Investing in Employee Health: 8 Changes You Can Make

As the workplace returns to something resembling normal, many people still harbor concerns about the novel coronavirus. The threat hasn’t disappeared despite widespread exhaustion with social distancing measures. 

As an employer, protecting worker safety means safeguarding your assets, regardless of how labor costs reflect on your corporate balance sheet. You wouldn’t stay in business for long without your staff, and keeping your star players around saves you countless money in the long run.

Here are eight changes you can make to invest in employee health. 

1. Install More Sanitizer Stations

The best way to prevent infection, not only from the novel coronavirus but also everyday cold and flu germs, is to practice proper hygiene. However, it’s costly to install additional sinks for handwashing. 

A more cost-effective solution entails making hand sanitizer stations widely available throughout your facility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a 60% to 95% alcohol solution, and the FDA recall list of hastily manufactured versions continues to grow. Please ensure the ones you select meet minimum standards and keep an ample supply stocked.

2. Change Your Filters

Your indoor air can harbor all sorts of bacteria and viruses, and failure to change your filters can result in scores of workers calling in sick. Make sure your maintenance crew manages this necessary task without skipping a beat. 

You could also save yourself thousands of dollars with this maintenance. Dirty air filters contribute to machine failure and decrease production efficiency. Spending a few extra pennies now can spare you the expense of replacing your HVAC system. 

3. Embrace Natural Lighting 

You wear sunscreen before hitting the beach, but artificial light also emits ultraviolet and infrared radiation. The blue light wavelength emitted from device screens can disrupt human hormonal function and lead to adverse health effects. 

The solution? Allow for natural light whenever possible by removing blinds and installing one-way window film. Embrace skylights. While some artificial lighting is inevitable, avoid glaring overhead fluorescents that can trigger migraines in sufferers. Tabletop lamps and track lighting with compact fluorescents or LED bulbs direct illumination where you most need it. 

4. Dampen the Din 

Stilettos on tile or concrete flooring can create a head-splitting racket. The CDC estimates that 22 million workers risk exposure to potentially dangerous noise levels daily. If your ears ring after strolling the production floor, you need to implement measures to dampen the din.

One method involves installing carpeting. Suspended drop ceilings cut echoes and reduce noise substantially. If you have areas where machinery makes you shout to be heard, keep supplies of disposable earplugs handy. 

5. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture

Sitting in a poorly designed chair for eight hours a day, every day, can create chronic back pain and contribute to conditions like degenerative disk disease. Invest in ergonomic furniture — and give your employees a say in the selection. 

Some folks with pre-existing conditions benefit from sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair — they can lean back and stretch their lumbar region as necessary. Others might adore a variable-height model that lets them segue from sitting to standing. Everybody has unique characteristics — if you go with traditional chairs, make sure they adjust to fit.

6. Open the Windows 

A nearly effortless way to improve your facility’s indoor air quality is to throw up the sash. According to Joseph G. Allen, an assistant professor, and director of the Healthy Building program at Harvard, improved ventilation led to higher test scores across nine cognitive domains, including planning and strategic decision-making. 

If your windows don’t open, consider models that do when it comes time to replace yours. While you don’t necessarily need to undertake a full facility upgrade during a recession, you should note the need for future improvements. 

7. Upgrade Your Cleaning Procedures

You need to make sure your cleaning crew follows updated procedures in today’s COVID-19 world. They need to pay diligent attention to high touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches to prevent the infection’s spread. They must also ensure their products make the EPA list of acceptable agents for the novel coronavirus. 

Even the best crews can’t keep up with high traffic. If your facility sees frequent visitors, invest in additional wipes and disinfectant sprays to use periodically after contact with outsiders. 

8. Offer Health Insurance Coverage and Paid Leave, If Possible 

According to the CDC, you should advise workers to stay home if they experience flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, if calling in sick means facing eviction from insufficient rent money, survival triage demands that they punch in regardless. 

If you have it in the budget, please consider expanding paid leave and health benefits to all staff members, including part-time and regular contractors. Financial strain can take a toll on worker productivity, and hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to face bankruptcy over medical bills each year. 

These 8 Changes Can Significantly Improve Employee Health 

The eight changes above can significantly improve your staff’s health. Please implement these measures to care for your most precious business asset — your team. 

About the Author:

Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded. He writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Follow @TModded on Twitter for more articles from the Modded team.

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