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The workplace safety sphere has seen noteworthy changes in the past few months. As more Boomers leave their jobs, millennials move up the ranks, and members of Gen Z begin to enter the workforce, the way that businesses are structured and do business is changing. Offices are becoming more flexible, with an emphasis on employee health and safety as well as satisfaction.
Businesses want to attract a workforce that will be the right fit for the job and retain those who bring the most benefit. For those reasons, they need not only to readjust but to start rethinking their office plans, and the way business is done. This means making the health and safety of their employees a top-of-mind priority.
Health and safety trends are scaling as more organisations recognise issues and adopt good measures. Here are some of them.
Greater Emphasize on Occupational Health and Safety
Experts surveyed more than 600 occupational safety practitioners in 2022 to find out that half of the respondents said they had noticed a greater general appreciation for their work and related topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses have implemented standardised protocols for being able to come to work as the pandemic persists and the vaccine rollout take longer than expected. They invested in more comprehensive digital solutions that adhere to local and national safety standards, reduce the risk of another outbreak within the organisation, and reduce the financial strain a potential outbreak would have.
It’s not a dilemma anymore “whether” businesses need a health and safety solution – in 2021 and 2022, that’s been answered by how long this health crisis has dragged on. The question now is how quickly can businesses adopt a program that effectively protects workers now and in the future?Businesses want to attract a workforce that will be the right fit for the job and retain those who bring the most benefit. For those reasons, they need not only to readjust but to start rethinking their office plans, and the way business is done.Click To Tweet
Mental Health: A Top-of-Mind Priority
Another aspect that has been greatly reinforced by the last two years and influences safety culture considerably is the aspect of psychological risks. Workplace health and safety experts point out that psychological safety is the key to the kingdom of physical safety.
When the environment allows a culture of openness where everyone can “bring their authentic voice to work”, then everyone is much more protected from new risks.
Related to mental health is a broader discussion about well-being and the potentially negative outcomes of new ways of working, particularly concerning working from home. Some of the key topics addressed by the expert panel are feelings of isolation, stress, or dissolution of boundaries between private and work life. According to Personal Injury Claims Uk, safety managers recognise these risks and have stated in the survey that they consider awareness for mental strain and well-being to be a key subject to focus on when building the “new normal” after the pandemic.
The emotional strain of the pandemic on employees who were no longer able to guarantee the financial constancy of their families or be certain of the longevity of their careers is indisputable. The shift to online operations for others was highly challenging, and the return to the office can be just as chaotic.
This calls for a shift in our perception of health and wellness beyond emotional, psychological and social needs. In 2022 we’re expecting managers to prioritise the holistic well-being of working professionals. This has been an emerging trend in the past few months, but never has it been so essential.
In 2022, we may see this concept adopted by plenty of companies worldwide to compensate for the sizeable psychological, emotional, and physical strain the pandemic has placed on their teams.
The struggles of work from home parents, shift employees, healthcare workers, and frontline workers have been well documented. In 2022 we’re expecting employers to continue using creative employment strategies to decrease burnout and workplace fatigue. That said, we’re expecting employers to deploy:
- Flexible Schedule Solutions
Flextime is a policy that allows workers to choose their work hours if a conventional nine-to-five workday doesn’t work for them. Business owners are still responsible for meeting productivity output and established goals. More often than not, they may even require workers to report to work for specific functions like meetings.
- Shorter Workweeks
A shorter workweek basically enfolds 40 hours of work into fewer days. The most popular compression is a 4/10 model, where an employee works for 10 hours a day. Another model is the 9/80, which runs over a two-week cycle and offers workers two three-day weekends a month.
- Rotating Shifts
The hybrid schedule or rotating shifts where workers report on alternate days or times to a physical office are helping employees maintain physical distance and keep productivity up and going. Many schools across different states are considering hybrid models to ensure student and teacher safety, and local administrations are using rotating shifts successfully, too. The idea is to allow workers to report to the office to complete tasks that must be done in person but reduce interaction between employees.
Incorporating Smart PPE
Personal protective equipment is crucial in ensuring that working professionals, particularly in engineering and construction industries, face the lowest-possible health risk at work. As we enter another pandemic year, protective gear should help reduce human contact between essential employees and the people for whom they care.
The latest tendencies in industrial safety include smart PPE and equipment that can monitor their wearer’s health by collecting critical data. Health data can consist of an employee’s blood pressure, heart rate, steps walked, blood oxygen levels, and vital signs. In 2022 health and manufacturing employees hope that PPE wear will also monitor employees’ alertness and fatigue. A thing that will help managers propose breaks and create schedules more efficiently.