The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the shutting down of several services, firms and utilities. As Australian citizens slowly adapt to the reopening of workplaces in the post-pandemic scenario, the onus is on employers and their firms to ensure that their employees are safe and comfortable.
Companies across the country have started taking initiatives to improve working conditions and foster a healthy workplace culture. Steps to improve workplace conditions include taking cognisance of employees’ mental health, mitigating occupational hazards by obtaining an ISO 45001 certification, and adhering to the Australian Fair Work System regulations. A good working environment is highly beneficial in many regards.
For one, employees tend to be more productive and efficient. The elimination of stressors also creates a positive atmosphere within the company. People would be less likely to quit their jobs, leading to an increase in retention rates. Firms would save millions of dollars lost due to mental health problems and injuries sustained in the workplace. It is critical to understand the mechanisms to improve workplace conditions.
A detailed analysis of some of these mechanisms are as follows:
Research suggests that revamping the look/feel of the office can positively impact an employee’s energy and motivation levels. Contemporary workspaces focus on blending comfort with style. Office designs should emphasise flexibility and personalisation as well. The workplace should offer proper amenities such as restrooms, pantries and recreational centres. These measures go a long way in ensuring the welfare of employees. Modifications can also be made to facilitate social distancing in a post-pandemic scenario.
Creating a better working environment:
Simple changes to the atmosphere of the office can uplift the people working there. Lighting and color schemes have been shown to have a significant impact on the mindset of employees; extend the color scheme throughout your entire office, including in the restroom and its restroom partitions. Appropriate lighting can mitigate headaches and prevent fatigue. It is essential to ensure that the workspace has adequate sunlight and ventilation as these natural elements elevate employees’ mental health. It is also advisable to increase greenery either by having natural scenery or housing indoor plants.
Reducing Occupational Hazards:
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that approximately 2.78 million people die each year due to work-related injuries, diseases or accidents. Companies must take the appropriate steps to ensure that their employees are safe and not put at any risk. Clean and sanitary working conditions are a must, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities such as insurance policies, safety equipment and essential products must be made available to all employees. Australian firms are advised to stick to international guidelines for reducing occupational hazards by obtaining an ISO 45001 certification. This standard is generally recognised worldwide as it accounts for the nuance of different occupations carrying different risks and sets the standard accordingly.
Promoting physical and mental health:
Prioritising health and wellness is critical for employee welfare. Company policies and schemes should encourage employees to lead healthier lifestyles. It is crucial that the company culture promotes a work-life balance and offers aid to those in need. Reassessing workload and organising in-house counselling can greatly reduce the stress levels of employees.
Firms should take all possible measures to ensure that employees do not face discrimination, harassment or bullying within the office premises. The goal is to create a safe space for employees by reducing hate and embracing diversity.
One can read about all the recommended guidelines proposed by the government to improve workplace conditions and ensure employee welfare in their respective workplaces.