Unfortunately, toxic work environments are all too common these days, leading to a slew of mental and physical ailments such as depression, anxiety, stress, hypertension, and alcoholism. Workers go home feeling tired and uninspired instead of energized and happy, which leads to increased absenteeism, lower productivity, higher insurance premiums, and decreased innovation.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, read on to discover the most common ways your working environment affects your wellbeing. Included are ways to remedy the situation for a happier, healthier workplace.
Balancing Work and Family Life
One of the biggest challenges employees face is figuring out how to balance their work and family lives so that everyone and everything receives the attention it deserves. This challenge places a lot of stress on employees, ultimately leading to dissatisfaction at work and a dip in physical and mental health.
As an employer, you might consider giving your staff more flexibility in the workplace. This could include allowing them to work from home or in a serviced office setting, at least part-time. Though many employers fear their workers will slack off if allowed to shift to a home office, studies show that telecommuting actually increases productivity and employee satisfaction.
Control Over Work
A correlation exists between an employee’s rank and how much control they have over the work they do. The higher the rank, the more control they have; the lower the rank, the less control they have over the tasks that fill each day. Less control leads to dissatisfaction and feelings of inadequacy.
Companies can give all employees more control over their work by creating roles that are more flexible and that require less micromanagement.
Long work hours are often associated with poor health – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension are common health issues seen in people who work overtime regularly. Employers need to encourage workers to leave once their work is complete. This will enable them to spend more time with their families rather than sticking to a rigid 40+ hour workweek.
Lack of Social Support
Many workplace settings focus on trading work for pay, which does little to foster social relationships or teamwork. If there is a competitive nature to the work, it forces employees to work against each other rather than with each other. This creates stress and emotional detachment in the workplace.
Fortunately, the close relationships – family and friends – made in and outside of work can counteract the effects of workplace stress and other psycho-social stressors that compromise health.
Economic Insecurity and Layoffs
Nothing is more stressful than watching a colleague get laid off during an economic downturn and worrying about being the next to go. Layoffs are considered a part of life, but even so, they can lead to higher mortality rates and overall poor health. Though they may be unavoidable in some circumstances, layoffs often do more harm than good, so it’s worthwhile looking for other approaches before making such a drastic decision.
If you are an employer concerned with your employees’ health, take stock of your company’s work environment before developing any new wellness initiatives. Be sure the work environment you provide promotes well-being on all fronts. Ask for feedback from your employees as to what the company can do differently to meet their needs. By asking for their opinions, you make your staff feel like valued members of the team. This will help you ensure the workplace is a happier, healthier one.