• Sunday, March 03, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Unwellness and productivity

Unwellness and productivity

Thank God it is Friday. Today I want to focus on wellness and how it affects productivity and how we can help people remain healthy even if it is only so the organisation can be productive

Unwellness, which includes physical, mental, and emotional health challenges, can significantly impact productivity in the workplace. When employees are not feeling their best, their ability to perform tasks efficiently, make sound decisions, and engage fully in their work is compromised.

Unwellness can be caused by a variety of factors, both from a work and non-work perspective. These factors can have physical, mental, and emotional effects on individuals.

Some common causes of unwellness both from a work and non-work perspective are as follows. Some of them may seem frivolous to the older generation but they are real causes and must be acknowledged.

From a work perspective include excessive workload, tight deadlines, and high job demands which can lead to chronic stress (which is very dangerous), burnout, and physical health issues like hypertension and chronic fatigue syndrome to mention a couple.

An inability to balance work responsibilities with personal life can lead to stress, fatigue, and reduced overall well-being. Some call it work-life balance. My own take is that work-life balance should just be looked at as work because at the end of the day, everything is work, this does not exist. Everything is work. Family, friends, and play are all deadlines that must be met.

Lack of job control, feeling powerless or lacking control over one’s work tasks and decisions can contribute to stress and frustration. If you add inadequate support or communication from managers this can lead to feelings of isolation, disengagement, and decreased job satisfaction.

Unclear job roles and expectations can cause confusion, anxiety, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Then we can add workplace conflicts, bullying, and harassment which can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, and depression.

Limited opportunities for skill development and career advancement can lead to feelings of stagnation and dissatisfaction. Last but not least, uncomfortable or unsafe physical work environments which can cause physical health issues and stress.

From a non-work perspective, there are pre-existing health conditions, chronic illnesses, and genetic factors which can contribute to physical unwellness.

Worries about financial stability, debt, and lack of financial resources can lead to anxiety and other mental health challenges. Strained relationships with family, friends, or spouses can cause emotional distress and impact overall well-being.

Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep, also experiencing trauma can contribute to physical unwellness, emotional distress and mental health issues.

Feeling socially isolated or lacking a support network can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. Major life events such as moving, changing jobs, or going through significant life transitions can cause stress and emotional upheaval.

Substance misuse or addiction, societal discrimination, cultural challenges, and systemic inequalities can contribute to stress and can negatively impact both physical and mental health.

Work and non-work factors are often interconnected and can influence each other. Organizations that prioritize employee well-being and offer support for managing both can contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce. Individuals can also take proactive steps to manage their well-being by seeking support, practising self-care, and making positive lifestyle choices.

Below is how unwellness can affect productivity and how organizations can support employees’ well-being. Physical discomfort, pain, or illness can make it difficult for employees to concentrate on their tasks, leading to errors and decreased overall efficiency.

Unwell employees may experience fatigue and lack of energy, making it challenging to sustain high levels of productivity throughout the day or even think strategically.

Read also: CBN mops up N150bn liquidity in open market operations

Unwellness can cause many sick days or cause showing up to work while not feeling their best. This can result in decreased productivity, as they may not be able to perform at their usual level.

Mental and emotional health challenges can lead to reduced cognitive function, affecting decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Unwell employees may experience higher stress levels, which can impact their ability to manage work-related challenges effectively and contribute to burnout. It could also affect team dynamics, such as other team members picking up the slack or adjusting their own workloads to accommodate a colleague’s absence or reduced performance.

HRM can ensure that the workplace is conducive to physical well-being. Ergonomic workstations, proper lighting, and regular breaks can contribute to employees’ comfort and overall health.

The organisation can offer flexible work options such as remote work or flexible hours to accommodate employees who may need to manage health issues. I say this over and over again.

HRM can implement wellness programs that promote physical, mental, and emotional health and include fitness activities, mental health resources, stress management workshops, and healthy lifestyle initiatives.

The organisation should engage in a culture of open communication so that employees feel comfortable discussing their health challenges and seeking support when needed.

They can provide access to employee-assisted programs, which offer confidential counselling and support services for employees dealing with personal or work-related challenges. They can offer training on stress management, time management, and resilience to help employees cope with challenges effectively.

Also, encourage employees to take sick leave when needed to recover fully before returning to work. Discourage presenteeism, as it can lead to longer recovery times and decreased overall productivity.

Support a healthy work-life balance by encouraging employees to disconnect after work hours, take vacations, and prioritize self-care. Show appreciation for employees’ efforts and contributions, which can contribute to a positive work environment and overall well-being.

Leaders should model healthy behaviour and prioritise their own well-being, sending a positive message to the entire organization. By prioritizing employee well-being and providing the necessary support, organizations can mitigate the negative effects of unwellness on productivity and create a healthier, more productive work environment.

This weekend prioritise your own rest and then you can help others to achieve the same.