Every time you ask someone how work is going, they will surely have a long rant about why they are unhappy and feel demotivated. The reason may range from having an annoying colleague to extra workload and rigid company policies; the issue may be small, but its impact on workers’ mental and physical health is quite big. When an employee’s health is affected, they become unproductive. Thus, the company suffers.
A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that work-related stress is a major contributor to the development of mental health problems. The study found that people who work in high-stress occupations are more likely to experience mental health problems than those in low-stress occupations.
Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who experience high levels of job strain, defined as high demands and low control, have a significantly higher risk of developing depression than those with low job strain.
Companies need to recognize the work environment’s potential impact on their employees’ mental and physical health and take steps to create a healthy and supportive workplace. For this reason, many companies are now hiring individuals with an MSPH degree – Master of Science in Public Health in their human resource management department. The primary focus of this degree is building strategies to ensure the mental and physical well-being of the employees. It allows the company to have a healthy work environment by avoiding workplace hazards and maintaining stability that does not increase employee stressors.
Numerous studies demonstrate the benefits of focusing on employee health. The World Health Organization estimates that a healthy workforce is more productive, with an estimated 12% increase in productivity for each 1% increase in employee health. Apart from that, a study by the Integrated Benefits Institute found that companies with high levels of employee wellness had 41% lower healthcare costs than those with low levels of employee wellness.
For this reason, focusing on the health and well-being of your employees is crucial. There are many strategies that companies can adopt; some of them are listed below.
1. Creating a positive work environment
A positive work environment ensures an employee’s mental and physical well-being. While healthy workplace competition doesn’t hurt anybody, a highly competitive work environment is one of the biggest stressors for employees. A place where employees are pitted and egged against each other increases unhappiness. It makes them focus more on office politics than their work. For this reason, creating a collaborative office environment that gives employees a sense of belonging is critical.
The company needs to establish a common goal the employees can work towards by promoting teamwork. Moreover, find ways to eliminate any conflict of goals and interests among the employees.
2. Ensuring hygiene at the workplace
Cleanliness and hygiene at the office are crucial in maintaining employees’ health, as people spend one-third of their lives at work. They eat their meals, socialize and use the restrooms at their office, meaning an unclean environment can lead to poor employee health.
Organizations must ensure that offices are not closed spaces and have appropriate ventilation so employees can breathe clean air. A proper garbage disposal system should be in place, the office should be sanitized frequently, and communal spaces should be cleaned thoroughly. This will promote employee health and well-being and ensure their loyalty to you.
3. Giving workers liberty over how they work
The lack of control over how an employee does their job not only triggers stress and is the reason for poor mental health but also contributes to increasing rates of heart disease in individuals. For this reason, even a small change in the work strategies to give some level of autonomy to the employees can improve their mental health and well-being. Giving them the training to improve their skills and allowing them to resolve issues independently also establish confidence between the company and workers.
4. Giving flexibility in time and place
A fixed schedule to start and end the work shift may seem feasible, but a study by Wildgoose suggests that choice and control over working hours help improve employees’ mental health and well-being. While having them work at their preferred hours can be unmanageable for the company, allowing them to pick their work schedule can be productive. To cater to this issue, the company can have different work shifts, and the employees can choose the one that works for them.
5. Keeping the workload reasonable
One of the biggest reasons employees are unhappy at work is due to long hours and increased job pressure due to extra workload. These aspects can significantly affect the employee’s mental health, impacting their work-life balance and causing mental and physical health deterioration. Studies have found that high-demanding jobs increase the rate of cardiovascular diseases, depression, and high blood pressure.
The company must staff adequately to ensure that each employee has a reasonable workload. Staffing efficiency will improve job satisfaction and productivity and ensure more work gets done in less time.
6. Developing a stable work schedule
You must understand that a stable work schedule differs from a rigid one. A rigid work schedule demands an employee to report at a set time regardless of what suits them. But a stable work schedule focuses on developing a regulated work schedule that ensures the employees have a set routine they are comfortable with. This aspect is especially important for people who lead a busy personal life, such as mothers and individuals with part-time jobs. A stable work schedule will ensure less nervousness and anxiety associated with work.
7. Offering personal development
Whether it’s career or personal development, employees become unhappy when they reach a plateau. On the other hand, encouraging personal development helps improve individual talents and potential and may even alter their economic situation. Personal development is an ongoing process that includes lectures, courses, training, seminars, etc. It’s an ongoing process that aims to increase your employees’ self-awareness and allow them to progress and improve as a team. Therefore, don’t just focus on working with your employees, but help them upgrade their skills and talent. After all, skilled employees will only benefit your company.
In conclusion, companies need to focus on the health of their employees. A healthy workforce is more productive, leading to increased efficiency and profitability. Focusing on employee health can also reduce absenteeism, improve morale and create a positive work culture, and save the company money in the long run.
There are many ways that companies can focus on employee health, including providing wellness programs and resources, promoting a healthy work environment, and prioritizing mental health. This way, companies can improve retention, attract top talent, and ultimately achieve long-term success.