As an employer in the UK, you’ll probably encounter a lot of people who dream of working outside the confines of the cubicle-bound office environment. And though it’s certainly admirable to aspire to the lifestyle of a digital nomad or self-made entrepreneur, there are still many professions where office work remains a necessary feature of the job.
This doesn’t mean that we have to accept the current situation, though. Most workplaces around the country could use some improvement. A 2018 survey raised significant concerns about the level of comfort and occupational health among UK-based office workers. Here are some of the common occupational risks for your office workers, and how you can help address these concerns.
Some of the most commonly reported issues among office workers are musculoskeletal disorders, particularly in the back, shoulders, and neck. On average, nearly half of office workers spend 6 to 9 hours each day seated at their desks; it’s easy to see how this amount of time spent in uncomfortable positions and performing repetitive movements will lead to such health issues. Invest in ergonomic office chairs and other furniture for your London office to have an immediate impact on daily comfort and well-being among your employees.
The amount of time workers spend at their desks creates an alarming average of 67 sedentary days each year per employee. Long working hours and a tendency to indulge in unhealthy snacks can further increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Devise an office program to improve fitness and promote a healthy diet. You can encourage workers to take extra breaks for physical exercise or offer discounted gym memberships for their leisure activity, for instance.
A lot of work in the office involves prolonged exposure to computer monitors and other device screens. This can lead to temporary problems such as eye strain, and increase the risk of long-term issues such as glaucoma. To prevent vision problems, take measures to reduce glare and reflection in the office, and use monitors with user-friendly adjustable controls. See to it that workers also get periodic vision breaks to rest their eyes; they can continue to do tasks which don’t involve staring at computer screens.
Sick building syndrome
Poor indoor air can give rise to a variety of symptoms, collectively known as “sick building syndrome”. Emissions from printers and copy machines, chemicals used in painting and cleaning, and poor building ventilation are among the risk factors. If you notice an outbreak of symptoms among your employees, don’t just blame it on the changing UK weather – check with the building personnel and HR team to see if there’s anything that needs to be done to improve the facilities.
Mental health issues
Many workers will be quick to complain about physical symptoms, but only 13% of UK employees tend to be open about possible mental health issues. Stress, depression, and anxiety are all common workplace issues that must be dealt with. You can work with professional psychologists or other external resources to help create a work environment where employees feel free to open up about mental health without fear of a negative impact on their jobs.
When you’re a leader of people, you know that elevated morale and well-being are positively related to workforce productivity; conversely, ill health and dissatisfaction with working conditions lead to lost working hours and poor job performance. Make a difference in the right way by working to prevent these issues at your office.