6 Work Environment Factors That Affect Employees’ Health

Employees depend upon the workplace environment for the quality of their work. Their morale thrives under a positive and constructive environment, which can take a severe plunge if it is otherwise.

Many organizations today struggle with creating an environment that benefits their employees and their mental and physical health. There are many reasons behind the workplace not being good for an employee, including workplace politics, lack of good leadership, poor organizational infrastructure, etc. 

If employees experience a caring and fair environment where they are valued as an asset to the organization, you’ll see that they’ll enjoy good health, bringing the best out of them. 

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Workplaces that ensure employee safety (physical, emotional, and mental) and instill mutual respect among coworkers see productivity increase. Moreover, it also creates a constructive environment for everyone.

Here are some work environment factors that affect employees’ health:

  • Organizational Infrastructure Problems

Organizational infrastructure can significantly impact the health of employees in the workplace. Problems like poor work policies for employees, not well-defined processes, micromanagement, etc., make employees feel uneasy, which can have a detrimental impact on their mental health. 

On the other hand, good administration and organizational infrastructure gives employees a feeling of great relief, and they feel valued and an asset to the organization.

It is imperative that businesses should hire or prefer HR managers with an online health and safety degree as they make employee-friendly policies ensuring the well-being of the employees to get maximum output from them, which will benefit the organization and its overall operations.

  • Job Design – Dynamic of Work Control

Job design is an employee’s job description and the mechanism by which they are to achieve a set of goals. Employees, generally, have little to no control over their job design. 

The company already determines it before a job posting. This makes employees feel less to no control over their work. Which ultimately affects their mental health and leads to lower productivity. 

So how can an organization execute a corrective measure to deal with this factor? One great way of doing so is by providing more autonomy to employees to chart out their own ways and strategies to meet their KPIs. Moreover, instilling fluidity and discouraging micromanagement are essential factors to consider.

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  • Workplace Competition 

A great way to unwind after a long day at work is to spend time with those you love. Your family, friends, and other close relationships in life have a way of lifting your mood. Research also indicates that any form of social support has a corrective impact on employee health by reducing psychological stress and exhaustion. 

Positive workplace relationships are also suitable for an employee’s health. However, it becomes challenging due to a competitive working model and demanding schedules. For example, the employee of the month title might be an excellent way of increasing employees’ productivity. However, it also creates a hostile work dynamic between them because of all the competition. 

Moreover, a workplace environment where the relationship between employees and employers is merely transactional and employees are only treated as a means to an end affects employee health adversely. Lack of social and emotional support leads to depression, stress, hypertension, and alcoholism. 

  • Overtime and Hours Worked

One big misconception surrounding performance is that the more hours you put into your work, the more you perform and the more you are dedicated to your organization. While this might be true in some cases, it is often misleading. 

The greater the amount of time an employee dedicates to a task, the lower their productivity is. Hence, there is a negative relationship between both these factors. Moreover, long work hours adversely affect employees’ mental and physical well-being. It can lead to diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and disability. 

Employers must acknowledge the health risks that accompany overtime and long work hours and enact discouraging rules and regulations for those who follow them. 

Employees should be encouraged to go home on time and spend time with their loved ones rather than working till 10 pm at the office. Moreover, those who complete their assigned work on time should be allowed to leave after submitting it to their line managers. 

  • Poor Work/Life Balance

The trade-off between work commitment and personal commitment has always been problematic. A poor work/life balance leads to emotional and mental health problems and often impacts an employee’s productivity. 

Work/life balance is essential for the well-being of an employee. As discussed in the last two points, social support and avoiding overtime positively affect an employee’s health. Working only during office hours and dedicating your ample time to your family and friends will help you reach a good mental space, and you’ll see that you’ll feel much less stress. 

Employees should ensure that employers are aware of all the personal commitments that an employee has and is willing to be flexible to ensure that they can celebrate important moments with their loved ones. Happy employees will bring a lot more productivity and performance to the table.

  • Poor Economic Security and Layoffs

Poor economic security and layoff are among the most influential factors on employee health. Nothing can be more stressful for an employee than knowing they aren’t safe in their job. 

Downsizing can cause hypertension and severe anxiety in employees. When they see their colleagues getting laid off, they often expect them to be the next person on the list. 

An economic downturn or recession often leads to layoffs; however, organizations must enact policies that they avoid at all costs. They could deduct the salary of the senior management by a uniform percentage, as they can afford to have their salaries reduced, and ensure that the executives and other small-scale workers are given their entire paychecks. After things smooth over, the company can reinstate the salaries of the senior management, give them bonuses, and maybe even a vacation.

Bottom Line

Employees usually bear the brunt of the ineffective policies and structure of the organization. Inflexible policies and principles, job design, extra work, and lack of job security can harm an employee’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Organizations need to invest in corrective measures to reduce the impact of these factors on employee health.