• Smart working & Place Benefits

Healthy workers increase the productivity of the company

The human factor has become increasingly important within a company.

If, until a few years ago, the management of employees was entrusted almost exclusively to the HR department, today workers can count on other resources that can provide them with mental and physical well-being in a healthy business environment and, therefore, provide greater productivity, such as the HSE manager, a person responsible for achieving the objectives in the Health, Safety & Environment sphere.

The World Health Organization has put the problems of employees under the magnifying glass by providing a list of good practices for creating healthy workplaces with the “Global Framework for Healthy Workplaces” document, a series of tools for businesses.

Starting from the assumption that a healthy workplace is defined as one in which each employee, according to their needs, collaborates so that there is a process of continuous improvement in order to protect and promote health, WHO has focused on risk factors and best practices: the former refer to physical risk factors that can have a negative impact on health and safety, but also on psycho-social aspects, including the organisation of the work and organisational culture.

The report also underlined how it was possible to use resources dedicated to improving the health conditions of workers, such as the promotion of a healthy lifestyle by managers, or the transfer of the aforementioned interventions and positive experiences to the families of employees, for a comprehensive involvement, both professionally and personally.

The five key factors for a healthy workplace according to the WHO

  1. Commitment and involvement of leadership, with the aim of encouraging the commitment of company managers and trade unions to include the culture of a healthy workplace among company values.
  1. Involvement of workers and their representatives on every step of the business process, taking into account their opinions and ideas.
  1. Work ethics and legality, respecting social and ethical codes of workers but also applying the laws on health and safety at work.
  1. Sustainability and integration, making every decision considering the needs of users and the growth of employees for a successful future of all the players in the company.
  2. Effectiveness and continuous improvement, in order to bring together all the resources necessary for the creation of a healthy work environment.

The psycho-physical well-being of employees is also at the heart of the work of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), which in conjunction with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic published a series of documents dedicated to the implementation of directives to avoid the spread of Coronavirus and diseases in general. Employers, EU-OSHA suggested, need to be able to assess risk and establish appropriate measures, or, given the current context that means many companies use teleworking, spread a culture of “work from home” that it is not harmful to employees, neither physical, such as musculoskeletal disorders, nor psychological, such as the total absence of a separation of the professional/personal life, extremely flexible working hours or stress from remote discussions.

Forbes also tells us: the pandemic has brought about a profound revolution in many companies. In light of the facts, these structural changes imply a fundamental moral responsibility for companies to do everything possible – according to Forbes – to protect the psycho-physical development of their employees (whether they are at the office or smart working).

Therefore, a series of ad hoc measures shared by managers and employees, together with rules and recommendations provided by the responsible bodies mentioned in this article, not only make it possible to create a truly healthy and safe work environment, but, through the use of adequate best practices, companies can count on benefits for their workers and on increased productivity.