Catering workplace safety and wellness
Friday, June 14th 2019

Exploring the Connection Between Safety and Wellness

Utah Food Services Catering Decor Manager, Nicole Spencer, recently wrote a blurb for our internal newsletter titled The Connection Between Safety and Wellness. Upon reading her post, I was reminded of research I learned at University inside of my Social Psychology coursework. In brief, Nicole references the commonly overlooked connection between safety and wellness that many subconsciously place into different categories. Here is Nicole Spencer’s blurb:

Safety and wellness… Where’s the connection? Safety is traditionally tied to compliance with OSHA regulations and the implementation of procedures inside of a company. Wellness, on the other hand, is typically voluntary and extends beyond work into each employee’s personal lifestyle.(5) As it turns out, safety and wellness have more of a connection than most people realize. Workplace safety and employee wellness each factor into productivity levels, accident reports, injuries, and quality of service. (2)

Research done at the University of Basel in Switzerland indicates that wellness factors such as stress and fatigue are responsible for 13% of work-related injuries. This research goes on to note that employees with sleep problems are 1.62 times more likely to be injured.(2) Essentially, fatigue is a formula for an unsafe work environment and directly affects concentration, hand-eye coordination, performance, communication, and stress. Most of us have experienced burnout, and as it turns out, its more than just a buzzword! Employees need time to prepare, adjust and recover from high volume periods of work. It’s a short journey from quality productivity to burnout.

 

Workplace safety and personal wellness are different in that one is a regulated organizational procedure and the other is more of a suggestion that isn’t usually externally monitored. Wellness, however, is a precursor that can influence an individuals ability to meet performance standards. At the end of the day, it can be the difference between what someone is supposed to be doing and what actually happens. The ability to self-regulate (aka, self-control) takes conscious effort and has been likened to a muscle. To quote my social psychology professor, Katerina Salini, “when a person is tired, their self-regulation goes out the window.” Furthermore, research from the University of Melbourne notes that the ability to self-regulate has been associated with better performance on cognitive tasks and with vocational success. The potentially dangerous connection between workplace safety and personal wellness can be avoided if individuals avoid exhaustion, become more self-aware, and practice being conscious while performing a task. Nicole Spencer proceeds to explore actionable steps that employees can take to improve wellbeing, which can be found below:

Stay hydrated. Water helps your muscles and joints to work better, improves cardiovascular health and cleanses your body inside and out. (9) Bring your reusable water bottle to work and stay hydrated all day! We have filtered water available at all locations, this also helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Eat healthy. Good nutrition has a direct impact on how our body feels. When our body feels good, our mind and spirit follow. Try bringing a few healthy snacks from home to keep a steady nutrition throughout the day.(4) Nobody likes a hangry co-worker. (Like that could ever happen here.. haha)

Exercise. Take the train or bus to work and walk the rest of the way or cycle in to improve cardio. (6) Take up a gym membership. Not only will you feel great by releasing endorphins but you get to skip the traffic! Happy employees make for a job well done!

Don’t work through lunch. Leaving your desk or workstation leads to improved productivity and is the perfect opportunity to clear your head. Find a peaceful place to sit down and focus on your breathing to bring yourself to the present moment, this will help reduce stress and encourage mindfulness before returning back to work. (7) Remember to respect your down time as well as others. (1)

Don’t get involved in gossip. It wastes time and energy. (6)

Take care of your fellow co-worker. Read up on different personalities in the workplace to learn how to deal with them. More and more people suffer from mental illness. (7) Watch out for your fellow co-worker. When we feel safe in our environment, we also feel valued.

Go outside and see the light. Take 10 minutes to get a breath of fresh air or take a quick walk outside on your break. Going outside restores mental energy, relieves stress and improves sharper concentration and creativity. Studies suggest employees that go outside are 25% more productive. (4) Did I mention the ramp up Vitamin D intake? Vitamin D helps maintain the immune system, brain, nervous system, regulate insulin levels amongst many other health benefits. (8)

Rest and Restore. Adults needs 7-9 hours a night to function at their best. According to the National Institutes of Health, poor sleep can also increase the risk of slowed reaction times, irritability, anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.(3) Our bodies have a natural Circadian Biorhythm (our sleep/wake cycle) that regulates hormones including Melatonin, 5 HTP, Serotonin and Cortisol. Getting enough sleep has many health benefits but also, essentially makes us happy! (10) If you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something very calmly in dim light, like folding socks or writing and try again in 20 minutes.

 

Your health is really your wealth! Here’s to being healthy and safe!

 

Thank you, Nicole Spencer, for your thoughtful post on workplace safety!

+++++++++++++++++++

For more information about the Utah Food Services catering team, food and beverage, please be sure to visit our Catering Blog every week.

 

 

(1) www.insidehr.com.au/workplace-wellbeing-new-workplace-safety/.

(2) www.inguard.com/blog/how-wellness-impacts-on-the-job-safety.

(3) www.healthline.com/health-news/its-not-just-for-kids-even-adults-appear-to-benefit-from-a-regular-bedtime.

(4) minutehack.com/guides/10-ways-to-improve-wellbeing-in-the-workplace.

(5) medium.com/hr-playbook/connecting-safety-and-wellness-programs-for-a-better-workplace-dd973d4b7ce2.

(6) www.healthandfitnesstravel.com/advice/topics/workplace-well-being-staying-healthy-at-work/25-easy-tips-to-enhance-your-well-being-at-work-angie-newson.

(7) www.executive-connections.ie/wellbeing-work-ireland-april-8th/.

(8) www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php.

(9) http://www.outdoorblueprint.com/read/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated/

(10)   www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/The-Relationship-Between-Serotonin-and-5-HTP.aspx.

 

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