Four Ways To Create A Healthy Work Environment
By: Benjamin Laker
Research completed this year suggests that nearly half of all workers are unhappy with their jobs, more than 50% feel stressed, and 25% have considered quitting. This may explain why there are 11 million job openings in the United States that remain unfilled according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Britain, available jobs now outnumber unemployed people for the first time on record. Also, approximately 4.7% of jobs go unfilled in America while 3% of jobs go unoccupied in European Union countries.
When you spend the majority of your time at work, it’s essential to have a healthy environment. It’s no secret that a healthy work environment is crucial to both our physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, studies have shown that happy employees are more productive, have lower levels of stress, and are more likely to stick around at their jobs. Conversely, an unhealthy work environment can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Establishing an effective work-life balance
According to the founders of OSIS, Chris Goma and Jalal Ibrahimi, not all workplaces are created equal. “A healthy workplace is not a privilege. It’s a right. It’s a fundamental need like food and shelter. When we don’t have access to these things, our health and wellbeing suffer,” Goma told me over email. Ibrahimi added, “when you have a healthy work environment, you are more likely to be productive, creative, and happy.”
Both executives believe a healthy work environment is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. “If you’re unhappy with your current situation, don’t be afraid to speak up or make a change. Your health is worth it,” said Goma. His family fled Rwanda during the infamous genocides when his mother was still pregnant with him, eventually settling in Canada. Ibrahimi, originally from Afghanistan, also emigrated to Canada. Now aged 27, Goma and Ibrahimi are committed to ensuring workers everywhere can access a healthy work environment. “We want to equip people with the tools they need to create a healthy workplace for themselves,” said Ibrahimi. “No one should have to sacrifice their health for their job.”
Their latest market offering, a VISA-backed neo-bank, CoinCare, which has helped thousands of small business owners recover after the pandemic, provides advice and resources on creating healthy workplaces. “We want to empower people to take control of their health and wellbeing,” said Goma.
MORE FROM FORBES ADVISOR
But what about burnout?
According to MIT Mentor in Residence, Terence Mauri, the problem is that workers are tired. “Zoom fatigue. Meeting fatigue. Collaboration fatigue,” he articulated via email. According to Mauri, Hack Future Lab research shows that “76% of workers struggle to focus on what really matters, and 66% report the risk of burnout.” Mauri continued, “everybody is talking about Quiet Quitting, but what about lousy leading?” His research revealed that after family, the most crucial factor for a worker’s satisfaction is their direct relationship with their boss. However, 77% of workers claim their seniors cause the most stress. According to Mauri, quiet quitting and its close cousin, anxiety and disengagement, are responsible for $7 trillion in lost productivity for companies annually.
CxO: C-suite news, analysis, and advice for top decision makers right to your inbox.Sign Up
Katja Einola, a former program manager at Ericsson, turned professor of the Stockholm School of Economics and her co-author, William Degbey, a professor of the University of Vaasa in Finland, agree with Mauri. Both academics suggest that healthy, well-performing teams can build resilience from mundane yet crucial everyday teamwork challenges. Their research, consistent with that of Hack Future Lab, demonstrates that even members of geographically dispersed virtual teams can proactively engage in team resilience-building practices such as self-reflection, regulation of emotional expression, and engagement in concrete actions promoting team inclusion — that in turn help these groups become more robust and prepared to face new adversities.
So, how can you apply these empirical findings and create a healthy work environment for yourself and your team? Goma and Ibrahimi provide four recommendations.
1. Encourage open communication
Make sure that everyone feels comfortable communicating with each other. Encourage workers to share their ideas and concerns openly. For example, you could hold regular team meetings where everyone has a chance to share their thoughts.
2. Promote collaboration
Encourage workers to work together towards common goals. For example, you could create project teams where people from different departments collaborate to work on a common goal. When colleagues feel like they are part of a team, they are more likely to be motivated and productive.
3. Encourage healthy living
Promote a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your team — including healthy eating, exercising regularly, and sleeping sufficiently. To help these activities, you could hold monthly wellness challenges or offer discounts for gym memberships.
4. Create a positive work-life balance
Make sure that you are taking time for yourself outside of work. This includes hobbies, spending time with family and friends, and vacations. For example, you could offer flexible work hours or allow people to work from home occasionally.
In summary, plenty of companies out there understand the importance of a healthy work environment, and they’re reaping the benefits. Employees who feel supported and valued are more engaged, productive, and loyal. So, if you’re unsure where to start, take a cue from these entrepreneurs and researchers and make your workplace healthy, today!