Owning and managing a business can be difficult. Not only do you need to worry about keeping numbers up, but you also need to worry about your employees and the workplace environment you provide for them.
Is it safe? Is it healthy? Is it clean?
While it may seem secondary to running a business, these factors play a huge rule in keeping your employees happy at work. And studies show that unhappy employees are significantly less productive.
However, how do you go about running a successful business by focusing on the big picture stuff while ensuring that you provide a healthy and safe work environment for your staff?.
Tips for a Healthier and Safer Work Environment
When most people think about health, we immediately picture healthy foods and exercise equipment. While those things are important, that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.
Instead, we’re going to focus on the aspects of a clean and safe space that promote a healthy work environment. You can’t control how healthy your staff is in their personal lives, but you can certainly take control of and limit any risk factors in the workplace!.
Follow along to find out how.
1. Set Clear Hygiene Standards for Employees
First, in order to keep everyone happy and healthy at work, you need to set clear boundaries about what is and isn’t acceptable for workplace hygiene. Like we mentioned above, you can’t dictate what people do at home, but you can enforce a standard level of hygiene employees must conform to at work.
This includes coming to work clean and in fresh clothes, wearing deodorant, etc. Everyone has gone to school with, worked with, or been friends with the smelly guy. It’s unpleasant and awkward but totally avoidable.
However, hygiene standards in a work environment also including washing your hands after using the bathroom, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and making sure you keep your germs to yourself.
Another way you can promote health in your work environment is by providing easily accessibly hand sanitizing stations. These don’t have to be elaborate stations, all you need is thoughtfully placed hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the workspace.
You can get the refillable dispensers that attach to the walls or use simple disposable bottles. You could even take it a step further and provide each person with their own little container they can keep at their desk or in their pocket.
2. Hire Professional Cleaners
Next, a major aspect of creating a healthier and safer work environment rest entirely on how well it’s cleaned. Breakrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and other common areas are giant hubs for germs and bacteria. If not sanitized properly, these areas can spread illnesses like wildfire throughout the workplace.
Kitchens and breakrooms constantly see food and drinks, therefore, becoming a high-risk zone for messes. These messes may not seem like a big deal, but can quickly lead to a pest infestation if not dealt with properly.
Additionally, bathrooms left unsanitized will become foul and off-putting for your staff. It will also lead to the spread of germs and disease.
It’s always a good idea to hire a professional cleaning crew to help your business out. More often than not, they’ll do a 10-times better job than your employees. Besides, your employees have more important things to worry about than cleaning out the microwave or sanitizing the toilet.
However, an unclean workspace will make employees feel on edge and uncomfortable, inhibiting them from working at their full capacity.
3. Send Sick Employees Home to Rest
No boss wants to be the bad guy. However, if you’ve got a sick employee, you need to consider the health of the rest of your staff. Even an adept sleeve-cougher and obsessive hand-sanitizer can spread germs around the entire work environment.
Having one employee out sick is bad enough, imagine losing half of your staff to a cold epidemic that plows through your business. It’s much easier to dismiss one under-the-weather employee than to deal with the fallout of an entire staff sick with the flu.
Additionally, working with a sick employee will make the rest of your staff nervous, as they don’t want to get sick any more than you do.
4. Keep the Workspace Clutter-Free
Part of maintaining a safe work environment means looking after your staff’s physical well-being, not just their health. For example, you can’t allow clutter to build up in the workplace, as it could pose a serious safety risk.
For example, if there are backpacks, carts, or other obstacles clogging up walkways, someone could easily trip, especially if they’re in a hurry or preoccupied. Additionally, a cluttered desk or counter could lead to things spilling or falling off, creating more slip and fall risks or crushing people’s toes.
Finally, a clutter-free and clean work environment has shown to lead to greater productivity.
5. Promote Employee Mental Health
Finally, as an owner or manager, you need to concern yourself with your employees’ mental health and safety. Part of this involves keeping the peace amongst your staff. A negative or toxic work environment can have extremely negative side effects on employee morale and attitude.
Additionally, you need to make sure you are taking care of your staff’s emotional needs. This includes providing adequate time for breaks, employee counseling, and conflict resolution when necessary.
It’s also important to be an approachable leader. Make sure employees feel safe talking to you about their issues. Don’t become the boss who overreacts to the small minutia throughout the day or takes out his/her stress on their employees.
Set the example of how you would like your employees to behave and treat one another in your work environment.
Start Improving Health and Safety Today…
Creating a healthy and safe work environment isn’t complicated. It does, however, take time, dedication, and teamwork from your entire staff.
Get started today. Sit your employees down and have a discussion with them about the changes you want to implement and why.