People often forget that a direct link exists between health, well-being and employee performance until they become sick and try to make it through a workday.
Sluggish, tired, and unwell compromise workplace safety, increasing the chance of costly accidents and getting coworkers sick.
The same is true for stressed and mentally exhausted employees. When distracted by the triggering event, their distress keeps them from focusing on the task at hand, thus increasing the likelihood of an accident.
And emotions are just as contagious as the flu. The difference is that when someone is physically ill, they know what’s wrong, whereas when they are emotionally unwell without cause, it becomes confusing.
Overall, company culture plays a significant role in whether employees try to come to work when sick or emotionally distraught. Organizations that invest in well-being initiatives can expect to see the most benefits in situations like these.
Addressing these factors with a strong well-being initiative and other lifestyle risk factors like lifestyle and emotional and mental health lead to more engaged employees, reduced turnover and higher productivity.
Beat the Blues
It’s a race to the end, and the winner will be the one who places employee well-being as a top priority.
It used to be that when it was time to discuss worker roles, policies and safety procedures, you just booked a meeting time, set up an overhead projector and sent your employees off to training.
Once trained, employees were expected to implement and follow those procedures.
But sick and emotionally unwell employees continued to come to work, so accidents continued to happen.
Somehow this “get to work at all costs” mentality needed to be tucked away behind the outdated training and replaced by addressing lifestyle issues. Home affects work-life, and work-life affects the home. Stress, anxiety, sleep loss, obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of concentration, and memory changes can affect critical behaviors regarding safety in the workplace.
Wellness Programs, Health and Their Impact on Workplace Safety
Your employees are direct links to free advertising and represent your core mission and values to your community, so implementing health incentives can make an impact across your organization as well as the public.
The World Health Organization agrees with this position and mentioned that “In addition to person-focused interventions, workforce health promotion initiatives have moved toward a more comprehensive approach, which acknowledges the combined influence of personal, environmental, organizational, community and societal factors on employee well-being.”
“In addition to person-focused interventions, workforce health promotion initiatives have moved toward a more comprehensive approach, which acknowledges the combined influence of personal, environmental, organizational, community and societal factors on employee well-being.” (Walden University)
Without some type of intervention serious claims and workplace accidents will remain costly both in lives lost and the costly financial impact on organizations.
In 2019, 2.8 trillion is lost globally due to occupational accidents, and a total of 105 million was lost due to work-related injuries.
Lifestyle and Workplace Safety
There are several factors that contribute to a higher risk of workplace injuries and illness, but many can be prevented by helping employees maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Lifestyle factors include:
- Sleep - Sleep quality is the most crucial lifestyle factor affecting safety in the workplace. The constant need for employees to be ‘on’ has a big impact on their ability to switch off at the end of the day.
- Physical Activity - Employees who don’t regularly exercise, or are predominantly sedentary during their workday, can suffer from musculoskeletal problems, work-related upper body disorders, obesity and stress.
- Obesity - Employees who are obese or overweight have a higher risk of slips and trips, are more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal problems and manual handling problems, and are more prone to sleep apnea, fatigue, and the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
- Stress - The way employees manage stress in their personal and professional lives has a big impact on their focus, as well as how easy it is for them to sleep. While it’s hard to eliminate stress from the equation altogether, it’s possible to help employees manage and cope with it-
Ease the Impact of Employee Lifestyle
Factors on Safety
The culture cultivated in the workplace can either bring employees up or send them headlong into a faceplant on the cement. A healthy work environment motivates and increases morale, and employees pay more attention to their surroundings.
- Integrating a health and well-being strategy and educating employees on the link between wellness and safety can increase morale and productivity.
- Promote that health and well-being strategy by conducting weekly office run days or handing out prizes to the person who ran for three events.
- Offer a variety of healthy snack food and encourage employees to take their breaks and lunch hours.
- Ensure that the office is clean and comfortable and the temperature moderate.
Wrapping up, remember that taking care of your employees’ physical and mental health enables them to be better people and, therefore, better employees.
Healthy people are more able to do a variety of tasks, both simple and complex. With enough sleep and space for psychological wellness, your employees will be able to solve problems more easily than if they were fatigued or anxious.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you. Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866-648-8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!
Heryati, R. (2022). Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment for Your Employees. Retrieved from 6Q: https://inside.6q.io/creating-a-healthy-workplace-environment/
The Impact of Healthy Employees in the Workplace. (2019, April 19).
What is workplace well-being. (n.d.). Retrieved from Zest for Work: https://zestforwork.com/what-is-workplace-wellbeing/
Why Healthy Employees are Safer, Happier and More Productive at Work. (2021, May 4). Retrieved from HSE Network: https://www.hse-network.com/why-healthy-employees-are-safer-happier-and-more-productive-at-work/
Workplace well-being. (2022). Retrieved from International Labour Organization: https://www.ilo.org/safework/areasofwork/workplace-health-promotion-and-well-being/WCMS_118396/lang--en/index.htm#:~:text=Workplace%20Wellbeing%20relates%20to%20all%20aspects%20of%20working,environment%2C%20the%20climate%20at%20work%20and%20work%20organiz