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An organization is a body whose overall health and performance rely on its organs: the employees. If the employees are unhealthy due to the workplace conditions, the entire organization becomes infected and fails to perform optimally. Healthy work environments motivate employees and provide the satisfaction needed to stay within the organization and remain productive. This is why you need to maintain a healthy work environment.
What Is A Work Environment?
Several factors impact your work environment. Here are several aspects that form your work environment.
The culture in your organization sets the pace for the interaction between employers and employees. Your culture is your personality, and it sums up your values, behaviors, attitudes, and traditions. Culture presents itself in:
- Leadership: The leadership at your organization influences culture through their conduct. Take note of what the company leadership talks about, the values they enforce, what they expect from employees, how they handle conflict, and what they praise or discourage. Who do they recognize and celebrate, and who do they ignore or shame?
- Management: Your systems, hierarchy, procedures, and goals and the degree and manner in which each of these items is enforced within the organization affect the health of your organization.
- Practices: What are your workplace practices about recruitment, hiring, compensation, rewards, promotions, wellness, and payment during sick leaves and days off?
- Policies: What is your code of conduct regarding dress codes, scheduling, attendance, compensation, and handling harassment is concerned.
- People: How do the people in your organization interact with each other? Do they focus on social assignments or individual responsibility, or are they collaborative or confrontational? Is the communication friendly and respectful? Is information disseminated quickly among workers, or does the bureaucracy choke communication? Are there workers that discriminate against others and get away with it?
The Physical Workspace
If your workers are in an unsafe environment, they always worry about their safety. As the employer, you should always ensure your employees’ occupational safety by eliminating any hazards that cause injury and deteriorating health. Cover all your cables and remove any trip hazards to prevent slip and fall accidents.
Your workers spend the majority of their days in your offices. How welcoming is space? Is everything cramped and uncomfortable to use? Is there enough natural light or artificial light for the workers to use? Are all utilities functioning correctly? Is the paint peeling, and are the walls bare and unpleasant?
If you’re trying to inspire creativity and keep your workers happy, invest in your workspace’s aesthetics.
Health and Lifestyle
Ultimately, your workplace influences the health and lifestyle of your workers. A healthy work environment focuses on the employee’s health beyond the workspace.
Do your employees feel cared for in terms of healthcare in and outside the workplace? Can they access health benefits, take sick leaves, or work from home in case of medical emergencies? What happens when an employee struggles with mental health or loses a loved one? Moreover, does your work culture encourage a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating, rest and breaks, and exercise?
How To Create A Healthy Work Environment
There are several initiatives employers can take to improve the work environment.
Hire Right And Fire Right
Hiring the right employees affects the workplace just as much as firing the wrong ones does. It’s crucial to observe your workers, especially how they relate with other workers. If an employee harasses others, you may find yourself handling a harassment lawsuit. If a worker discriminates against others at the workplace, handle the situation immediately. Be on the lookout for workers that create a hostile work environment by harassing others, being negative, discouraging, and ridiculing others. They diminish productivity at the workplace.
Make Your Office Comfortable
The physical attributes of your workspace affect the moods, emotions, and productivity of your workers. Eliminate all hazards, ensure that all workers are comfortably dressed for the job, and find comfortable furniture. Invest in your computers and software too. Don’t forget to create great lighting and, if possible, introduce invigorating paint and plants.
Every person in the workplace has a personal life that comes with its mental and emotional toll. Personal problems may include mental health disorders, the death of a loved one, separation or divorce, and violence or aggression at home. Support from the workplace goes a long way in creating a healthy relationship.
Compassion during trying times is essential to show an employee that you care for their well-being. Simple gestures such as organizing fundraisers, paying for professional therapy, providing time off, and sending emails go a long way in showing support.
Lastly, no office can work without effective communication. Ensure that every employee, including the leaders and managers, is mindful of their interactions with subordinates. Encourage respect, transparency, and friendliness during interactions to reduce tension at the workplace.
Motivate your employees and recognize them for their efforts. Also, encourage the workers to share their ideas and complaints and make changes accordingly. More importantly, show gratitude and reward your workers, and watch them smile.