While many companies tout workplace safety as a core value, upwards of 36% of employees believe their companies place productivity ahead of safety. It’s true that perception and reality don’t always coexist. Yet, if employees believe a company doesn’t value safety, it often leads to results that mirror what happens if a company devalues workplace safety. Let’s dig into the relationship between safety and productivity.
1. Unsafe Workplaces Create Stress
If an employee believes his or her workplace unsafe, it creates a constant state of uncertainty. This creates stress. Stress comes preloaded with a list of possible symptoms. One of the top symptoms is trouble sleeping. As anyone who has ever gone to work tired can attest, they’re less productive than when well-rested.
To make matters worse, though, chronic inadequate sleep can impair judgment on the level of consuming alcohol. It also reduces emotional control, taxes the cardiovascular system, and impairs concentration.
2. Undermines Confidence
Part of what makes an employee productive is their confidence that they can do the job. Anything that undermines that confidence can impair productivity. For example, let’s say that other workers with similar levels of experience get injured regularly. This can make an employee feel undertrained. That means they second-guess their behaviors, which slows down their work.
Workplace injuries can also leave employees feeling like they don’t have the resources to do their jobs safely. If they had those resources, fewer people would get hurt. Again, this can slow down the work as employees second-guess the working conditions around them.
3. Fosters Resentment
Poor workplace safety also fosters resentment among employees. This can prove especially true in situations where employees can’t easily move into a similar position elsewhere. Resentment and other cultural toxicity is anathema to productivity.
Employees simply have no incentive to work to their best. The thinking goes something like this: “They don’t care about us at all. Why should we do anymore more than the absolute minimum to avoid getting fired?”
Workplace safety has a direct impact on the overall productivity of your employees. Employees in actual or perceived unsafe work environments experience more stress, have less confidence, and harbor more resentment. All of these factors reduce productivity. Companies must take active measures to address employee safety concerns if they want to see peak productivity.
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