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The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes when it comes to our health and how we interact with one another. For many offices around the country, the desire not to contract a virus required social distancing, which meant many companies needed to send their staff home to work remotely.
Now that vaccines are proving effective, many businesses are having their employees come back. But, no matter how much things are beginning to look normal again, the need to preserve our health is still always in the back of our minds.
As a place of business, it is your responsibility to promote employee health and provide a safe place to call home for the eight-hour workday.
Not only will this initiative lead to happier employees, but healthy workers also typically call out less often in addition to being more productive and efficient.
As you bring your staff back to work, consider these health issues and some tips to make your teams feel safe.
While we’re seeing a decline in the effects of COVID-19, we aren’t quite out of the woods just yet. Until everyone is vaccinated, there is still the chance of getting the virus, so some employees are understandably skittish about returning to work. This is why it is important for management to have an open-door policy so employees can express their fears without feeling judged.
If an employee is not yet ready to return, think about an alternative work arrangement so they can remain part of the team.
To protect your staff against the dangers of the coronavirus, stick to the guidelines recommended by the CDC. That means requiring the use of cloth face masks if you feel the need and enforcing social distancing. If you work in an especially cramped office, consider implementing multiple different shifts throughout the day, so everyone isn’t working right next to each other.
If you can still allow remote working, you may want to do so until the pandemic situation is more contained. Also, to prevent germs via coughs and sneezes from spreading, consider installing plastic dividers between the desks.
It is important to sanitize the entire office every night, especially the dirtiest places, which include cubicles and desktops, bathrooms, the kitchen and break area, and all door handles. All bathroom soap dispensers should be refilled whenever necessary and hand sanitizer dispensers should be installed in all common areas, including the halls and break rooms. When it comes to choosing the best cleaning products and following the most efficient cleaning procedures, follow the advice provided by the CDC.
While companies want to do everything they can to eliminate the chances of their staff getting sick, there are many physical actions that we complete in the office every day that could also be damaging to your health.
For instance, the way we sit could be straining our spine and neck. To prevent injuries, companies should supply ergonomic chairs that force the individual to sit in such a way that their entire body is properly aligned. When sitting at a desk, employees should be instructed to sit straight up with their arms bent at 90-degrees and their computer monitor at such an angle that they don’t have to bend their neck to work.
Speaking of the computer monitor, it can be easy to forget just how often we stare at our screens and how bad continuous viewing can be for our eyes. Looking at our work for too long without a break can lead to eye strain, nearsightedness, and blurred vision. To prevent this, recommend a steadfast rule of having each employee stop every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Caution is also required for those who work outdoors, as the UV light from the sun can cause damage to the cornea and retina of the eye and lead to permanent damage. If outdoor work is necessary, employers should provide their staff with extensive eyecare plans so they can get their annual checkups and UV-blocking contact lenses and other corrective lenses.
While providing ergonomic furniture and clean desks is essential, a business can really help its workforce thrive by creating a culture of safety. A company can show that it cares by providing perks like healthy snacks and drinks in the breakroom and encouraging the staff to get up once an hour to walk around to get the blood flowing.
Your company may also have to evaluate the current health insurance plan to ensure that it is affordable and that it covers physical wellbeing as well as dental, vision, and mental health.
A great way to encourage your staff to stay active and healthy is by implementing a wellness program where employees are rewarded by meeting certain performance thresholds.
A great perk is a reduced health insurance premium that will allow healthier employees to pay less out of their paycheck every month. The company can also host wellness retreats, hikes, and other group activities to encourage the activity we all need to stay fit.
In addition to physical health, companies should also create initiatives to encourage strong mental health as well. Right now, many working parents are also watching their kids at home as they learn through remote schooling.
It can be very stressful to balance work and home responsibilities; your company can help by allowing flexible schedules where the employees can start their work later in the day or leave earlier so they can take care of things at home.
By promoting a work-life balance, your staff will realize that their management team has their best interests at heart.
Promoting employee health in the office is easier than it sounds. By listening to your employees, offering encouragement, and creating the safest environment possible, you can keep your staff in tip-top shape, and they will be happier for it.
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