The Weird Ways Work Damages Employees’ Health (And How To Fight Back)

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As an employer, you like to believe that you’re providing a safe and happy environment for your colleagues. And, by traditional standards, you probably are. There is no asbestos lurking behind your walls, or dangerous diesel fumes filling their lungs. 

But keeping people who work for you healthy is actually more challenging than many bosses realize. It’s not just about taking care of the big things but also attending to the little things as well. 

Back And Postural Issues

Most modern-day employees spend the lion’s share of their day sitting down in the same posture. And that can actually lead to changes in the structure of their bodies. Over time, the bones, ligaments, and muscles change shape, causing them to develop back problems, muscle imbalances, and even a stoop. 

Eventually, these health issues will make it difficult for them to work and lead to an increase in sick days. So what can you do about it? Here are some simple solutions: 

  • Invest in ergonomic chairs and standing desks
  • Organize daily stretching or yoga classes to keep people moving
  • Host walking meetings
  • Look for ways to reduce desk-based work

Air Quality Issues

Here’s another problem that modern office managers tend to overlook: the quality of the ambient air. 

Air quality in offices isn’t guaranteed. Particles from both the office itself and polluted city environments outside can cause all kinds of issues for workers. These include allergies, lung, and breathing problems, as well as overall inflammation. 

Investing in an air purification system can help because it collects these particles as they travel through the air. Usually, you can retrofit these to your existing HVAC, helping to purify the air, no matter how dirty it is outside. 

Psychological Health Issues

When it comes to psychological health issues, workers are often their own worst enemies. They believe that they have to perform, no matter what. And it can take a terrible toll on the rest of their lives. 

The trick here is to find managerial ways of compensating for this. One option is to regularly remind employees to look after their own wellbeing and not think 100 percent about the company. A lot of bosses take the view that employees should sacrifice themselves for the good of the firm because they are making money. But this just hurts the brand in the long-run. People become burned out and can no longer offer their best. 

Psychological issues are often difficult to detect. They tend to build and build on the inside until the person eventually breaks. Telltale signs include things like uncharacteristically sloppy work and a cynical attitude towards customers. Dealing with these problems typically requires recalibration, a break from work, and mindfulness practices. It may also require changing the incentive structure at your firm. 

In summary, therefore, work can actually harm employees a great deal. The challenge for management teams is to identify and address issues before they become too severe. Many employees experience profound burnout when they allow themselves to commit too much to their jobs. They need a broader and deeper perspective.