Having a safe and healthy workplace is something every organization and company should be striving for. It creates a more positive atmosphere as well as happier workers who enjoy coming to work.
There are simple steps to take that will go a long way in creating a healthy workplace. Having certain safety precautions in place as well as an open model of support also really helps those experiencing issues at home, such as workers suffering from domestic violence. A safe and healthy workplace can really assist someone who is in an abusive relationship, by providing economic stability and offering much-needed supports as well as a supportive environment.
Here are ten ways every company can create a healthy and safe workplace.
1. Make employee wellness a priority. Encourage employees to develop healthy lifestyle practices, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and omitting unsafe or risky habits. A weekly movement program at work, such as yoga, can greatly reduce stress and help create a more positive and close community of co-workers.
2. Show compassion. Practice compassion by ensuring all employees are listened to and cared for equally. Let everyone know their voices are important and offer kindness and assistance to anyone in need.
3. Safety first. Put safety protocols into place, such as keyed entry and a security guard if required. If someone is particularly in need of extra safety, make sure every measure is taken to protect this person, including alternate work locations and screened phone calls. Have a security plan and training for workers in place ahead of any situations that might arise. Read more about how to respond to domestic violence in the workplace.
4. Communicate often. Have regular meetings to address any concerns that come up and let everyone have an opportunity to talk if needed. Whether it’s a small safety issue someone has noticed or a larger issue, keeping the doors of communication open is key to creating a healthy workplace.
5. Provide support. Make sure there are necessary supports in place for anyone experiencing a problem and who might need help. Women experiencing domestic violence at home often rely heavily on the workplace, which is also sometimes their only support option. From psychological options to any needed time off work, it’s a good idea to set these support systems in place from the beginning.
6. Extend paid leave and be flexible. Since economic instability is often one of the main reasons why women feel they cannot leave an abusive relationship, the workplace can do a lot by alleviating that stress. Providing workers with extended paid leave to deal with serious personal issues like domestic violence as well as offering alternate solutions (such as flexibility in hours and work location) can drastically help the employee deal with the issue and will will also make it easier for someone to leave an abusive relationship.
7. Create domestic violence policies. Set up a policy related to domestic violence from the beginning. From responding with safety measures to having support in place, there is no shortage of things a company can do for their employees who might need help. Domestic violence is not just an issue for home; it greatly affects the workplace as well. Train everyone on how to look out for possible signs of domestic violence as well as how to handle it if someone confides in them. It’s also important that everyone is aware of safety measures and protocols should an abusive and threatening partner enter the workplace.
8. Build up the team. Offer team building activities, which create strong bonds among employees and also motivate them to create a more positive environment. Whether it’s an hour mid-day session or a weekend retreat, there is no shortage of ideas for team building exercises that will help bring employees closer together.
9. Acknowledge special days and events. Make time to recognize and celebrate important days such as Gay Pride and Women’s Day. Ensure no employees feel left out concerning holiday celebrations. Showing employees that everyone matters will help create a more positive and open atmosphere.
10. Encourage regular breaks. Ensure all employees are taking frequent quick breaks, even if it’s a 5 minute break from their computer to stretch and walk around. Regular breaks help reduce muscle strain and physical issues and also let the mind refresh and de-stress.