First comes Safety, then Business.

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The Workplace Trends Helping Enhance Productivity in Your Business

  • Workplace health and safety.
  • Personal and building safety.
  • Ergonomics.

What do these terms mean to you? Right now you are probably thinking along the lines of - Does my office have a fire warden? Have I the correct signage for the emergency exits? Do my employees look up from their screens often enough? Is my chair at the correct height? Whilst these are all very valid considerations they are also the areas which have been getting attention since the days of perimeter offices and assigned seating. In recent years there has been a change in focus, so if you run a business and want to know what is driving the discussion on health and safety in the workplace in 2018 then keep reading….

Mental Wellness. Whilst you may realise the need to take time off to get better when you are physically ill - do you ever stop to think about your mental wellness or the mental wellness of your employees? A study by Deloitte highlighted that 84% of employees have experienced physical, psychological or behavioural symptoms of poor mental health with symptoms like depression resulting in approximately five missed working days and 11.5 days of reduced productivity every three months. Whether you are looking at your employees wellbeing or your companies bottom line - this fact is scary! It is avoidable though. Studies have shown that physical exercise can improve mental activity, and for an SMB this does not need to cost a lot. The study highlights that memory, mental health, creativity and concentration can all be improved through a little extra exercise - walk at lunch anyone?

Employee burnout. In difference to the associated symptoms and affects of poor mental health, employee burnout is caused through stress linked to an unreasonable workload and increasing work hours. In a partnership with Kronos, Forbes outlined that over a third of workers get after-hours emails from management and almost 10% of workers emails are received whilst on vacations. Although it can be viewed that technology makes certain work related responsibilities easier it is detrimental to work life balance and results in low productivity, burnout and ultimately an increase in turnover. Maintaining a work-life balance policy is an effective and easy to implement way to ensure that your employees limit their overtime. Encouraging regular breaks and active communication with other employees is also helpful to de-stress a work day. Your companies bottom line is significantly effected by the productivity of your employees so it is important to be aware of the signs and actively look to address the situation should it arise.

Active Communication. Do you ever think that you need to tell your employees to talk to each other more? Working in a time of internal messaging, instant messaging, emails and emojis it should not be forgotten that human interaction is important. A study conducted by FastCompany found that moments of conversation between co-workers increases performance by 20%, with the Economic Times uncovering the fact that 72% of employees who have a best friend at work are more satisfied with their job. Researchers for the Harvard Business Review, Mahdi Roghanizad and Vanessa K. Bohns, found that one face-to-face conversation is the equivalent to thirty-four emails. Considering the time taken to write thirty-four emails a quick chat over coffee sounds like the solution to all your problems. It is also important to consider that office design plays an integral part in office communication. Make note that Google and IBM are not just looking to be trendy, they know the impact workspaces have on interpersonal relationships and productivity.

Whilst you may think that large companies have the resources to help fight these battles with relative ease it is important to realise that whether you are a business owner, team leader or office manager you have the one main benefit they don’t - your are much closer to all your employees than they will ever be. To address issues of health and wellness in the workplace you first and foremost need to be aware they exist and secondly need to understand that processes and policies to safeguard your employees are relatively easy and cost effective to put in place. ‘First comes Safety, then Business’ is the mantra to live by when you want to fill your business with happy, productive employees.

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