Improving Employee Health and Wellness by Amanda Ajoke Onitiju
The workplace should be a place of productivity, however, it carries with it the weight of stress sometimes leading to mental issues if not prevented or addressed early. As an employer, leader or manager who strives for the best in yourself and others, knowing that your employees matter to you, you will definitely want to improve the wellness levels amongst them. Always remember, once they walk in through your doors, they are in your care.
How can this be done? Let’s find out.
- ASSESS YOUR WORKPLACE
Assessing the workplace may seem like an easy task but it really isn’t. There should be no rush in this process. Look for factors that may cause discomfort, mental stressors, or medical issues in the workplace. You may want to look at the office furniture, equipment and the workers that use them. Do they match the worker or do they create discomfort? Are the deadlines for tasks reasonable or do they cause chaos for the workers’ mental state. Is the environment free from hazards that could lead to illness or disease? This first step will point you in the right direction for change or improvement. A few items to assess are itemised, you should also engage your employees for better feedback.
- Do you have a friendly work environment? This will include realistic work hours, tasks, deadlines, meal times, leisure, equipment and furniture. If you don’t, your employees may develop physical and mental stress or disorders which can range from mild to severe cases.
- Do you have a system in place that listens and acts on the complaints of employees, if you don’t, you might end up with a whole lot of lost time resulting in unexpected loss. Develop an active feedback system today.
- Do you have a stable environment free from hazards ranging from musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, accidents and bullying? These may seem small but in time will lead to something catastrophic costing millions. I bet you don’t want to count losses.
- Do you have training programs adequate enough to meet the needs of the organisation? Do the programs include health, safety, wellness, fitness and recreation? How often do you have these programs, and are they documented? If you don’t, then actively plan towards this and watch how engaged in the productivity your employees become.
- Looking after yourself is your duty, how you conduct yourself in the workplace will go a long way in how productive you will be at work and at home. Actively understand time management and effectively use it to your advantage as this will save you from mental stress. Do things when they are supposed to be done at all times.
- Ensure you plan your meals to meet the needs of your body. If your body isn’t getting the required food nutrients and amounts of water it needs, you will not be able to function properly and this will affect your productivity mentally and physically.
- Are you observing good sleep hygiene? You may think it’s impossible to sleep for the required number of hours which is approximately 7-8 hours. However, ensure to get office work out of the way when you are home. Get home on time and don’t use all of your free time on T.V, rather use that time to catch up on sleep which is healthier than being a couch potato.
- Are you active in recreational activities, exercise and sports? This might seem unimportant to you but it is one of the highly effective ways to rejuvenate the body, keep off stress and maintain good fitness. Plan activities with family and friends once a week, visit the gym, have some yoga classes, take long walks and enjoy nature, do some volunteer work and watch how your mental and physical stress evaporates.
- Stay healthy, see a doctor when you’re not feeling up to par. This century seems to present high risks of heart attacks, strokes and death. Your body might seem fine but you never really know what goes on inside of it so get the recommended checks today.
TIME FOR CHANGE
As a team, when the factors have been identified, the next step is to set up realistic deadlines for change and implementation. This will require effort on both the worker and the employer. If you are not willing to accept change as a means for progress, at least start in small steps. The changes might seem costly but never forget the positive impact it would have on the health of the workers, which in turn will reflect on the end product which is customer satisfaction. You feel good, your employees feel and look good and your customers see the good and are happy.
This is a start to your employee health and wellness at work. Engage in it today. It always pays off to spend a few coins rather than to lose a whole lot of dollars just as the saying, ’penny wise pounds foolish.