4. Manage expectations
It often happens that the mutual expectations of employees and employers are not sufficiently clear. Expectations that are too high or unrealistic can hinder employee recovery. That is why it helps as an employer and employee to make clear agreements about mutual expectations. It concerns questions such as:
5. Maintain and promote autonomy
- How are working hours and breaks arranged?
- What does the availability look like?
- Is the employee expected to work (a lot of) overtime?
- Is there a possibility for extra recovery time after a busy, stressful period?
- Is the employee expected to be available (always) in the evenings, at weekends and during holidays?
- When will people be satisfied with my efforts and results? When am I satisfied?
- What are the expectations and requirements for my professional development?
- Do the expectations match the knowledge, skills and qualities of the employee?
Research has shown that people need influence and control over their work to stay healthy (Choi, et al., 2011). It is then about the way the work is done, whether breaks can be taken and whether a chat with colleagues can be made.
A production worker must do the work within a certain time and cannot delegate. Employees who experience a high workload, but who can (co-) decide for themselves about the execution, the order and the pace in which they have to do their task, report fatigue complaints less often. In addition, being able to participate in decisions about leave and working hours also promotes a decrease in the number of fatigue complaints. This is because employees can then distribute their workload better (CBS, 2020).
Time writing seems efficient, but it decreases people's recovery time and creativity. The space for relaxation is, as it were, taken off the agenda. People start to feel like work robots and start to behave as such (Marqueze et al., 2016).
6. Plan 'air holes', also during online consultations
A workday is effective if there are 6-7 hours of productive time (Loannides & Mavroudeas, 2020). People spend the other 1 to 2 hours on work organization and self-care; think of (mini) breaks, going to the toilet, switching from one activity to another. Also take these kinds of 'air holes' into account in the planning. In addition, planning that takes unexpected events into account can reduce work stress.
Due to the corona crisis, we see employees who have fully planned their days with online meetings. [SR1] Conversations that used to take place at the workplace or in between in the corridors and at the coffee machine are now conducted via the computer. As a result, people sit behind their screens from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. People who recognize this are advised to consciously plan 'meeting-free' time; for example, no online meetings before 09:00, between 12:00 and 13:00 and after 16:30.
When it comes to one-on-one conversations, you can also occasionally "walking bells" (with the phone and earplugs in and walking outside and have the conversation).
7. Give people enough good light
Good lighting is important for the computer workplace in several ways. Lighting conditions not only affect our physical comfort when working on screens, but also have a major impact on our well-being and performance. Good lighting conditions exist when there are no disturbing reflections and glare, when there is no false contrast and when the brightness is good. It is also important that both horizontal and vertical lighting of the entire work area is present. Adapting to poor lighting conditions often leads to eyestrain, headaches and fatigue. In addition, everyone follows the circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle. This is largely determined by natural daylight. With conventional, artificial lighting, this regular light stimulus is missing and the hormone secretion in our body can get confused. In addition to loss of concentration, stress and problems with falling asleep, this can contribute to long-term psychological disorders.
Biodynamic light should be used more to avoid psychological hazards.
This is light that follows the daylight cycle and adjusts the color temperature and brightness of natural daylight during the day, thus regulating the so-called circadian rhythm. This ensures a balanced day-night rhythm for people. Even seasonal depression (SAD) is counteracted with biodynamic light because it provides the light people lack during the dark winter months. Office workers can generally be helped much better with individual "energy management" and "regeneration".