Let’s be clear about this article: it’s for ANYONE who has a certain place of work. Whether you work at home, you’re a company owner, a manager or an employee, keep reading. A small problem at work can lead to huge health consequences for you or your team.
Let’s discuss how to keep the workplace safe for all involved, so everyone can enjoy healthy living, high productivity and fewer sick days.
Consider Your Policies
Are you following the appropriate guidelines for your industry’s health and safety guidelines? Processes have changed and previously complicated tasks have become effortless. Just consider how much time you save by doing online purchases instead of sending someone to a supplier. You can even buy research chemicals online these days.
But ‘easy’ shouldn’t compromise your staff members’ health.
Make sure you always purchase from reputable suppliers that can provide reports about the origin of each item. You don’t want a cleaning agent or other chemical affecting someone’s health because it was of low quality.
And are you labelling toxic substances sufficiently, so someone doesn’t accidentally consume something they shouldn’t?
Are You Pushing the Boundaries of Physical Risk?
If your industry requires workers to put themselves in any form of danger, it’s obvious that safety guidelines must be put in workplace. But it’s not enough to have policies—they must be enforced by management, because your business’ leadership carries responsibility for workers’ safety.
A problem here is that it’s easy to forget about the off-site workers you don’t always see every day. When last did you do a survey of the condition of roof anchor points your construction workers use; or even the condition of the tyres on your delivery vehicles.
When a business starts growing, it’s difficult to keep managing every aspect of the business effectively. Use software to your advantage by setting reminders for equipment checks until you have a fleet manager or full-time height safety engineers who can manage health and safety checks on your behalf.
Let’s Clear the Air
With ‘clearing the air’ we’re not being metaphorical. The air at workplace can easily become detrimental to health because of fumes from cleaning products, toxic substances from wall paint or a lack of proper circulation. This can affect breathing and even spark allergic reactions.
If you don’t have the privilege of many windows in your office building, add indoor plants or air purifiers with HEPA filters to create a healthier work environment.
What’s Your Culture?
Studies have found that physical health is closely related to emotional well-being. So, do the employees in your office experience too much tension?
Yes, a certain amount of stress is often necessary to produce optimum performance. But if there’s too much stress, it can lead to health problems such as stomach ulcers, panic attacks and more.
As examples, consider these suggestions regarding your company culture:
- Do they feel safe because there are enough health and safety measures in place? Improving security or offering self defence classes can show workers their safety is a top priority. Feeling prepared for emergencies, such as a break in, can reduce stress at workplace.
- Are they comfortable sharing their thoughts? If they live in fear of being criticised or penalised for voicing concerns, they’ll experience unnecessary stress. This can lead to emotional problems or burnout. Invite workers to share their thoughts and make sure management listens with an open mind.
Looking After the Body
Similar to how emotional wellbeing affects health, workers’ bodies can bring on health problems too. Luckily, there are easy ways to rectify this, but it is often up to leadership to take the first steps and set the example. Employees may not feel comfortable suggesting something different to the norm—especially if you’re still in the process of cultivating the ‘sharing office culture’ we mentioned above.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Standing desks are becoming popular; with a more ergonomic setup you can improve blood circulation and even prevent back pain.
- Fill your kitchen cupboards and canteen menu with healthier options, focusing on fresh produce. Pick food items that easily generate energy, rather than sugary products that end up making workers feel lethargic half way through the day.
- A water point that provides chilled, filtered water will make it easy for workers to drink more H2O, rather than fizzy drinks high in sugar.
- Start office challenges, such as competing in teams at local sport competitions, to spark interest in more active lifestyles.
Healthy living is a popular topic these days. It’s easy to change to a more nutritious diet, do more exercise or add supplements to your menu plan at home. But how often do you consider the space where you and your team spend most of your waking hours?
Audit the office environment and you may just transform everyone’s well-being for the good.