Every day, workers around the globe face diverse wellness challenges that affect how they work. These can be issues related to physical health, mental health, or pain that impacts their ability to perform their best. There will be challenges for your company and employees to combat, and it will be important to know how to address them. Here are six of the most common wellness challenges and some first steps you can take in resolving them.
One of the most pervasive wellness challenges is chronic pain. This often comes in the form of musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. Sitting too long, standing too long, or doing repetitive motions can all contribute to muscular pain. The pain commonly occurs in the back, shoulders, neck, arms, or legs. It can drastically reduce productivity and morale, as it leads to presenteeism and absenteeism. High costs can come from workers’ compensation claims, medical bills, needed time off, and ultimately employee turnover.
How can you stop chronic pain in its tracks or prevent it in the first place? Start with ergonomic workstations, including good chairs and even sitting-standing desks. You should encourage your employees to take regular breaks and to stretch often. You can also make a great investment in a program that addresses chronic pain directly. DORN provides onsite deep tissue therapy treatment that reduces or eliminates pain and helps prevent future pain.
Not Enough Physical Activity
Jobs these days often involve a lot of sitting and minimal movement. Extended sitting is a major health problem, as is not getting enough physical activity. A healthy lifestyle should involve plenty of exercise and as little sitting as possible.
To address this wellness concern, you may want to see about providing an onsite gym or giving employees access to a local gym. You can also encourage employees to move around during breaks, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park farther away from the front entrance. If you want a fun way to get employees involved in physical health, set up some company-wide stretching routines or fitness challenges. Employees can use apps to track how many steps they take each day, or perhaps workers can join in a weekly or monthly soccer match. Get creative and try to have fun.
The counterpart to adequate exercise is a healthy diet. Unfortunately, busy work schedules are often not conducive to quality lunches. How many times have you or a co-worker eaten lunch at the desk? How many times have you missed lunch entirely? When employees do commit to getting a meal, it can often come from a fast food restaurant and is eaten in a rush.
What can you do to help? First, encourage or even require employees to take their lunch break each day. They should leave their desk during this break. While 30 minutes is the standard in many corporations, consider extending it to a full 60 minutes so that everyone has time to get a good meal without rushing. You can also make sure the company cafeteria or break room is stocked with healthy options. Most people want to eat well, and it’s important that they have the time and opportunity to do so.
A major but often ignored wellness issue is fatigue. In our busy world, many people don’t get enough sleep at night, overwork themselves, and don’t take off time even when they need it. When employees are tired, it affects them both physically and mentally. Fatigue leads to diminished focus, alertness, decision-making, productivity, and efficiency. It can lead to lowered quality of work and even accidents and injuries.
It’s vital that employees get enough sleep at night. While you can’t control that in your workers, you can provide a wellness program that addresses the importance of rest. Encourage your workers to get involved in a wellness challenge; they can use apps to keep track of their progress. If you’re particularly open-minded and the layout of your office permits it, you could also allow employees to take quick naps if needed. One nap can go a long way in improving alertness and productivity.
For many years mental health has been under-addressed, although more recently things have been moving in the right direction. Mental health issues can include depression, anxiety, and more. Depending on the employee, this can affect the ability to focus, make good decisions, or keep up on work. Mental health can also impact physical health.
Provide wellness programs or workplace health programs that address mental health. It’s important that all employees understand symptoms and how to seek help. If you can, provide insurance coverage for mental health professionals so employees can get the treatment they need. You may also encourage employees to be open with you so that you can be flexible in helping them address their mental health needs. Employees may need to modify their schedule, workload, or work environment.
Depending on the kind of work environment and type of work your employees do, they will likely face some kinds of safety hazards. These risks can come from machinery, slippery floors, or any number of other hazards. People can get hurt, and it’s imperative that this risk is averted.
The most important step is in providing all employees with thorough training and accurate information about the risks they may face. You might also need to alter the environment or update your company’s tools and machinery to ensure that it is safe and in good working order. Post signs warning employees to be cautious.
There are plenty of wellness and safety challenges present in any workplace, and it’s important that you are able to identify what these challenges are. Once you do so, you will be better prepared to address each one. Make sure your employees are educated about the wellness issues they may encounter and encourage them to visit their doctors regularly. Provide wellness programs at work, and see if your employees are up for friendly work challenges between each other. Wellness challenges exist, but you can overcome them with the right preparation and information.