We are witnessing a shift in focus when it comes to sources of health hazard in offices. Namely, until recently, people were only thinking about exposure to substances such as asbestos or benzene, or other of carcinogens. However, we are now seeing that other aspects are being recognised as potentially hazardous.

Though more recently built offices are highly unlikely to contain any of the hazardous substances, they still contain an array of hidden health dangers that we need to be aware of. Whether we’re talking about contaminated air, noise, stress or any other factor that influences both our performance and our health, we need to take things seriously.

Noise pollution

This has become a major issue all over the world, with many health studies proving beyond any doubt that noise is by far the most important factor in office productivity. For example, being exposed to noise of 70 decibels (think your company cafeteria) makes people lose their focus and become irritable. In some cases, the blood pressure has been shown to increase.

If the noise is even bigger, even by only five decibels, people exposed to it constantly over a longer period of time have sometimes experienced gradual hearing loss. So, we need to make sure that the environment we work in is not too noisy and we should look for the ways to provide sound insulation if possible.

Office desing

Non functional office design can lead to low ligting and crowded areas, which in turn are known to cause depression with workers. Having an office space that is well lit, with a high freshair supply and great floor design is key to preserving mental health and motivation with your employees.

In order to ensure that you provide your workers with a healthy office you should turn to experienced architecture firms in Sydney who can offer great advice on desing, quality materials as well as measureups. This way you can be sure that you have the best usage of your office space.

Electronic equipment

Although we might not necessarily connect the increased presence of state-of-the-art equipment with health risks, any VDT (video/visual display terminal) equipment emits a certain level of radiation and many people are yet to be convinced that there is an acceptable, i.e. harmless level of exposure to radiation.

Many studies have analysed the health of those spending a lot of time surrounded by even those small amounts of radiation and have discovered an increased number of cases of leukaemia or cancer. Finally, those spending hours sitting at a desk and looking at screens also suffer from headaches, back pain and swollen legs more than other people.

Stress

One of the most talked about health concerns everywhere, which has been proven to cause all sorts of medical issues, including those serious ones with a fatal outcome. In order to meet targets, deadlines and company policies, people are put under various amounts of stress over extended periods of time.

People are also afraid of the consequences if they fail to meet the expectations of their employers, which only adds to the already great amount of pressure they’re under. It’s not easy to break this vicious circle, but it’s the employer’s duty to make sure that no unnecessary pressure is put on employees, since it is bound to have a very negative effect both on their health and their performance.

Conclusion

In the goal-oriented world we are living in, some people will go to great lengths to maximise their business results, even if that means endangering the health of everyone in the company. Naturally, this a habit that we should kick as soon as possible, since protecting the most valuable resource of any company, i.e. people, should be the priority of every employer.

Only a healthy and satisfied worker is able to give their best and be productive, which is why employers need to take all possible steps to ensure that the work environment doesn’t pose a threat to people’s health.

Published by Emma Lawson