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Confront How Work Conditions Affect Your Employees' Well-being

Replace cosmetic wellness programs with work that promotes wellness

If you work for a big company, you know that its leadership is eager for you to think the company cares about your well-being. You get emails from HR offering wellness programs that encourage health-promoting behaviors such as exercising or quitting smoking. But recent research suggests that such wellness programs often have limited effectiveness. To truly build a healthier future of work, employers will need to address how their own management practices contribute to employee ill health—and focus on changing those. The good news is that such changes don’t need to be costly, and often benefit the organization as well as workers.

The first step for business leaders is recognizing that work conditions can have a major impact on employee health, and that these conditions reflect management decisions that can be reconsidered. Unfortunately, many business practices that have increased in popularity in recent decades have negative effects on worker health and well-being. For instance, many companies in service industries such as retail have gravitated to just-in-time scheduling policies that attempt to match staff coverage with fluctuating demand in stores.

The aim is to increase efficiency, but the result for frontline workers is schedules that can vary substantially from week to week. This scheduling unpredictability has detrimental impacts on the psychological well-being of workers and their children, and increases the likelihood that these households will experience economic hardships such as hunger. What’s more, research has found that workers of color in the service industry, particularly women of color, are likely to be given more unpredictable—and thus potentially harmful—schedules than their white counterparts.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Fast Company.

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