Seeing as adults spend a majority of their lives in their workplace — and that work-related stress is an epidemic that is sweeping nearly every Westernized country — it should come as no surprise that many companies are taking initiative to improve their employees’ well-being.
These initiatives are a part of the larger “workplace wellness” movement but, in spite of how helpful and necessary these programs are, many employees are still unaware of — or wary of partaking in — their benefits.
With that in mind, let us delve deeper into the topic of workplace wellness, its definition, and its benefits.
What is workplace wellness?
When one hears the term “workplace wellness,” many diverse definitions may come to mind. More often than not, however, one assumes that workplace wellness encompasses health care and other various benefits — such as nutrition, smoking cessation, stress management, and so on. While this is true to an extent, workplace wellness is more or less complementary to the health care and wellness benefits the company already has in place.
Additionally, white-collar workplace wellness focuses on two specific means of improving employees’ well-being: workplace setup (ergonomics) and reduction of sitting (movement).
The role of ergonomics and movement
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ergonomics can be defined as, “the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” This entails ensuring one’s computer monitor is at eye level, that one’s chair is positioned to encourage good posture, and so on.
By ensuring one’s workplace environment is fitting for them and their job demands, a company will be able to lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity, and reduce the occurrence of various Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) — such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, trigger finger, and other various lower back issues.
Additionally, the work of ergonomics is complemented by encouraging employee movement. This can be achieved by promoting intermittent breaks for employees to stand, stretch, and walk around the office; or even by providing employees with sit-stand desks that allow them to do precisely what the title suggests — sit or stand at their workstation. This aids employees in preventing the major health issues that are associated with prolonged sitting, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.
Evidently, there are extensive benefits to enacting a workplace wellness initiative. It will be intriguing to see how these programs change with developing technology, medical research, and other influential factors.