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What Is A Healthy Workplace?

Does Your Employer Provide a Healthy Workplace?

A healthy work environment brings benefits to employees and the people who pay them. Here are some workplace characteristics that contribute to worker health and well-being, while also promoting greater organizational success.

Defining Work Health

At first glance, a healthy workplace sounds like an environment that is free from contaminants and physical hazards. According to the World Health Organization , however, the definition of health should not be limited to the absence of threats, but should center on physical, mental and social well-being.

So what makes a workplace healthy? While they can differ in many ways, healthy workplaces tend to have a few common traits, including:

Positive values: This typically begins with a positive mission statement outlining goals and behavioral expectations. The company looks to achieve these goals in honest, ethical ways with an eye toward improving the community and environment.

An encouraging atmosphere: Employees are made to feel acknowledged, appreciated and rewarded. There are no signs of domination, fear, aggression, intimidation or sexual harassment. Managers encourage productivity, while leaving plenty of room for creativity and novel thinking.

Open and honest environment: Workers and managers communicate honestly, solving challenges in a positive way. They accept negative feedback without resentment, viewing it as an opportunity for improvement and growth.

A team effort: Every member of an organization works together, focusing on cooperation, empowerment and support. The work environment has a sense of camaraderie, along with healthy competition, free of spite, resentment or vengeful backstabbing.

Compassion and understanding: Kindness, respect and compassion prevail whenever employees face challenges, such as illnesses, accidents, natural disasters and personal tragedies. Managers and coworkers treat each other as people and not just parts of an organizational machine. Whenever help is needed, coworkers step up to provide support.

Communication: Managers have open-door policies that allow workers to voice concerns. Feedback is given regularly, so workers will feel recognized for jobs well done. Lines of communication are always obvious and open, and issues are resolved without fear of betrayal or reprisal.

Flexibility: The company is designed to embrace change. Employees receive training to help them develop new skills and accommodate new technology and trends. The organization is agile and flexible, because it understands that change is inevitable.

Positive reinforcements: Managers keep workers motivated by providing appreciation, acknowledgment and gratitude. Workers are able to attain bonuses, rewards, compliments, promotions, raises and/or certificates of achievements.

Emphasis on health and family: The company provides comprehensive health insurance, a fitness facility and corporate cafeteria with healthy dining options. Employees enjoy on-site childcare or reimbursement for childcare. Workers are allowed paid time off to take care of sick kids and other important personal issues.

If your job has some or most of the above characteristics, you should feel very good about your situation. On the other hand, if it doesn't, you may want to take a step back and consider a new opportunity. Just because you have to work for a living doesn't mean you don't have the right to feel satisfied, happy and fulfilled. If you've been working in an undesirable situation, take some time to explore your options and consider making a change for the better.

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