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There is no denying that we can all have our health problems from time to time. But one of the biggest things that aren’t talked about enough is the effect the workplace can have on our health. That is our physical and mental health. The truth is, for many of us, we have no choice but to head out to work each day in order to earn a living. For a good chunk of those people, they will be doing a job that they dislike or feel unfulfilled in. While it is only natural to want to change jobs and pursue a new career, some people are trapped by their own circumstances.
It is always worth remembering that we need to take care of ourselves while we work. After all, our employers can only do so much. They will have vigours health and safety measures in place and will do regular risk assessments. Especially at the moment with Covid-19 as a real threat. But you also have a responsibility to recognise signs that things aren’t normal, in the hope that you can raise your concerns with your employer and make some positive changes. With that in mind, here are some of the effects the workplace can have on your health.
Some of the effects the workplace can have on your health
To think a couple of years ago nobody was even fully aware of the scale on which Covid-19 would hit the world. So much so that it rapidly turned into a global pandemic that left many people working from home, staying indoors, and having to navigate a new normal. When it comes to the workplace, this is likely to be a place that will have you concerned about the spread of the virus.
Your employer will likely have measures in place including policies on face masks, social distancing, and also testing. But as a precaution, it is always a good idea to do your part to ensure that you stop the spread. So if you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of covid-19 follow the guidance and do your part to stop the spread. The reason why you have to be careful in the workplace is that people are congregating in small spaces. As your guard is let down you may not social distance as much or forget to take the necessary precautions. It is good to be mindful of the risk and ensure you do what you can.
Potential drug testing
Another thing to be mindful of about the workplace is the need for your employer to be responsible in terms of drug testing. They might need you to undertake regular testing as part of your job. However, this risk to your health is that you may be struggling outside of the workplace which your employer knows nothing about.
Drug testing in the workplace is much more common than it used to be, so if you do have any concerns it is worth raising them with management to ensure you protect yourself and the business. A drug test can be anything from swabs to urine samples, so be mindful that you may be asked for one or both of these things during your employment.
A common health issue that any one of us can face in the workplace has got to be stress. You might experience it for many reasons. It could be that you have a large workload or that your job description has changed. Perhaps you have more responsibility now without being compensated for it. Or you are expected to work more hours than you have done in the past.
There is no denying that stress can be a big factor when it comes to your health and it can affect you in many different ways, including anxiety, depression, your energy levels and not getting enough sleep, to name a few. Stress is often triggered by different things and your reaction might be different from others. You may feel angry or sad, frustrated or withdrawn. Look for the signs that you feel stressed or something isn’t normal with you so you can discuss the issues with the business you work for.
Mental health problems
There is no denying that mental health is one of the biggest areas of impact your workplace can have on you. Mental health is such a varied scope and it can include many different symptoms. These include anxiety and depression. Many people can feel anxious at work. It might be misconstrued as stress but often it can be a lot worse. There can be panic attacks, nausea, worry, and fear and this can be down to the environment you work in or the workload that you have.
Depression can be slightly different. It can manifest in many forms including negativity, worry, feeling down, and hopelessness. It isn’t unusual for people to have these feelings every now and again, but the question to ask yourself is whether you have more bad days than good. If the answer is yes then it is worth taking action, seeking medical help, and taking some steps to deal with it effectively.
Injuries to your body
It might be hard to realise, but the workplace can cause injuries to you. This might be in terms of back injury, shoulders, arms, or legs. If you are not sitting in the right position or you are sitting on unsupportive chairs, then this can go on to cause long-term damage to your body. While it is never easy to identify what could be causing back or shoulder pain, talking with your manager may help you get a new supportive chair or to be able to look at things such as raised desk areas. The more you feel supported and comfortable, the better your working environment will be.
Accidents in the workplace
Some workplaces are risky areas to work and because of this, there is a likely chance that you could be involved in a workplace accident. This might be using machinery in work or working in a dangerous environment. Your workplace will have rigorous health and safety measures in place to help with these sorts of incidents. But they can have lasting effects on your health such as injuries. Workplace accidents can also happen simply because of negligence, such as water on the floor causing you to slip, or repairs not being done right. Other accidents can be prevented in the first place with the correct equipment. Chemicals should always be stored in containers like those here, for example, to ensure any spills are safely contained.
If you work in front of a screen for too long, then this can cause you to experience headaches. We all know the effects of too much screen time, but when you are working, you are less likely to take notice of it. Being in front of a computer all day can cause you to feel lightheaded or have eye strain. If you find you are experiencing headaches then you may want to look into glasses or blue light glasses to help with the glare.
Unable to rest and get enough sleep
Finally, does your workplace cause you to feel unrested and tired? Perhaps you have no energy or feel like you can’t sleep at night. Work can often be the reason that people don’t get enough rest or sleep. This might be because you continue to work in the evening, or maybe you can’t relax your mind and are constantly thinking about your work. We all know that sleep deprivation can lead to other health factors, so make sure you take care of yourself and try and get rid of the reasons causing you to not sleep at night.
Let’s hope by highlighting some of these health issues will help you to be warier in the future.