'Health is wealth' has taken on new meaning for employees
In a pandemic, the old maxim that “health is wealth” has taken on new meaning for employees who value having a safe work environment: 60% said they would take a pay cut for a job that was set in a healthier workplace. By healthy, respondents mean, better hygiene, better air quality and being surrounded by health-conscious co-workers, according to a survey by workplace specialist Ambius.
A third of workers have, in fact, made the switch. “They already had found a new job with better hygiene practices (35%),” the researchers said. Overall, 70% of workers said they would first ask prospective employers about their health and hygiene protocols before accepting a job offer.
The findings suggest employees are prioritising workplace safety now more than ever as companies consider their options for returning to pre-pandemic levels of operation on site. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many of our workplaces to at-home environments, business leaders are trying to figure out how to safely bring back their employees,” said John Myers, CEO of Ambius’ parent company Rentokil.
“Research shows that when workers return to their workplaces, their expectations and priorities have changed. A clean, hygienic and well-ventilated space with efficient air circulation and strategically placed hygiene stations are central to the idea of a safe workplace and will be expected by employees as they return to work,” Myers said. “Physical health is important, but these measures also contribute to the mental health and overall well-being of employees.”
For employees, these elements make for a healthy work environment:
- Clean, pure, and healthy air (62%)
- Efficient air circulation (54%)
- Regular disinfecting (52%)
- Natural lighting (50%)
Meanwhile, the use of plants and greenery to remind people of social distancing parameters at work may be more calming than placing “sterile boards and markings”. These natural elements are said to create a better working environment in general (65%) and improve mental health and well-being in the workplace (55% ), the study said.