Since the Industrial Revolution, the universe of the workplace has greatly evolved. For a start, the first complaints that appeared among the sci-fi authors of the time have been proven wrong: Working in an office doesn’t mean that everyone has to look and think the same. People still remain independent individuals, and this is exactly what makes a business strength. If you are thinking of “We”, the dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin where everyone is trained to share common thoughts, you can be reassured. Modern offices have nothing in common with the futuristic world. People in offices still enjoy different views of the world, different styles, different shapes, and moods. In short, everyone is different. While it is a universal truth, it also brings an additional challenge for the workplace. Namely, how can you best accommodate the needs of individuals who are all unique?
Getting The Basics Right
For a start, while you need to consider the individual needs of each employee, it is important to start by getting the basics right. Your team needs a decent workplace that allows them to work effectively and safely. In other words, it means that you should provide a clean and clear space that is sufficiently lit – preferably with natural light as well as electric light bulbs. As people spend in average over 40 hours a week at work – it reality you are looking at something between 50 and 55 hours – it is essential that they can work in a friendly environment that will not cause any health issue. For example, a dark office can rapidly lead to headaches when someone has to concentrate to perform their everyday tasks in semi-darkness. Additionally, you need to ensure that the building can meet their natural requirements, from private and clean bathrooms to a small kitchen for the lunch break. Last, but not least, your office should be a place where your employees can feel safe. Without mentioning the obvious health & safety requirements – such as safe and hidden electric systems, not cables running across the floor, or even no structural damage to the building – safety also concerns the risks of burglary and fire. In other words, it means that your office should have a secured entrance for anybody who isn’t part of the staff, as well as visible alarms. And finally, you need to get fire extinguishers throughout the office and to ensure that they are in working order. Indeed, the main problem with accidental fires is an outdated fire extinguisher. So look after your workplace to protect your employees.
Building A Workplace For All Employees
As said earlier, not every employee is the same. Consequently, it is essential to ensure that your office is offering all the physical comfort your employees require in their everyday task. For instance, it is essential to offer an alternative for the staff that doesn’t match the average national size and weight. Let’s say, for example, that you hire someone who is over 6,5 feet. You will most probably need to get office chairs for big & tall people to accommodate his or her needs at the desk. You may also need to invest in specific desks for people who are far too tall or too small to work comfortably at a standard-sized desk. Additionally, wheelchair-ridden employees will also need to get a free and easy access to the office, which means providing sufficient room for the wheelchair to navigate between the desk as well as avoiding stairs only accesses.
No Taboo About Mental Disorders
Last, but not least, is the matter of mental illnesses. Mental health can affect up to 18% of employees in an office. However, they are too often left unspoken between the employer and the employee. It is essential to indicate to your team that they will not be penalized for opening up about their mental health struggles. Additionally, as an employer, you need to take their health into consideration and ensure that employees don’t face challenges that would represent a difficulty with regard to their situation. From a legal perspective, you are allowed to discriminate against mental health diseases. This means that, for example, it isn’t legal to fire someone who is struggling with depression. Instead, you could have an open discussion with them and accommodate their workload and responsibilities to take into account their health issue. Additionally, there is no indication that mental health should represent a loss of productivity. For example, it’s been common knowledge that the man who gave us the iPhone, Steve Jobs, was probably suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. As you can see, mental health issues are not synonymous for low achievements. They simply mean that your employees have a different set of needs.
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