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4 Notable Workplace Factors That Affect Employee Health and How You Can Ensure Employee Well-Being

22 February 2024

No matter how modern and upgraded your office space is, there are always some subtle factors that have a direct impact on your health and well-being. Since these factors aren't too noticeable, your mind never goes towards the possibility of them being the reason for different health problems you may face at work.

Anything that affects employee health should be a matter of concern to you. If the employees aren't feeling their best physically and mentally at work, they won't be able to perform to the best of their potential, and this will eventually affect the business outcome.

Employee health and well-being are directly associated with how well your business performs. To ensure maximum growth for your business, you've got to work towards mitigating any factors that may be coming in the way of employee productivity.

This blog post highlights some of the most notable factors that affect employee health and how you can mitigate these risk factors.

Factors That Affect Employee Health

If an employer is aware of potential risk factors that can come in the way of employee health and, eventually their productivity, they'll be better able to find ways to mitigate them and reduce the risk of employees falling ill or injured or getting too stressed due to work conditions.

When we talk about employee health, we mean both physical and mental health. An employee who's physically and mentally sound will perform to the best of their ability.

Let's take you through some of the most notable workplace factors that can possibly affect employee health.

1. Nature of Job and Work Environment

Employees who're involved in high-risk jobs are more likely to experience work-related health complications. The problems can range from stress-related headaches and migraines to high blood pressure. Having said that, we don't mean that only the employees with high-risk jobs are at risk of developing work-related illnesses and health conditions. The work environment plays an important role too. The work environment itself can be a workplace factor that may be affecting your employees' health.

If the work environment is too stressful, where the bosses follow up frequently, employees are made to work extra hours, or the management doesn't accept leave applications easily, it's bound to have a direct impact on employees' mental health and can even lead to physical exhaustion and burnout.

2. Unhealthy Competition

Another factor affecting employee health, particularly mental health, is unhealthy competition. Competition is the essence of every workplace. Without competition, the employees will lack the drive to perform better. However, competition isn't always healthy. Some workplaces foster unhealthy competition that affects the relationship between coworkers. The environment becomes tense, and as a result, employees' mental health suffers. This happens when a workplace encourages employees to focus on their independent growth rather than working together as a team. Every person behaves selfishly because, at the end of the day, professional growth is what matters.

3. Poor Work-Life Balance

With the widespread acceptance of the remote working model, the line between work and life has become somewhat blurred. There's no fixed time for work, and as a result, personal life suffers. If calling employees or expecting them to be available for meetings and conferences after their shift timing is a norm in your workplace, know that you're being unfair to your employees. Not only does poor work-life balance stress employees, but it also tires and exhausts them out, eventually resulting in burnout.

4. Uncomfortable Working Conditions

If your workplace is still equipped with conventional office furniture and equipment, your employees are at a high risk of developing work-related injuries and ailments like musculoskeletal disorders. Most jobs today require individuals to sit in front of their computer screens for long hours at a stretch. Three factors are at play here that can affect their health; the height of their work desk, the distance from the computer screen, and the chair they're sitting on.

If the height of the desk isn't suitable for the user (either too high or too low), the user will sit in an incorrect posture without realizing that the way they're sitting can harm them. If the desk is too high, they'll have to lift their arms and shoulders awkwardly to reach the desk surface, and if the desk is too low, they'll have to sit with their shoulders slumped and back curved. This sitting posture puts strain on the back and the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The result will be discomfort and pain initially, and if the user continues to work in this posture, it can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

Then comes the chair the employees use. If the employee has to sit in an uncomfortable chair for several hours every day, their body will hurt, and they'll start to develop symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. A regular office chair is hard and doesn't suitably support the buttocks. The backrest isn't adjustable, so the back has to stay stiff in the same position throughout the time the user is seated.

Not many employers pay heed to the distance of the computer monitor from the user. Ideally, the computer screen must be at eye level and an arm's length from the user. If the distance and level aren't correct, it'll strain the eyes and neck and result in eye strain and neck pain.

Other uncomfortable work environments include poor workplace temperature, poor lighting, and too much workplace noise.

Ensuring Employee Well-Being

Ensuring employee physical and mental well-being is crucial for your business. As we've said earlier, if the employees aren't feeling their best, their work performance will be affected, and your business will take a hit too!

Let's look at some practical ways of ensuring employee well-being at work.

Offer Flexibility

Being too firm about working hours and schedules will stress your employees out. In the times when the remote working model is accepted globally, not offering your employees flexibility isn't wise. Many employers believe that providing employees flexibility around working hours will result in missed deadlines and poor work ethics, but it's actually the opposite. Flexibility in working schedules improves employee productivity and mental health, and it reflects in their performance.

Encourage Team Building

A workplace that fosters healthy relationships and teamwork is one where employees flourish, both personally and professionally. They'll feel more relaxed and comfortable with each other, improving coordination between teams. The better the teamwork, the better the results will be. Better results mean greater acknowledgment from the bosses and better professional growth, all of which will positively impact an employee's overall health and well-being.

Provide Your Employees a Comfortable Work Environment

The key to ensuring your employees are healthy, safe, and comfortable is providing them with a comfortable work environment. The most important element of the work environment is the furniture. If you want your employees to be comfortable and at the lowest risk of work-related injuries and disorders, you should consider replacing your office furniture with ergonomic office furniture like an ergonomic work desk and chair.

An ergonomic work desk will ensure that the desk's height is just right for the user. The user can adjust the height of the desk to suit their preferences. This would ensure that the user doesn't have to sit in an awkward posture to reach the desk surface.

An ergonomic chair like Ergonomic Office Chair with footrest(C6) allows the user to adjust the height of the chair so that their feet aren't dangling in the air, adjust the seat depth so that they're comfortably seated in the chair, and also adjust the backrest to provide their back with maximum support. All of this reduces the strain on the body and reduces the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Other ergonomic office equipment that can enhance employee comfort and ensure employee health and well-being include an ergonomic keyboard, ergonomic mouse, adjustable monitor mount, and footrest.

Allow Employees to Relax in Office

One of the biggest risk factors that affect employee well-being is working non-stop. Sitting in an incorrect posture for long hours at work without any break increases the risk of work-related health conditions by several folds. If you want to ensure the well-being of your employees, encourage them to take breaks. Design relaxing spaces in your office, like game rooms or quiet rooms where they can just like down for a few minutes before resuming work. This would not only prevent physical fatigue but also keep the brain working actively.

Closing Word

Ensuring employee health is critically important for any business. The business flourishes where the employees feel safe, healthy, and satisfied. Many times, we don't know what can be possibly affecting our health at work, but if you look around and observe closely, many things that are a norm, like not taking any breaks or working in incorrect posture, are actually harming you.

Being an employer, it's your responsibility to mitigate all positive risk factors affecting your employees' health.