4 Factors That Impact Employee Health and Ways to Handle Them
It’s in your best interest to maintain your employee’s health in the workplace. What they do out of those hours is up to them, but if they are in pain or finding their mood greatly affected by coming into work, you will see their productivity go down, costing you money.
There’s a lot that employees think they can’t complain about for fear of getting in the bad books with their boss, so it’s important to ask if they are uncomfortable or have any concerns about safety in order to do something about it. Take a look at our suggestions for a starting point.
The biggest complaint about working in an office is the trouble that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day inflicts on your body. For example, Emma, hit the news in 2019. A life size model that showcased all the health issues to be expected from working in an office in the future, she had varicose veins, bloodshot eyes, weight problems, and a hunch.
This is why a lot of offices have been looking into different seating options for employees, which is why you’ve heard of everything from yoga balls to bean bags and even standing replacing desk chairs. Ergonomic chairs are becoming more and more common, making them more affordable.
But chairs aren’t the only problem. Thanks to better nutrition, believe it or not, we as a species are getting taller, but our desks aren’t. Our arms are always resting an inch or two too low, which you can feel on your upper back, and our legs are cramped under desks that we hit our knees off. Luckily, adjustable desks are also becoming more affordable, with them flying off of IKEA shelves.
Physical health and safety
If you are running a business that requires your staff to handle various materials to make your products, you will have to make sure your health and safety requirements are met.
This differs from industry to industry and depends on what you’re selling. You have to take into account the health and safety of your customers using your products but also the health and safety of your staff making the products. Manufacturing compliance issues covers everything from the correct work gear and tools to making sure you have a COSHH risk assessment done.
It is the responsibility of the employer to create and continually implement and review a robust risk assessment to ensure that no harm comes to your employees.
There’s no doubt that since lockdown started, team managers all over the western world have been dealing with the fallout of opening up offices again. Some people practically hugged their team managers, glad to get away from the house, but a lot of people found they actually liked working from home – to the surprise of no one but higher ups.
Getting back into the idea of a 9-5 with no escape has been a bitter pill to swallow, making productivity worsen, childcare harder and mental health to decline.
It is possible for team mangers to have their cake and eat it too if you’re not willing to go as far as to permanently introduce working from home as an option. There is the concept of flexible working hours to explore. Theoretically, staff can come in on the hours they want, on alternate days, their desk taken up by someone who isn’t working from home the next day. You cut down on equipment and your staff enjoy more freedom on when they work and as long as they are working, everything should run smoothly.
However, there are a lot of other ways that mental health can be affected by the workplace. One thing comes down to layout. The cubicle layout of the office has been touted for making sure productivity is at its highest, but it has gained a reputation for being isolating and even oppressive. There are plenty of other options, including hybrid options that allow your staff to work wherever they fancy today, be that the sofa or the desk. But the cluster option is the best for mental health and productivity. Staff members can share ideas and learn from the people around them, as well as allowing for an environment that doesn’t restrict the occasional natter about celeb gossip at lunch.
Plants are also a good way to keep your employees’ mental health at its best. There are a lot of offices bringing plants into their offices, knowing full well the healing benefits of being in nature. Not only will they keep your employees happy, but they will boost productivity by oxygenating the room. You just have to hope someone in the office has a green finger.
Of course, keeping mental health a priority isn’t just about the state of the office space. It’s important that you have policies and support in place to help out any of your staff members should they report to you a problem with your mental health. In fact, it’s important to foster an environment that encourages the sharing of your mental health state in the first place.