Health in the workplace hasn’t traditionally been something that businesses (specifically smaller businesses) invest heavily in. Comfort, perhaps, but not health: there’s a meaningful difference. Workers throughout the world have been expected to cram into offices for many hours each day essentially static — as long as they have pleasantly-plush chairs and don’t complain too much, though, what’s the problem?
Attitudes are now changing across the board. Companies now accept that healthy employees are more productive and much more likely to stick around, so they’re making health at work a priority — and technology is key for achieving it.
It has transformed how businesses are run and how deals are made, and it’s positively impacting workers' health. In this post, we’re going to run through some key ways in which technology is improving employees' health.
It’s allowing for more personalized working setups
Everyone has slightly different requirements for their working environment, and it’s important that those needs be met where possible. For instance, one worker might have a nerve issue that requires them to have a keyboard with low-impact keys, while another might struggle with distractions and need as little clutter around as possible.
This can be difficult to achieve in traditional office spaces, because there’s only so much that can be done in an area shared by numerous colleagues — but it’s a lot more viable in home offices. And it’s technology that’s making remote working not only more stable, but also easier to arrange from a practical standpoint.
This relative ease is due to the improvement of hardware. Consider how standing desks have gone from simple curiosities to sophisticated everyday options (anyone with the budget could benefit from investing in a premium model like the Lander).
Additionally, a high-performance laptop from the current generation can comfortably replace a desktop (add in a docking station from StarTech and you can hook up multiple monitors and peripherals for the full desktop experience). The more personalized a setup gets, the longer the worker can use it comfortably.
It’s automating away a lot of damaging work
Automation might be scary for certain industries, but it’s abundant for a reason: it lifts company efficiency and does away with a lot of the more arduous parts of the average work day. That means greater profits and — most importantly in this context — greater comfort for employees. Just think about jobs in the data entry field, and how painful it can be to type relentlessly.
Through high-quality scanning and some clever OCR — (optical character recognition: Capterra has a good list) — much of data entry can be managed automatically. This isn’t that useful if someone is only qualified to do data entry, but when that isn't the case it can help their health and provide them with other opportunities.
It isn’t office workers who can benefit the most from automation, though; it’s people accustomed to carrying around heavy items, which is to say those who work in jobs like construction or online retail fulfillment. Robotic automation of the kind that could assist warehouse workers isn’t going to be ready for quite some time, but there are already systems capable of finding and retrieving certain items from shelving, saving real workers from having to do these demanding tasks.
It’s helping employers gamify exercise
All employers should want their employees to exercise regularly and should provide suitable perks for it. Exercise is good for fitness, health, alertness, and certainly their mood. Through fitness trackers and complex HR portals, fitness can be gamified.
What does this mean? It’s all about turning the process of staying fit into an enjoyable and addictive game. It should be optional, certainly (don’t make people wear fitness trackers), but try incentivizing participation by offering some small reward for success to tempt reluctant people to get involved — and when they’re involved, let them compete to keep people interested.
Throw in new ways to exercise (such as VR fitness games along the lines of BoxVR), and it will become clear that workplace technology can have a massive impact on exercise if used correctly. And the more people work out, the more clearly they’ll be able to think, and the healthier they’ll be.
Technology is allowing people to shape healthy working environments, avoid a lot of unnecessary (and sometimes challenging) physical work, and providing employers with interesting new ways to make the process of health maintenance feel like a fun game. Is this an exhaustive list? No, of course not: but it’s a solid indication of what’s changing in the workplace.
About the Author: Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. He’s worked with the biggest platforms in the world, making him the perfect person to offer advice on which platforms to build your website with. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.