5 Ways to Create a Healthy Work Environment @HarvardSPH_ECPE

In the modern world of business, it can be easy to forget how important a good working environment is to the success of a company. However, as many different prominent studies have shown, worker productivity is significantly affected by the nature of a company’s work environment. Interpersonal relations between employees, the size and location of the work environment, and many other factors can have an outsized impact on the morale and, as a result, the productivity of workers.

For this reason, creating a healthy work environment is an important consideration for business owners and managers to keep in mind. The following are five ways in which this critical organizational objective can be achieved.

Provide workplace equipment that promotes ergonomic health

One of the most common problems experienced by employees involves physical discomfort caused by their work environments. This can cause distraction, making it difficult for employees to focus on the task at hand and potentially requiring time away from work to recover from lower back pain or other ergonomic issues.

Fortunately, there are a wide range of different types of office equipment that can be used to help promote employees’ ergonomic health. Adjustable chairs and desks, for instance, can help to ensure that all employees are comfortable in their work environment. Furthermore, ergonomic keyboards and mouse pads can help prevent the development of painful medical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Institute workplace health initiatives

Workplace health initiatives can help to improve employee morale and reduce time away from work. Whether this means providing employees with healthy lunch options, encouraging employee fitness with workplace exercise programs or gym membership vouchers, or having a speaker series relating to healthy living, creative workplace health initiatives can be a significant aid to creating a healthy, happy work environment.

Plan appropriately for environmental weather conditions

For work environments that may be affected by weather conditions, it is important to have a plan in place to ensure that these conditions do not unduly impact workers. OSHA has provided a guideline for helping employers ensure that their workers are not harmed by overly warm work environments, such as those which may be experienced by outdoor workers in the hot summer months. Similar considerations should be made for other weather-related issues, such as cold weather and heavy rain.

Encouraging a flexible work environment

All employees are different, and as a result may thrive in different types of work environments. To maximize the productivity and effectiveness of all its employees, businesses should try to find ways to increase workplace flexibility. This can be as simple as allowing employees to listen to music at their workstations, to bigger changes such as allowing employees to set a work schedule that will better fit their personal needs. The point is not the specific changes which are made, but rather, the fostering of a work environment in which employees feel that their own needs and input are valued and respected.

Avoid hostile work environments

Stress is a serious problem for many workers, particularly in busy office environments in which meeting deadlines is crucial to job performance. Reducing stress can be achieved in a number of different ways, but one of the easiest is discouraging intrapersonal conflict between employees, which in a worst-case scenario can lead to the development of a hostile work environment in which some workers feel that they are the targets of unfair, malicious behavior. In some cases, this type of situation can even become a legal issue, as anemployment lawyer can explain. Improving communication between employees and fostering a friendly work atmosphere can help to avoid this type of issue.

Author:Nancy Tran     Nancy Tran RSS Feed

Nancy Tran is a full-time blogger with a wide variety of personal and writing interests, specifically issues related to business, finance, and technology. Recently, she has been researching and writing on issues related to small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurship. … View full profile

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