How Health Can Impact Your Concentration at Work

Monday, September 12, 2016

Workers with poor concentration can be ‘an accident waiting to happen' on the factory floor and cause serious errors in an office environment.  When people find concentration difficult over a period of several days, it could be a symptom of an underlying physical or psychological illness.

This warning sign should be taken seriously and a visit to the doctor is definitely indicated. Most health problems can be treated effectively if you see a doctor in good time.  Here are some of the common underlying causes of reduced concentration:

Psychological causes: stress – anxiety – depression - emotional trauma – alcohol/drug abuse

Physical causes: severe headaches - body pain - vision problems - heart disease - metabolic/h -monal imbalances – infections - kidney disease - kidney stones - liver disease – insomnia and other sleep disorders - excessive alcohol or drugs

Work-related health issues

However, poor concentration can also be caused by work-related stress, the constant physical discomfort of an uncomfortable chair, a lack of foot rests and a host of other adverse conditions in the workplace, like excessive noise and inadequate lighting.  Employers often overlook the way that the whole working environment affects productivity.

For this reason, employers should take an interest in the health and comfort of their employees, because even minor symptoms reduce job performance and prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure.  And creating a healthy and efficient working environment is the expertise that ergonomics can bring to your business.

Boredom, stress and impaired concentration

Stress brought on by boring work also causes lack of concentration in the workplace. Scientific studies from several sources have proved that monotonous, repetitive jobs automatically switch our brains to ‘rest mode' - whether we like it or not.  

It's a common occupational health issue that employers need to be aware of in order to prevent accidents related to machine operation and something that can quickly be resolved by an ergonomics assessment and overhaul.

Maximising productivity

Ergonomics is a globally recognised practical science that maximises productivity through providing workers with work conditions that promote job efficiency and good health – both physical and psychological.  Ergonomics was originally developed by the military to provide aircraft pilots, submarine personnel and all machine-related occupations with the best possible set-up for maximum efficiency. 

It was then developed and refined by the designers of spacecraft and today it's a multi-disciplinary applied science employing biomechanics, engineering, psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy and more to create outstanding business efficiency.  In the commercial/business/industrial world, the goal of ergonomics is clearly defined - maximum productivity through:

  • Low absenteeism
  • Low injury rate
  • High job satisfaction
  • High staff retention
  • Maximum productivity

Workplace health and ergonomics 

Workplace health and ergonomics assessors are experts in efficient working practices.  An in-depth ergonomics assessment of the issues adversely affecting personnel can correct a multitude of important – but often overlooked – factors directly affecting health, concentration and productivity.

These factors may include the way work is organised and supervised, shift-work schedules that cause sleep deprivation, poor office design and uncomfortable workstations. For example, an ergonomics consultant can re-organise and rotate workers on monotonous jobs, so they won't lose their concentration and cause injuries or costly mistakes.

In-house health screening days

Workplace health and ergonomic consultants can provide in-house Employee Health Assessment days to identify employees with health problems who need medical treatment.  This is a very effective way of enhancing job performance by helping your personnel to stay healthy. 

In addition, employer-led health initiatives increase morale and job satisfaction because employees feel appreciated by their employer.  Along with tailor-made Injury Prevention Programmes and training in safety procedures this is a splendid way to reduce absenteeism and increase staff retention.

A complete ergonomics overhaul is a very cost-effective way of increasing productivity because the typical return is, at least, double the cost of the initial investment.   If the military continues to fund research into ergonomics and preventive medicine – that's probably a good sign that it's the best way to prevent health issues impacting on productivity.

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