7 Sneaky Factors That Impact Your Personal Wellbeing At Work

factors that influence wellbeing

We all know how some days at work can feel like an eternity. But did you know that your beloved office cubicle might actually be impacting your health and personal wellbeing? 

I’m here to spill the tea on 7 subtle - and sometimes, not so subtle - workplace culprits that might secretly be meddling with your mojo and impacting your wellbeing.

This isn't just about that one colleague who believes in an 'all garlic, all the time' diet (phew!). We're talking about everything from the ergonomics of your chair and the mountain of tasks on your desk to the management style of your boss and the office's stance on wellbeing. Each of these can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare when it comes to health and wellbeing.

So, buckle up as we embark on a journey to uncover these sneaky saboteurs. Remember, knowing is half the battle. And once you're aware, you can start making small changes – maybe even rallying for garlic-free days.

Let's dive in, shall we?

Physical Environment

Let's talk about where you sit and how you sit - the physical domain where you wage war against daily tasks. That swanky office layout, the retro furniture design, and the mysterious quality of air that sometimes smells like leftover sushi, all play their parts in your mission to slay the dragon named Productivity.

There are a number of physical elements that can cause havoc to your wellbeing, including ergonomics, noise levels and lighting. Let's take a closer look at common workplace factors that influence wellbeing.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics – or the wizardry of designing a workspace for maximum efficiency and minimum coffee spills – is a consistent buzzword in the corporate beehive.

Take a moment to consider the throne you're currently perched on. Is it playing nice with the curves of your back or is it more of a rebellious piece of office revolt? And what about your keyboard and mouse – have they been socially distancing to prevent the spread of 'strain-19'?

Beware! The wrong furniture and equipment can wreak havoc on your body, causing ...

  • Physical strain
  • Fatigue
  • Poor breathing
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)
  • And repetitive strain injuries (RSI)

Not to mention the hump at the top where your back meets your neck. Trust me, the last thing you want is another excuse to feel wiped out at the end of the day.

So what can you do?

First, invest time and thought into setting up your workspace. Make sure all furniture and equipment are correctly adjusted to fit your body's needs. And if you can't – or don’t have access - to get the right setup, talk to someone in HR about getting support from a workplace ergonomics specialist.

Noise Levels

Noise is another factor that can cause major disruptions to your wellbeing. We're not just talking about a one-time office prank gone wrong (too much detail?). Excessive noise levels in the workplace are linked to stress, fatigue and reduced cognitive performance (you know I love science so when I can I add the study!).

That's why it's important to look into ways to control volume levels. Like implementing noise-reducing measures such as sound-absorbing walls and dividers.

If your office is a bit of a noisy nightmare, you could always try investing in some noise-cancelling headphones or using music to reduce the impact of the buzz. 

Lighting

Did you know that the quality of lighting can work wonders for your wellbeing at work? It may seem subtle, but its effects are truly powerful. Studies have revealed that basking in natural light can skyrocket productivity and boost overall job satisfaction.

So, here's a pro tip: make sure your workstation has a dose of that glorious sunshine or consider switching to a lighter bulb for an afternoon pick-me-up. Let the light work its magic! ✨

If this does not work for your office, then please schedule a time to walk in the sunshine or take a call outside at least twice per day.

Workload

Now that we've conquered the physical realm, let's dive into one of the most pressing aspects of workplace wellbeingworkload. Because let's face it, it's not just about the environment surrounding you; it's also about the tasks that lay before you.

You know the drill - working excessively can drain you both physically and mentally, leading to a decrease in job satisfaction and a surge in stress levels. On the flip side, working too little can be equally detrimental, with boredom mercilessly crushing your motivation and enthusiasm for the job.

Finding the right balance is key – having enough work to keep you engaged and challenged, but not so much that it sends you spiralling into burnout territory.

So, if your workload is piling up or dwindling by the day, it's time to speak up and share your concerns with your boss. Let your voice be heard!

How can your manager make changes for you if you do not voice your concern? Do not sit and move into a mindset of quietly quitting because that is soul-destroying for many when you lose your passion.

Stress

Stress, oh that invisible yet mighty force lurking in the workplace. It's the pesky byproduct of overwhelming workloads and unforgiving deadlines, a silent saboteur we often underestimate.

The Impact of Stress

Stress's impact on our personal wellbeing is one of the most important issues of an employee's wellbeing.  I see it far too often in the leadership groups and entire organisations I work with. No joke.

It messes with our minds, infiltrates our bodies, and elevates our cortisol levels (hence our insulin). High cortisol has a knock-on effect on your calming hormone, progesterone as well as our beloved sleep hormone, melatonin and wreaks havoc on our very existence.

Chronic stress often leads to anxiety and depression. It's like a dark cloud that blurs our judgment and hinders our concentration. And boy, does it know how to fuel frustration and ignite anger.

As if that's not enough, stress has the audacity to mess with our moods and behaviours, messing up our relationships with colleagues and throwing team dynamics out of whack.

But wait, there's more! 

Stress doesn't stop at messing with our heads and hearts. It goes the extra mile to wreak havoc on our physical wellbeing too. It messes with our sleep, gives us pounding headaches, and even invites chronic conditions like hypertension and heart disease to the party. Talk about an uninvited guest!

And don't even get me started on how stress weakens our immune system, making us more prone to illnesses and dragging out recovery times. Covid and its variants are here to stay and our immune system needs to be robust.

Now, hold on tight, because stress isn't done with us yet.

Brace for impact as it takes a toll on productivity, sends absentee rates skyrocketing, and even plays a role in employee turnover. It's like a never-ending cycle, stress begetting more stress, trapping us in a whirlwind of pressure and strain.

Understanding and tackling stress is the key to unlocking a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace. So the next time you feel that heavy weight on your shoulders, remember this: It's not just "all in your head". Stress is a real deal that deserves real solutions.

Now, let's micro-hack stress and create a workplace where we can thrive!

Managing Stress

Stress, the notorious troublemaker in workplace wellbeing, doesn't have to be the enemy. It's all about mastering the art of stress management – a skill that calls for a blend of self-awareness and proactive strategies.

Begin by pinpointing those pesky stressors at work, whether it's hefty workloads, looming deadlines, or even tricky relationships with colleagues.

Once identified, it's time to tackle them head-on. And fear not, my friend, for there exists a vast repertoire of stress-busting tools and techniques.

From the zen-like serenity of yoga and meditation to the power of journaling and breathing techniques. Mini breaks from your desk, mini walks and talks with a colleague.

In fact, did you realise that what you eat and how you sleep can have a huge impact on how you handle stress? It's true! I discuss this in-depth in our online programs and books.

And if you need some extra support, talk to someone at your company about getting help from a mental health professional.

Workplace Relationships

Let's not forget the powerful effect relationships can have on our wellbeing at work.

After all, we don't live in a vacuum; rather, we toil away alongside colleagues – some of whom become our friends and confidantes. I just heard Dr. Fiona Kerr, a cognitive scientist, discuss the importance of friends in the workplace.

Colleague relationships are like unique ecosystems that can either contribute positively or negatively to our wellbeing.

If our work relationships are strained, we feel like strangers in a strange land, uncomfortable. Then our motivation takes a nosedive and stress levels soar. In other words, drama is not good for our wellbeing OR business.

On the other hand, when we have colleagues we can connect with and rely on, it's like a breath of fresh air. We feel energised and supported in all that we do, ready to take on the world!

So, don't underestimate the importance of workplace relationships – they are critical to unlocking those elusive job satisfaction levels.

Unfortunately, sometimes you may encounter the dark side of workplace relations. Whether it's discrimination, bullying, or even violence, no one should have to endure such behaviour.

The sad fact is that discrimination and bullying in the workplace are still very real issues and it can show up in many forms – from racism to sexism to ageism – making us feel excluded or belittled on a daily basis.

If this happens, it's important to take the right steps and speak out. Contact HR or a trusted manager for support - don't let toxic behaviours ruin your wellbeing at work!

Leadership Styles

Leaders hold immense power in shaping our workplace wellbeing. Their leadership styles can either uplift or undermine us.

Picture this: some bosses are notorious for micromanaging, constantly hovering over our shoulders, while others adopt a hands-off approach, leaving us to navigate the wilderness of work on our own. Both scenarios can be frustrating and disconnecting.

For optimal workplace wellbeing, employers must strike a delicate balance between supervision and autonomy. Imagine leaders who are supportive and understanding, and empower their team members to speak up and contribute. In this ideal environment, employees feel heard and valued, and their wellbeing thrives.

But what if your current experience doesn't match this ideal?

Fear not! Don't hesitate to reach out and have an honest conversation. Remember, a workplace free from fear is where true wellbeing flourishes.

Job Security

Ready to talk about one of the scariest factors that affect personal health and wellbeing in the workplace?

Yes, you guessed it – job security.

And you may not realise that this includes things like workplace injury, retirement, and retrenchment, too.

All of these eventualities can have a tremendous impact on your personal wellbeing, from wreaking havoc on your finances to making you feel uncertain and powerless. Not knowing if your position will be there tomorrow can literally keep you up at night. It's enough to trigger heart palpitations and sweaty palms!

But there are ways to tackle job security head-on. First, make sure you understand the relevant laws in your area that protect employee rights. Next, talk openly with your employer about any concerns you may have.

And if your job security seems tenuous, proactively seek out alternatives: update your resume, start networking in the industry, or even explore other career options.

Remember – knowledge is power! Don't let job insecurity take control of your wellbeing.

Workplace Wellbeing Initiatives

Workplace wellbeing initiatives? They're the secret sauce to our health and happiness, my friend! Let's dive into this game-changer that can transform your personal wellbeing at the office.

Picture this: flexible working hours, gym memberships, mental health days, and nutritional training. These are just a few perks that employers should be clued in on. Trust me, these little tweaks can make a massive difference in employee morale and performance. Don't underestimate their power!

When companies invest in their team's wellbeing, it's a win-win for all. Imagine feeling valued by your employer, like they've got your back with these incredible incentives. It's like a confidence boost on steroids!

And let me tell you, these wellbeing initiatives are game-changers for both employees AND employers. Employees get to level up their quality of life, reduce stress, and boost their overall happiness. They'll be more satisfied, less stressed, and ready to conquer the world.

Meanwhile, from the employer's perspective, investing in wellbeing initiatives is a genius move.

A healthier, happier workforce equals increased productivity and engagement. Cha-ching! Plus, it helps reduce absenteeism and turnover, while also boosting the company's reputation as an employer of choice.

It's not just an expense - it's an investment in a workforce that's committed, satisfied, and ready to crush it. So employers should be embracing these wellbeing initiatives like they're the key to unlocking a magical, productive, and fulfilling work life. Their employees and bottom line will thank them.

Sadly, not every company has gotten on the workplace wellbeing bandwagon yet. If your employer is one of those, here's what to do.

If Your Employer Doesn't Offer Workplace Wellbeing Programs

If your employer is a little behind the times and doesn't offer the kind of workplace wellbeing programs you'd like to see, take matters into your own hands.  Talk to your boss about introducing initiatives that can boost employee health, wellbeing, morale and productivity.

This is exactly why I created my Science of Workplace Wellbeing CPD Programs.

These short on-demand programs will edu-tain you on:

  • How to eat for better wellbeing overall
  • The keys to more energy, motivation and resilience
  • How to consistently get a good night's sleep (an important element in wellness)
  • Preventing burnout
  • And much more

You even earn CPD/CE points upon completion of each program.

So, if your employer doesn't have a similar program in place, consider suggesting these workshops as a simple, efficient, and cost-effective way to improve employee wellbeing and performance.

Or, you can take the initiative and enrol yourself. You might even get your employer to pay for it! Either way, it's an investment that pays off for everyone.

Learn all about the Science of Workplace Wellbeing CPD Programs here.

Is Your Workplace Affecting Your Personal Wellbeing In These Ways?

So we've discussed 7 sneaky ways your workplace can make or break your personal wellbeing:

  • Physical Environment
  • Workload
  • Stress
  • Workplace relationships
  • Leadership Styles
  • Job security
  • Workplace wellbeing initiatives

By being aware of these pivotal points, you can take control of your wellbeing and be proactive about investing in it. Whether it's advocating for better policies at work or investing in yourself and taking our Workplace Wellbeing Programs, the power is in your hands.

Now, it's time to get out there and show 'em who's boss! Take charge of your personal wellbeing and let your employer know that you're serious about health and happiness in the workplace.

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