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How Businesses Can Enhance Their Staff Health

Funnily enough, modern-day business owners tend to contemplate the health and safety risks that appeared during the Industrial Revolution – when working with heavy machinery was almost a life sentence – and praise themselves on the safe work conditions of today.

While there is no denying that today’s H&S regulations have saved numerous lives, it would be foolish to assume that the 21st-century workplace is a healthy place. On the contrary, the office can be just as deadly as the late 19th-century mine work. The risks have simply evolved and taken an unexpected shape. Indeed, work-related behaviours and practices can lead to the development of both mental and physical health complaints. With stress being the number one cause of death in the workplace, employers can’t ignore any longer how their management strategies affect their staff.

As a result, many managers undergo communication training and extensive time management workshops in order to reduce the potential burden on the team. Emphasising transparency and fairness in all interactions seems to be the preferred solution when it comes to reducing stress for the team. Additionally, in an effort to appeal to talented applicants, companies also focus their attention on delivering perks that encourage a fun and relaxed atmosphere, from introducing alcohol drinks in the workplace to suggesting team-building events. But, business owners fail to recognise the health risks in their team strategies. Indeed, stress-reducing perks can turn out counterproductive!

How healthy is your office?

Happy Hours drinks are no perks

Atlassian, the Australian software startup has a firm policy of working hard and playing even harder. It comes as no surprise to employees that their perks include a five-year anniversary payment for a holiday or a generous $10,000 reward for recommending a new hire. The company wants the team to feel involved in the growth and benefit of every contribution they make. As a result, the startup has invested a lot of money in reducing the stress levels at work with a pool room, a ping pong table and even a free bike repair service. However, the addition of beer taps into the office can normalise the consumption of alcohol. Ultimately, when booze is a free perk, it’s easy to see how it can become a coping mechanism for employees who need to de-stress after a long day. Unfortunately, the free booze perk is a prevailing attitude in tech-friendly and marketing companies, where the term hard-working is too often paired with a hard-playing approach.

Introduce relaxing areas

More and more business managers invest time and money in the creation of an elegant and attractive office space that keeps their staff motivated. The days of the grey cubicles are long gone. Modern offices distribute the space evenly through the use of colours, shapes and materials that come together to act as a reminder of the business mission. It’s not uncommon to find murals that highlight the company history and its vision for the future. Energetic colours, such as red and orange, are combined with creative shades – yellow and green – and soothing hues – blue,  and pastels – to help employees to stay focused throughout the day. These creativity-enhancing spaces, however, fail to address the work-life balance issues. Indeed, designing the office with the sole purpose of enhancing team productivity and creativity forgets one crucial element. Your employees need to recharge their batteries throughout the day. It is physically and mentally impossible for anybody to maintain their creative input for a long time. However, the interior decor of the office seems to imply that employees should be productive at all times, which can cause mental fatigue and stress. You need to introduce recharge areas for your staff to zine out, relax and nap to get rid of the tensions. Additionally, a rested mind is a more effective mind!

How you keep the place clean is detrimental

Keeping the office clean is a no-brainer. Most businesses work closely with a cleaning service to ensure the common areas are regularly swept and washed. However, increased exposure to chemical cleaning products can gradually affect the immune system of your employees, leading to allergic reactions, discomfort and skin inflammation. Indeed, switching towards organic cleaning services and products – you can learn more about organic equipment here – can improve your team health. Harmful chemical particles can remain in the air for several days to weeks after the use of cleaning products.

What’s in the office kitchen?

What’s your favourite go-to snack? If you were to ask your team, you’d collect a variety of answers depending on their stress levels and their current cravings. But, you can bet that many would prefer a chocolate bar over a piece of fruit! After all, eating fruit might be a healthier option, but nobody fancy eating an orange at their desk. It’s far too messy! Don’t be tempted, however, to listen too closely to your staff suggestions. An unhealthy office kitchen is not the solution to increase their productivity and boost their health. Instead, focus on healthy options that are yummy and satisfying. Quinoa chips, for instance, are a fantastic alternative to crisps, and a protein bar gives you plenty of goodness without the unhealthy consequences.

Fruit bowl

Reducing stress for working families

Flexible working options and remote jobs are popular, especially among a young population that is trying to manage family and work duties at the same time. However, stay-at-home parents struggle to look after young children and work! Acute stress and fatigue accumulated in the process only put your employees at risk. Instead, it’s a good idea to follow the modern companies strategy of offering onsite childcare services. You can effectively keep your employees engaged and productive by tackling their worries.

Nurture a policy of breaks in the office

Last, but not least, many employees are reluctant to take a break because it’s not a behaviour that is openly promoted in the office. You can help them to relax by implementing an automatic break reminder, for instance. Additionally, it’s important to show a positive attitude toward rest at work.

Managing the health of your employees is the most crucial duty of the business owner. You can’t afford to ignore attitudes and habits that increase stress levels and unhealthy risks unnecessarily.

Business Daily Media