The risk of not taking time off
If you are sick, you are sick but there is a temptation to keep working when you have access to a work device. Sure, for mild symptoms then perhaps a day or two in your pyjamas while you work from the sofa is okay but for more serious illnesses and conditions, we need time to rest and recuperate.
We have learned that isolating when infectious is an important step to avoid passing it on to others, but dialling into a Zoom meeting while sick is often still expected of people. That can be exhausting for someone who needs rest but the expectations of ‘presenteeism’ mean we can feel the pressure to attend meetings virtually, even if we’d really rather not.
Sleep and rest are essential for recovery from illness so being able to shut your laptop and get some is important. Not to mention how your performance will be impaired and the likelihood of mistakes will increase.
The risks of overworking are not just mental, it can put our health at serious risk. Studies have shown that overworking can lead to a 42% increased chance of heart problems and a 19% chance of stroke. Although it might not seem like overworking because you aren’t ‘at work’, digital burnout is not something to overlook.
How can we avoid digital burnout?
There are plenty of ways we can get lured into working longer hours and when your laptop is so close by it can be tempting just to log on and do another hour. Breaks are important, and when working on a screen all day a useful way to get enough time away from your device is the 20-20-20 rule.
This rule states that every 20 minutes you need to stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Applying this rule throughout the day can reduce eye strain and let you refocus. But staring off into the distance isn’t enough for an eight-hour shift and once per hour you should get up from your desk for 5-10 minutes.
This might be to make a coffee, have a toilet break or simply take a quick walk around the block. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the level of screen time you are experiencing, meditation and deep breathing exercises can help to restore a level of calm.
How can companies protect against digital burnout?
It is not just the responsibility of the individual to ensure they are free from digital burnout and companies must do their part to ensure the safety and continued well-being of their staff. Companies can make a start by adopting an approach that normalises taking breaks and finishing work in good time.
A company culture of working through the evening as well as the day isn’t a healthy one and it’s the first place to make a change. Companies can encourage staff to take regular screen breaks and ensure that managers are checking in on staff regularly to assess their working hours. Communication is important to help recognise the signs both in other people and in ourselves.
Encouraging face-to-face meetings periodically gives everyone the chance to sit around the same table, without the need to stare through their screen. Plus it’s good to be in the same room as people from time to time, even if remote working is your preference. Healthy digital practices help to avoid toxic workplace habits and encourage staff to avoid digital burnout.
Simple Ways to Avoid Slips and Falls at the Office
Most slips and falls in workplaces are avoidable, so long as you’ve got the right policies, best practices and features in place on-site.What is more, reducing their prevalence doesn’t have to be difficult; here are a few straightforward strategies that will work a treat.
Keep Your Work Area Clean and Clear of Clutter
Clutter can be a major cause of slips and falls in the workplace. Business owners and managers need to create an orderly environment for their employees by removing excess items, such as boxes, cords, and wires.
Also make sure desks are kept neat and tidy so that everything is visible, and place non-slip mats under heavy furniture or equipment to prevent them from sliding on slick surfaces.
In addition, be sure to deal with any liquid spills immediately using absorbent materials like paper towels or sawdust. Quick action is the way to avert common office injuries.
Educate Employees on the Dangers of Slips and Falls
A proactive approach to stopping slips and falls requires that you educate your employees on how to do their bit.
Make sure they understand what their responsibilities are, and how to adhere to safety policies that you’ve put in place. For instance, remind them not to wear shoes with slick soles in the office.
Team members must additionally be capable of coping with the aftermath of a workplace accident; first aid training, including the ability to check for post concussion syndrome, will make a big difference in terms of the outcomes of injuries that do occur.
Providing formal training in office health and safety, both for new hires and existing employees, will deliver the best results in this case. It’s also important to set out what each team member is expected to do, both to protect themselves and to help their colleagues.
Implement a Slip-Resistant Flooring Policy
Business owners should invest in slip-resistant flooring, for obvious reasons. Choose non-slip materials for high traffic areas, such as hallways and bathrooms, which are more likely to get wet or slippery.
Also consider installing mats with raised edges at entrances to catch dirt and moisture from shoes. Keeping surfaces dry is another way to prevent slips; so be sure to provide mops and buckets for employees who may need them.
Install Handrails in High Traffic Areas for Stability
Handrails are a great way to increase safety in the office. They provide stability and help prevent slips and falls, especially in areas with high foot traffic such as stairwells or hallways.
Consider installing handrails at regular intervals along paths of travel both indoors and out to ensure the safety of employees and other visitors to the site.
Also check that handrails are securely attached to walls or posts so that they do not become loose over time due to frequent use. Regular maintenance and repairs will give you extra peace of mind, and limit the likelihood of injuries befalling anyone who uses the office space.
Regularly Inspect Office Spaces for Potential Hazards
Perhaps the most vital piece of advice is to not rest on your laurels, but instead be vigilant to any issues which might be a danger to employees and to yourself during office hours.
This means you or a team member must regularly inspect the workplace for potential hazards that may lead to slips and falls.
Look for loose flooring, broken handrails, or any other objects that could cause an accident, including liquid spills and loose cables. In particular, be sure to check areas with high foot traffic such as stairwells, hallways or spaces between desks or cubicles.
Doing these simple checks will help you identify any potential risks before they become a problem, rather than letting them remain in place for longer, amplifying the chances of disaster striking and a liability claim being made against you.
Every hazard you remove is one less accident waiting to happen in the office, so start taking slips and falls seriously if you want to tackle them successfully.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process, and in fact will make your office a happier, safer place to work overall.
ILO launches Massive Open Online Course "Making Universal Social Protection a Reality"
The ILO is launching today the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Making Universal Social Protection a Reality ”.
The MOOC enables learners to understand the key social protection concepts and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to social protection. It also provides participants with critical insights into policy options and social protection strategies in the context of decent work and general socio-economic development.
The course provides a useful resource package for policy makers, social partners, civil society organizations, development actors, university students and others who may or may not be directly involved in social protection issues but who work or are likely to work in a related field such as development cooperation, public finances, economic and social development, rural development, environmental issues, etc.
This MOOC has been produced by the ILO in collaboration with the French National Social Security School (EN3S) and SDG Academy. It builds on ILO knowledge and field experience on the development of universal social protection systems based on the application of international social security standards, particularly the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), and the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202).