Unhealthy work situations are all too common for workers in today’s employment arena. Employees are significantly more likely to suffer from a variety of mental and physical health issues than they are to return home feeling energized and healthy. While physical health has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, mental health is finally receiving its due. Physical and mental health are inextricably linked, and both must be present for full wellness to be achieved. Establishing a great place to work for everyone by improving the overall work environment is an effective strategy to keep staff healthy.
Obvious Health Risks
Economically active people spend roughly one-third of their time at work. Heat, noise, dust, dangerous chemicals, unsafe machines, and psychological stress all contribute to occupational disorders and can exacerbate existing health problems. People who work under stress or in unstable jobs are more likely to smoke, exercise less, and eat unhealthy foods.
All workers, especially those in high-risk occupations, like those who are exposed to a variety of potentially hazardous working circumstances like exposure to chemical and biological hazards, require health services to assess and decrease exposure to occupational risks, as well as medical surveillance for early diagnosis of occupational and work-related diseases and accidents. Repetitive strain injuries have been connected to workplace and task arrangements associated with repetitive labour.
Good working circumstances can provide social security and prestige, as well as possibilities for personal development and protection from physical and emotional risks. They can also boost employee social relations and self-esteem, as well as have a good impact on their health.
For most employees and their families, employment earnings are the primary source of financial resources for purchasing health-improving goods and services. Other key material resources, such as pensions, health insurance coverage, and even unemployment insurance eligibility, are likewise directly linked to employers.
Workplace satisfaction, dedication, trust, and lower turnover rates are all linked to an employee's perception of workplace justice, according to numerous studies. Fairness, justice, and impartiality are important aspects of trust. Fairness is concerned with whether employees believe they are competing on an equal footing. This, in turn, has a direct effect on employees’ health and wellness.
Employers should adopt policies and procedures that promote workplace fairness, justice, and equal rights for all. This includes work distribution, salary, and advancement opportunities.
Employees in the commercial and governmental sectors are governed by the Fair Labor Regulations Act (FLSA) of 1938, which established minimum wage and overtime compensation standards. An employee is entitled to take the “law into their hands” if they can prove an FLSA willful violation, as discussed in a blog post from Baird Quinn LLC. The evidence must establish that the employer not only violated the FLSA but also that the employer knew or exhibited reckless disregard for whether its actions violated the FLSA.
Working Hours and Work-Life Balance
The timing and regularity of working hours and schedules is another facet of employment that has garnered attention. Shift work sleep disorder and other physical health problems have been related to the rise in nonstandard work hours and the shift to a 24/7 economy. Long work hours are linked to negative health outcomes and employers need to recognize the need for employees to have time to spend with family and friends. Employees should not be made to feel guilty for needing time to take children or elderly relatives to the doctor, for example.
When choosing a company or organization to work for, employees need to consider more than just compensation and advancement chances – psychological and physical health is paramount too. Employee productivity is affected by weariness, energy exhaustion, and loss of attention, which can lead to heart problems and mental health problems as the number of hours worked increases.
Sadly, the focus is still on medical treatment rather than prevention, but primary care centers should provide critical interventions for protecting workers' health, such as advice on improving working environments, diagnosis of occupational diseases, and worker health surveillance.