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An average person will spend a third of their life working. An activity that takes so much of our time is bound to have a significant effect on our health – be it physical, mental, or emotional.
Physical safety at the workplace has always been given considerable importance, although many companies have still a lot of catching up to do even in that department as well.
Owing to the increasingly louder conversations surrounding mental health, businesses are urged to improve their working conditions to improve the mental as well as the physical safety of their employees.
Employees subjected to poor work conditions tend to get lethargic, sick, and are vulnerable to a wide array of mental and physical ailments.
Businesses are not exempt from the after-effects of the subpar working condition they subject their employees to.
They pay in the form of costlier insurance premiums, reduced productivity, low profits, and an image of less considerate employer.
Hence, an investment in cultivating a healthy work environment benefits not only the employees but the business as well.
This article highlights a few workplace environment factors that affect employees’ health.
1. Nature Of Work
Some workplaces are riskier than others and require the setting up of strict safety codes on-site – like healthcare and construction, etc.
At such workplaces, businesses should not only adopt the best safety tactics on board but also provide adequate safety counseling to their staff so that they remain safe.
Consider enrolling the services of a professional with an occupational health and safety degree online, to improve the safety protocols and procedures of your business and workplace.
Work-related issues are not only limited to physical ailments. Mental and emotional stress are also highly correlated with an unsafe and toxic work environment.
Employees should assess the job roles that cause major stress and try to provide relief to the respective employees by increasing their job benefits.
2. Lack Of Control
Employees with little to no control over their work roles, responsibilities, and workdays, tend to develop job dissatisfaction far quicker than employees with autonomy over their roles.
Employers and managers must avoid micromanagement if they want to avoid causing their employees undue stress. Also, companies need to cultivate a culture where work autonomy is encouraged, not frowned upon.
An effective way to promote work autonomy is to have an honest conversation with the employees regarding their jobs and the expectation associated with them.
A candid conversation like this encourages the employees to bring forth their concerns and gives the employers a tangible chance to address all the valid issues effectively.
3. Providing Insurance
Most companies provide a basic insurance package to their employees and call it a day. Furthermore, these packages rarely ever include mental health coverage.
Not all jobs are physically strenuous – but almost all tend to induce stress. If not managed, stress can lead to other serious mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Mental issues are just as tiresome, if not more, to deal with as physical illness. They require the same amount of effort, care, and money, as any other ailment would.
Providing mental health coverage to your employees will not only relieve their work anxiety but also make them respect the business that much more.
It has tremendous monetary benefits for the company as well:
- Increased Productivity: Workplaces that address employee mental wellbeing can see up to a 12% increase in their productivity. Increased productivity means increased profits.
- Higher Retention Rate: 84% of employees believe that people are less likely to leave an employer if they provide a mentally supportive workplace. A high employee retention rate is the best publicity a business can ask for.
4. Equity And Fairness at Work
With the increasing surge in mass resignations and global talent shortage, employees are now able to ask for more than a basic paycheck for their services.
One of the major work-related stressors is the lack of equity, justice, and fairness at work. Not only does it snatch away real growth opportunities but can also lead to depression and anxiety.
Employers must pay attention to the following factors if they want to keep their employees satisfied:
- Equity: Fair pay, no wage gap for similar roles
- Fairness: Equal growth opportunities
- Justice: Unbiased treatment regardless of religion, race, or any such personal attributes
5. Work Model and Workhours
During Covid, the world moved online and so did most businesses. The pandemic made a lot of people realize the realistic possibility of working remotely while aspiring to keep same levels of productivity as before.
So naturally, when things seemed to return to normalcy, a significant portion of the workforce preferred to work from home or adopt a hybrid working model.
For most knowledge-based workers, remote work is not only realistic but also favorable. Compelling such employees to adhere to the traditional work model can negatively impact their health.
The negative impact is not limited to mental and emotional wellbeing, but also physical. Disabled people and people who are vulnerable to allergies and infections may prefer working remotely to protect their physical health.
Offering flexibility in work hours, and the option to work from home can significantly improve your employee satisfaction rate.
6. Job Security
Perhaps the biggest stressor related to any profession is job safety. Very few factors induce constant anxiety and stress like the lack of job security.
Work environments with the ever-looming threat of layoffs tend to be highly toxic, with employees trying to one-up each other through every means possible, in order to survive.
Layoffs tend to increase employee mortality rates and health issues, and thus, should be avoided at all costs.
Instead of mass layoffs, consider rolling out pay cuts at executive levels – not only will it solve the economical conundrum but also skyrocket the employees’ respect and gratitude toward the company.
The health of a working individual directly depends upon the state of their work environment. It can either be rewarding or taxing. Satisfied employees working for businesses that support physical and mental wellbeing not only perform well but also bring in huge profits. While the workforce, subjected to subpar working conditions, is faced with an array of health issues. Employers must always prioritize the health of their employees by keeping an eye out for the shortcomings in their workplace facilities and safety protocols.