You may not believe your employer is concerned with your physical and emotional health, but statistics have proven that they need to be. American employees take fewer vacations than employees in almost any other country, and the long-term effects of the enormous stress that the average worker is under ends up costing their company money. According to CNN, corporations now employ over half of all trained psychologists, and while many in this field are focused on dissecting the customer’s mentality, a growing number of industrial psychologists are concerned with employees – what motivates them, their needs and concerns, and how to cut down stress in the workplace. Gallup Business Journal reports that happy, well-adjusted workers are 35 percent less likely to resign, which is why both small businesses and large corporations are taking notice.
1. The Surprising Effects of Noise Pollution
A corporate office may not seem like the biggest offender when it comes to noise, but psychologists have discovered the cacophony of sounds workers are exposed to, even at a desk job, has a profound effect on their health and stress levels. Slamming doors, loud conferences, telephone calls, and workplace socializing can cause a rise in stress before the stressed individual even knows why. Noise pollution contributes to high blood pressure, fatigue, migraines, and even susceptibility to the common cold. Corporate employers combat against this influence through installing carpeted floors and padded furniture, and even encouraging their employees to wear headphones to drown out noise. Some larger corporations also create meditation rooms, a noise-free alternative to the traditional break room where workers can recoup and regenerate.
2. How Employees View Privacy
It can be tough to maintain any semblance of privacy in today’s work world. With employer technology that can record every stroke of your keyboard, workers often feel they’re being watched throughout their day. For employers, protecting privacy is a fine line. It may improve productivity and protect company resources to make sure your employees aren’t surfing suspicious websites all day, but too much invasion of their privacy is detrimental to employee well-being and creates a hostile work environment. Companies are also tackling issues of privacy when it comes to how desks or cubicles are laid out. Allowing employees to collaborate and not feel isolated while permitting them to maintain their private space is a delicate balance that can make a huge difference in the office.
3. Vacations, Big and Small
Americans only use 38 percent of their total vacation time, and not getting enough relaxation takes a serious toll on their well-being. Psychologists cite the benefits of taking time off as a way not to anticipate schedules or deadlines, which is a clear producer of stress. Even a single day off can rejuvenate an individual exponentially, leaving them feeling calmer, less anxious, and overall more positive about their job. Not only are employers taking vacation time more seriously, they are also focusing on ways to make break time more restorative. Corporations are hiring massage therapists, employing health and wellness counselors, and approaching their employees directly about what they need to stay refreshed and relaxed until closing time.
Most companies already know that helping your workers improve their health will cut down on insurance costs, but improving mental and emotional health is a bigger part of that than ever before. Through the use of industrial psychologists and other experts on the subject of employee well-being, the rigorous demands and unfriendly environments of the traditional office are changing. Work can become a place for positivity and enjoyment one step at a time.
Brett Harris writes articles for colleges that offer an online Organizational Psychology degree or a choice of several other programs.