Softer Is Not Always Better In Solving Workplace Fatigue


Whether a cashier, a pharmacy technician or a fulfillment center worker, many jobs require employees to spend long hours on foot. That can lead to significant pain and, beyond the human costs, decreased production.

The solution for many employers has been to stick a foam or gel mat under their employees and call it a day. However, according to SmartCells President Bob Bishop, those mats often aren’t made with the best material.

“Anti-fatigue is a balance between cushioning and support. We know, [when] standing on concrete all day, people get injured or have foot pain or get tired because of that rigid, hard surface. And if we think softer is better, you know, why don’t we just bring our mattresses in?” he said. “There is a psychological effect of, ‘Oh, I’m stepping on this, and it feels soft, so it must be good for me.’ Part of our mission is trying to educate our customers that softer is not better.”

Too often, the mats also are the wrong size. While SmartCells has mats in traditional sizes, it also works with businesses to do total installs on entire workspaces rather than simply trying to put two or three mats together, which can create a situation that can look aesthetically unpleasant, cause mats to move around or, worse, create a tripping hazard.

“We developed the concept of wall-to-wall flooring. We have a 3×3 tile product that we can assemble into virtually any configuration,” Bishop said.

“We can do a custom area with transitions that eliminate trip hazards and slip hazards, and the edges of SmartCells do not curl up. We’ll come in, look where your workers are at [and] what they’re doing during their normal day and make suggestions to you as to where you really need the anti-fatigue materials.”

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