3 Employee Health Risks All Business Owners Need To Address
With the right employees, a business can flourish, reaching new heights, fostering growth opportunities, and ultimately driving profits.
Given the importance of employee input into your business, it makes sense to ensure that your employees can perform their designated roles to the best of their ability. For most entrepreneurs, this means focusing on ensuring their staff enjoy a positive working environment, and doing all they can to ensure they get the most out of their employees on a practical level – but there is an additional area that is also worthy of consideration: employee health.
Workforce illness costs the US economy $576 billion per year, and the impact on an individual company can be staggering, leading to a loss of productivity and negatively impacting profitability as a result. In an effort to address the issue of employee health, below, we’ve compiled three key areas that require a particular focus from all entrepreneurs.
#1 – Posture and comfort
It is often assumed that working at a desk is an “easy” job in a physical sense; after all, desk work means sitting in a chair, which is hardly the most physically strenuous activity. However, sitting in a chair can be harmful to the human musculoskeletal system, especially if people sit for long periods without a break. This means your employees are at risk of developing muscle aches and pains, and even RSI, just from basic desk work.
It’s therefore important to consider the office furniture you purchase carefully and, most importantly of all, encourage all employees to stand up, move around, and stretch every 15 minutes. Many employers shy away from doing this due to concerns over movement impacting productivity, but try to see this as an investment for the future: while employee movement is mildly disruptive in the moment, your business will benefit from ensuring employees avoid posture and muscular-related issues that lead to absenteeism in future.
#2 – Hearing
If your employees work in a loud environment – such as a construction site, or in close proximity to heavy machinery – then there is an onus on you, as the employer, to protect their hearing. In fact, if you don’t explore types of hearing protection and provide them to all employees, there’s a good chance that your employees could sue you in the future. As a result, seek to provide hearing protection, liaising with your local authority to ensure all equipment provided is compliant with current health and safety legislation.
#3 – Stress
Finally, mental health is a crucial concern for all employers, with stress estimated to cost employers over $300 billion a year. As with most forms of mental illness, when it comes to stress, prevention is better than cure, so avoid overloading employees wherever possible. It’s also helpful to learn to identify the signs of stressed employees, as this provides the opportunity to intervene and prevent the issue from worsening to the point it becomes chronic.
By focusing on the three areas above, you should be able to ensure that your workforce are always at their best – which is hugely beneficial to your employees as individuals, and your business as a whole.