It is widely understood that just being employed is beneficial for people’s good health and wellbeing, but more and more it is also being recognised that by creating a positive, safe and healthy work environment for your employees, you can boost morale and improve your employees’ health and work-life balance which, in turn, will positively impact the success of your organisation.
The benefits of paying attention to the environmental wellbeing of employees include:
- Prevents absenteeism
The key benefit of having happy and healthy workers is that they are absent less often, are more motivated to stay in work, they recover from sickness more speedily, and are less at risk of contracting long term illnesses.
- Helps to cut costs
The entire organisation stands to benefit from substantial cost savings by promoting all-round health and safety in the workplace. If employees’ environmental wellbeing is undermined, many key performance factors can be negatively impacted, such as:
- low morale and negativity leading to reduced productivity
- increased mistakes and poor quality work
- inter-personal conflict with colleagues, management or subordinates leading to grievances and disciplinary incidents
- poor customer service impacting on client satisfaction
- an increase in staff turnover due to poor employer reputation among staff, not to mention potential new recruits
- Helps to improve business performance
By simply promoting health and safety among your workers and creating a positive environment for work, an organisation stands to reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs. By encouraging and promoting a healthy workforce, you can improve business performance through maintaining productivity born out of good staff morale and employee engagement, for example:
- A safe and healthy work environment leads to better job focus and reduced employee stress which in turn leads to improved output and quality
- Increased skills for health protection leads to improved morale and job satisfaction
- Improved health leads to an improved sense of employee wellbeing
- Demonstrates corporate social responsibility
Customers not only expect organisations to have high standards of health, safety but also to be socially responsible in caring for the wellbeing of their employees. In doing so organisations are more likely to engender an enhanced reputation and more positive public image.
Steps to creating a healthy work environment include:
- Engendering a positive culture
Employees do not generally engage with the goals and successes of an organisation without being encouraged and enabled to do so, firstly through effective and ongoing communication at all levels of the organisation, and secondly through being made aware of their individual contribution to the success of the organisation.
- Having a clear vision and ensuring this vision is communicated throughout the organisation works to build a positive work environment where employees feel valued and personally identify with the success of an organisation.
- The accessibility of management to staff across an entire organisation assist in ensuring that issues and concerns can be exposed and dealt with quickly before they escalate – particularly when conflict or issues are dealt with swiftly and appropriately by management, while maintaining confidentiality and with respect for differing points of view.
- Providing skills training and development
Particularly in our fast changing technological world, providing workers with the opportunity for training and development as well as providing the proper tools to do the job will better ensure their success. In addition, the benefits of Health and Safety training in the workplace are many, beyond the obvious legal benefits for both the employer and the employee, such as reduced insurance premiums for the organisation and enhanced reputation in the market place.
- Encouraging teamwork
In a healthy workplace staff are typically engaged and committed to their work, supportive of their team members and resilient in the face of challenges and complex work. This leads to the blending of complementary skills, builds trust and teaches staff conflict resolution skills while fostering a wider sense of job ownership.
Other ways for management to create a positive work environment include:
- Hiring the right staff
- Weeding out toxic employees
- Keeping the work space clean and comfortable
- Making sure the office is well lit
- Providing a relaxation space
- Maintaining a focus on employee wellness
- Being a aware of performance and giving regular feedback
- Management being open to receiving feedback
- Not overloading your employees with more work than they can reasonably handle
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