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More than ever, employee health is on the minds of business owners. Most of the emphasis is on sanitation and utilizing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While these are important parts of employee health, there are other ways to make your business healthier for employees that should be considered as we return to the office.
As you prepare buildings for employees’ return, you will want to be sure that, along with rearranging furniture and upping cleaning practices, your building is still up to code. Fire extinguishers may need to be replaced and burglar alarms reset. You will also want to watch for any substances that may cause illness. Mold inhalation, for instance, can aggravate allergies and cause breathing related difficulties which is the last thing anyone wants at a time like this. Investing in an inspection is worth it if you have doubts about your office space.
One of the biggest health threats for office employees is the nature of their work. Sitting at a desk every day for hours on end can increase the risk of muscular and skeletal disorders, especially if your posture is bad. This is a good time to examine the office chairs and desks in the space to see if they lend themselves to good posture. But it isn’t just posture that impacts health. Being sedentary puts employees at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Consider investing in standing desks and encouraging employees to take movement breaks during the day.
Taking breaks doesn’t only have physical benefits. Taking small breaks throughout the day also helps promote mental and emotional health by allowing employees to decompress after wrestling with particularly difficult problems. This helps relieve stress which comes with a whole host of emotional and physical health problems. Breaks also increase motivation and creativity and helps ease eye strain for jobs that rely heavily on computers. Try to incorporate small brain breaks into the schedule, such as a daily discussion question or team building activity.
Recent months have shown us just how capable our businesses are of operating from home. As we return to our offices, consider continuing to offer the option to work from home at least a few times a week. This will encourage employees who are feeling unwell but are still able to work to stay at home and take care of their symptoms without missing work. Giving employees the option to work from home will also help reduce stress, promoting mental and emotional health.
Making your business healthier for employees is a matter of shifting our mindset. By being mindful of the needs of employees and the ways our business practices could impact them; it is simple to make adjustments that will benefit everyone.
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