engineering capabilities, offering consumers a comfortable computing experience.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Source: Los Angeles Times, “Work harder, faster, smarter,” April 6, 2004

2 Pheasant, Stephen; “Ergonomics, Work and Health,” London: Macmillan Publishing, 1991

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