As we come to the end of the year, our thoughts turn to making the same resolutions that we usually make each new year, such as losing weight, quitting bad habits, etc. How about a different and new resolution? One that both companies and employees alike would make: to create a healthier workplace for everyone? There’s always room for improvement – regardless of policies that are already in place. Let’s talk about this important issue.
According to the World Health Organization, “Personal and social codes of behavior and ethics are the foundation of every major religious and moral philosophy. One of the most basic of universally accepted ethical principles is to “do no harm” to others in the workplace. This means to ensure employees’ health and safety.” The World Health Organization’s definition of health is “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of disease.”
Does this definition fit your workplace? Everyone wins when they have a healthy workplace: the employer, who provides a safe physical work environment to prevent occupational diseases, accidents and injuries, while promoting healthy lifestyles and encouraging personal development. Employers should have leadership that can allow workers to meet job demands and control the workload to ensure that those workers are able to balance both their work and personal responsibilities. They should establish principles of work that will prevent stress and ill health.
Data demonstrates that in the long term, companies that promote and protect workers’ health are rewarded by retaining those employees, and are more successful and competitive than companies that don’t. Employers should consider these important factors:
- Cost of prevention versus costs resulting from accidents;
- Financial consequences of legal violation of health, safety, and occupational rules and laws;
- Workers health as an important business asset for the company.
Of course, the other winners are the employees. If health initiatives are in the workplace, employees will enjoy greater job satisfaction, being able to balance work and family responsibilities, all the while enjoying a sense of pride and well-being. Companies will see a reduction in work-related illness, injury and disability when they enforce good safety and health policies.
Employees who have to face unreasonable deadlines become overwhelmed and out of control, which can elevate stress levels and possibly lead to depression. They think that their load can be handled better if they are able to do part of their work at home, such as using their laptop, or staying late at the office to catch up. This takes away from their family and free time, and is a hard habit to break, once they start. Workers should have the ability to negotiate their workload with their supervisor without fear of reprisal or punishment. They should be given tasks to do that afford the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge effectively with colleagues and managers while in a safe and healthy environment. They are entitled to have the tools to get their job done efficiently and receive fair pay with benefits. Those employees who are satisfied with their work environment will be more productive and make a better contribution to the company’s success.
Please stay tuned: tomorrow we will keep talking about ways that will be beneficial both to employers and employees by creating a healthy workplace.
Source: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety