April 2014 Posts

How to Keep Employees Healthy & Happy With Proven Solutions

How to Keep Employees Healthy & Happy With Proven Solutions

In this day and age when productivity is linked to an employee’s health and well-being, the actions taken by many employers to keep their valued workers in tip top health is remarkable, states a doctor commenting online. In fact, there are many businesses today that are offering workers a mental and physical lift by allowing them more time during their lunch break to exercise. For instance, there are numerous testimonials online from employees praising their boss for giving them an extra 30 minutes or more each day to “just unwind and do something healthy.”

Another aspect of businesses that have adopted ways and means to improve the healthy atmosphere at work is linked to hard data that states a fit worker is a more productive and happy worker. There is also a movement going on today for employers to counsel their works to be healthy, and offer them benefits such as a raise in pay or paid vacation time for dropping weight.

Wellness in the workplace trending

While smaller business owners can easily motivate their valued employees to work out and take extra time off because they see them every day, there is a trend in larger organizations to hire a wellness coordinator to ensure that employees are aware of healthy lifestyles. For example, a longtime business wellness coordinator commented online about noting that repetitive injuries in the workplace were caused by those workers who were not paying “close enough attention to their mental and physical wellbeing.” In turn, the coordinator tracks the effectiveness of various health promotions in the work place to see if healthy employee milestones and goals are being met.

Fighting workplace germs

There is a lot of hard data that points to employees getting sick when the workplace environment is not healthy. For instance, a wellness coordinator noted that “people who stand or sit for long periods” experience higher stress levels. There is also more absenteeism due to workers who tend to sit at their desks for an entire workday without getting up to walk, stretch or to take a mental health break. “The idea is to keep the focus on healthy lifestyles,” said the coordinator.

Moreover, the coordinator noted that harmful germs tend to flourish in today’s busy workplace where dirty surfaces become a serious breeding ground for infections and other health related problems. For example, there are now policies in businesses with employee break rooms and bathrooms that these public places are to be cleaned and disinfected regularly with proper disinfecting cleaning products and processes.

Overall, there is a trend in today’s workplace on health for valued employees who need bosses and supervisors who promote healthy lifestyles for the good of all.

Things businesses do to improve worker health

Things businesses do to improve worker health

Many businesses realize the financial and personnel benefits of adopting official health initiatives into company policy. These initiatives must entice and excite a corporate body into action. Whether through financial means, promotions, or other modes; it is often difficult to recruit a staff into a concerted effort toward a healthy workplace effort. Most employees consider themselves to be separated from their employers when it comes to personal things like health.

It is also true that most employees are seeking long-term and profitable employment. If a company and its staff can reconcile the benefits of having a fit and health-minded employee base, a greater employer-to-employee relationship will emerge. This is true for small businesses and mega-companies with vast numbers of employees.

Corporate, governmental and medical communities are quickly adopting policies and attitudes affecting common worker communities. These policies result in greater opportunities for employees to take advantage of insurance-related benefits and the incorporation of healthier and safer work spaces. Many employer strategies are becoming commonplace when creating and sustaining a safe and healthy workplace that attracts the best worker talent.

Common Health Concerns in the Workplace

Anywhere large groups of diverse individuals gather for extended periods of time presents the possibility of adverse health elements. Communicable diseases, viruses and emotional distress is common in environments housing large employee groups.

In order to combat these preventable maladies, employers are instituting “buddy” programs that train individuals for certain tasks and helps them integrate successfully into a large employee group. When it comes to communicable sicknesses, employers are starting to allow more sick days per term, and approve time-off for the conscientious safety of the entire staff.

It is much more beneficial for a worker to stay home one day with a sickness, rather than to come to work out of the fear of breaking protocol and infecting a wider cross-section of fellow workers. This is one humane and strategic way businesses are providing a healthier environment for their workers. Allowing an extra sick day without penalty is much more beneficial than allowing a workforce to be exposed to a sickness for the sake of sick day records.

Working Individuals Are Exposed To Sickness In The Strangest Places

Employees are often exposed to unhealthy things at work and through daily routines. There are hundreds of places each day where an otherwise healthy employee might come into contact with something detrimental to their health. These include:

– commuter trains, buses and public transportation
– changing rooms before and after shift
– carpool vehicles with one or more sick riders
– unclean conditions at work, especially in the food preparation, grocery and packaging trades

Compared to conditions in decades past, modern workers are presently afforded much safer and healthier work environments. This is due to the perceived benefits that employers receive for treating employees with concern, and the oversight of official agencies like OSHA.

Viruses Found in the Workplace

Anywhere a diverse number of humans interact, a large list of viruses can be found. Some are common and some are uncommon and quite dangerous. Whether it is a metropolitan office, or a meat packing warehouse; these viruses will thrive if employers don’t perform their due diligence for safety and health.

– influenza, including TB and Pertussis
– HPV (Human Papiloma Virus responsible for fungal growth and hepatic symptoms)
– the common cold
– Tetanus (from worn work tools)
– Staph and Strep infections (immune intolerance from human fluid diversities)
– numerous allergic reactions

Employer-Initiated Workplace Health Improvement

The adopting of the most stringent governmental and health agency protocols for employee behavior and task execution is now standard in the best workplaces. Employers still want the long-term loyalty and growth provided by great employees, and they are taking steps to make the workplace a carefree and safe environment.

Most businesses now require safety and health training for each employee before their first day on the job. Some extend promotions and wage increases for CPR, OSHA and CDC training outside of normal job duties. Many employees have opportunities to increase their salaries and decrease their insurance rates with commitment to weight loss and smoking cessation programs. Some businesses are even going to great lengths to work with insurance agencies that put the welfare of the worker first.

While the workplace presents the potential for health problems, the majority of reputable employers are changing their approaches to hiring based on the benefits of a healthy and happy workforce!

Keeping your Employees Healthy

Keeping your Employees Healthy

Successful businesses are increasing their focus on the health of their workers. Historically, this use to be the sole responsibility of the employee. However, the stress to perform at work compounded with the everyday issues of family /public life, job efficiency and productivity will affect any worker. A healthy employee needs to be biologically and psychologically balanced to be beneficial. This article will illustrate things businesses do to keep workers healthy. The places they get sick and things being done to ameliorate and maintain a healthy work environment.
More businesses seem to be endorsing the concept of a cafeteria with healthy menu. This Ensures that the workers have a balanced and healthy menu to choose from with limited or no junk food choices. Junk food at work have been scientifically proven to slow metabolism increase lethargic behavior, which in turns slow productivity among workers.
A good business practice is allotting the worker adequate break time at work. An efficient worker is derived not from allowing him/her to work straight through a shift, but to give adequate relax time in between. The worker will use that time in whatever way deemed suitable as long as it’s not job related.
A few take the health of their employees a step further and employ an on-site psychologist. When the pressures of the workplace and life in general becomes unbearable the worker has the choice of confiding in a professional who can assist with the various issues they have to deal with.
Other sporadically employ masseuses to physically engage their employees. This approach sometimes alleviates stressful situations.
So far, the focus has mainly been on the psychological/ biological problems and solutions of the employee in the workplace. This next list constitutes the physical places at work and in public that employees are more susceptible to illness and what is being done by businesses to lower the risks of illness.
1. Restrooms: If cleaned and sanitized regularly, for example, every half hour, its no longer is a breeding ground for germs and viruses. Consequently, there will be a reduction in some illnesses among workers
2. Front/Information Desk: This is an area of high traffic. It is usually the first point of contact for every on entering the business. Its needs hourly cleaning and a constant supply of fresh disposable napkins.
3. Cafeteria: This area that needs to adhere to strict healthy guidelines. Since it could be more or less considered a main branch properly working business it requires a constantly clean environment, clean food and hygienic workers.
4. Parks: Its location requires cleaning to be frequent and thorough due to the availability of air and water borne diseases
5. Door knobs: The entrances to all room doors are good agents for spreading illnesses. This is a very difficult medium to control and cleaning it after each use would be illogical. In this arena, education is key.
If these precautions aren’t taken there will be more incidents of employees getting sick at work with common contagious illnesses such as influenza, gastroenteritis. The more extreme yet less commonly know viruses in the workplace are c-coli, ebola and Hepatitis.
Nowadays it is a trend among businesses to aid in keeping its employees healthy. It has been proven that this approach has short and long term benefits to the company. The employee/employer relationship is improved while the employer is able to get more output for each worker.

Places not to use hands in public

Places not to use hands in public

As far as anyone knows, shaking hands or gripping the other person’s hand in a vice-like grip dates back as far as Biblical times. Yet how many times do just regular folks never give a thought to what your hands touch in public that many times contain more germs than ants at a lakeside picnic. But the question before the house of common sense suggests that most men, women and children could care less what their hands touch or when. A public toilet is probably the best example of the ignorance of hands in public. Most public facilities have doors you either open via your hand or push with your hand. The only exception would be gambling casino’s and airports where there are NO doors for your hands to touch. That said let’s review options that are currently under the microscope:

Businesses = workers = a healthy atmosphere? In California chefs and bartenders are up-in-arms about new regulations restricting them from handling ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands. That regulation became effective January, 2014. It states that with the exception of washing fruits and veggies there shall be NO contact; utensils only. Actually the “no more bare hands” rule has become viral throughout the USA. And yes, it’s in the Food and Drug Administration’s handbook.

Some of the most egregious places where people tend to fall prey to illness, flu, colds and other associated germ-laden contacts at work or outdoors in public gatherings are:

* Dirty Door Handles: The post office, workplace door handles and businesses such as banks and eating establishments top the list. However if you thought that a public restroom would be number one, you’re wrong. IF the person leaving before you failed to wash their hands and you touched the handle, bingo you may be in trouble if that handle had been touched by 10 other people who never bothered to wash their hands and were sick. Bacteria, for the most part, needs a warm, cozy spot to survive and can only survive on a hard, dry surface for two hours at most.

* At work it was found that most ALL office objects in a workers cubicle were unclean. Believe it or not your office desk is 400 times dirtier than the toilet bowl down the hall. The reasoning on this subject is that office workers don’t clean their desks, phone and computer keys on a regular basis; ergo, viruses that can cause flu and colds will be found on about on-third of all office surfaces.

Your home can be suspect, as well. When is the last time you soaked or microwaved (30 seconds only) that kitchen or bathroom scuzzy sponge or brush? Bleach and water works great, too. Also make it a point to toss the sponges in the trash after they have been used around two weeks and keep your toothbrush and stuff away from the toilet area. You have no idea how many germ families love to have the toilet flushed so they can float around contaminating everything in sight.

Finally, when using antibacterial products don’t spray the doorknobs or other handles your hands touch. Spray a couple of paper towels and then wipe. In the final analysis alcohol and bleach-based products work best at killing germs that promote dangerous bugs; even those on your hands.

Health in the work place

Health in the work place

Illness spreads quickly in the workplace. Shared surfaces, high foot traffic and a closed environment can create a reservoir for germs. If a workplace is not thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, certain viruses and bacteria may be present. Some businesses take a proactive approach to health in the workplace by encouraging healthy practices among employees and by making physical changes to the work environment.

Some places in the workplace house more germs than others. While most people assume that the bathroom is the dirtiest place in the office, kitchens and break rooms can be just as bad, if not worse. Sink faucet handles, refrigerator doors and vending machine buttons can all host high amounts of bacteria and viruses. These are spots that are often neglected during office cleaning. Germs can also accumulate on keyboards and desks. In industrial workplaces, greater square footage gives germs more surfaces to occupy, but the dirtiest places are typically the handles and buttons of frequently used machinery.

Certain bacteria and viruses are more commonly found in the workplace than others. The virus that causes rhinopharyngitis, also known as the common cold, is often found on surfaces in the workplace, especially during the winter months. The same can be said for the norovirus, often known as the flu or the “winter vomiting bug.” With respect to bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. Coli) – which can be found in human fecal matter – is typically present on certain bathroom surfaces. Less commonly found are bacteria like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is particularly dangerous because it is resistant to antibiotics.

Some businesses are more proactive than others when it comes to health in the workplace. One preventative measure that can be seen in more and more offices is the increased presence of hand sanitizer. Dispensers are placed around the workplace, making it easy for employees to quickly wash their hands. Similarly, the placement of trash cans encourages employees to throw dirty items away instead of leaving said items on their desk or around the office. Many businesses also have a daily morning and evening cleaning of the entire workplace. This goes a long way to prevent the buildup of bacteria and viruses. Finally, some businesses respond quickly to instances of illness, sending sick employees home before they can infect others.

Of course, the most effective way to keep the workplace healthy is to promote good hygiene habits among the employees. One way that businesses do this is by posting signs around the workplace reminding workers of best hygiene practices, such as keeping desks clean, washing hands frequently and cleaning up after having a meal. Occasional informational sessions on the subject of hygiene can provide additional reminders. Encouraging employees to say home if they are feeling ill is perhaps the most effective way to keep harmful germs from entering the office in the first place.

In the coming years, businesses will need to be more proactive when it comes to health in the workplace. Some bacterial infections have already become resistant to antibiotics and this trend is likely to continue. As bacteria and viruses continue to evolve, outbreaks of illness in the workplace will be increasingly destructive.

Business Offices and Health

Business Offices and Health

These days, business offices are becoming more and more focused on the health of their employees. Not only do healthy workers have better attendance, but they are more productive as well. By eliminating unhealthy risks and concentrating on promoting good health, business offices are creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Keeping Workers Healthy
There are a number of ways that business offices are promoting better health for their employees:

  • Encouraging Good Hygiene:Business offices that encourage simple things like hand washing, clean clothing, and other good hygiene practices are seeing much healthier employees. Since bathrooms are often the biggest culprit of viruses and germs, placing signs near doorways that remind employees to wash up before returning to work has become a very common practice.
  • Providing Fitness Opportunities: Many business offices are providing workers with onsite fitness facilities or memberships to the local gym in order to promote better health and fitness.
  • Providing Access to Health Professionals: A number of business offices are discovering that by encouraging workers to seek professional help when illnesses and other health issues arise, they are nipping health problems in the bud, resulting in healthier workers overall
  • Allowing More Sick Leave: By allowing workers to take off from work when they are ill, employers are not only enabling their employees to heal, but they are preventing other employees from becoming exposed to viruses as well.
  • Promoting Wellness Programs: Wellness programs are becoming more and more popular in business offices. Wellness programs encourage testing and the proper treatment of ailments so that employees can remain working or return to work much more quickly.

Areas of Exposure
While business offices are focusing on maintaining a healthier workforce, it is important for employees to consider the risks that they may encounter as well. In general, people tend to be exposed to health risks in:

  • Bathrooms: Most workplace viruses are transmitted from bathrooms in one way or another. Whether a worker comes in contact with germs and viruses while using the toilet, simply touching the doorknob, or shaking hands with someone who did not properly wash their hands after exposure, bathrooms are germ carrying villains.
  • Enclosed Areas: Areas that are used to host large numbers of people aren’t just hosts to the invited guests. Enclosed areas like meeting rooms tend to harbor a variety of germs as well.
  • Locations where workers are Exposed to Needles and Bodily Fluids: Even if worker are not continuously exposed to needles used for medications and blood draws, the risk remains. Simply coming into contact with a device that has been contaminated can be a costly encounter.

What Might You be Getting Exposed to?

  • Influenza:
  • Common Colds:
  • Hepatitus:
  • Tuburculosis:

In situations where employees health is at risk, prevention is certainly the key. Employers are concentrating their efforts on such things as:

  • Educating Employees: Teaching workers to help themselves stay healthy is well worth the time and investment.
  • Encouraging Treatment: Encouraging workers to seek help can prevent more serious illnesses later.
  • Promoting Testing: Enabling workers to have easy access to testing facilities and supplies can greatly reduce the risk of major health issues in the long term.