Businesses depend on a healthy, productive workforce. But workforces are rarely as healthy as we’d like. In fact, many businesses suffer from workforces that are decidedly unhealthy. And that has ramifications for the whole business. Workers have more days off sick. They’re less motivated to work hard while they are at work. And for some employers, there can be a whole range of medical expenses that need to be covered by company health insurance. But does it have to be like this? Of course not. There are dozens of things that businesses can do to ensure the health of their employees. Here are just a few examples of what can be done.
One of the biggest issues for workers is a poor work/life balance. This, of course, is nothing new. But what is new is the idea that long hours themselves can seriously hamper the health of workers. It not so much the conditions in the workplace. It’s the fact that workers don’t have as much time to do things that make them healthier. Workers who have to work long hours are less likely to eat healthy food. They just don’t have enough time. They’re also less likely to spend time with their friends and family, again because they don’t have time. This matters because research has shown that people who spend time with others are healthier and happier.
We like to think that the water that we drink these days is perfectly clean. But this is far from the truth. Berkey water filters test results show that water regularly contains heavy metals like lead and cadmium. And these metals can cause severe problems for worker health. For example, lead consumption has been linked to around 143,000 deaths per year around the world. And the World Health Organisation has said that there is no safe level of lead consumption. Worryingly, lead consumption can result in severe effects on the brain. And it can affect worker state of mind.
Working Into The Evening
The human body evolved over millions of years. During that time, it built up a very close relationship with the cycles of the Earth. The most important cycle and the one we’re most familiar with is the day and night cycle. Our bodies have developed complex systems to help us manage the day and night cycle and stay healthy. But modern work doesn’t care all that much about circadian rhythms. Many businesses expect employees to work into the evening. And this affects natural sleep patterns.
For starters, workers are exposed to artificial light, either from computers or lights. And this artificial light disrupts their circadian rhythm. Less rhythm means fewer quality hours sleep. And fewer quality hours of sleep increases the risk of things like diabetes and obesity.
Some businesses have made changes to the food on offer at the company canteen. But most continue to serve up the same processed food that they always did. This food is bad for worker health and reduces performance. Over the long term, it also increases the number of visits employees have to make to the medical room.