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Workplace stress is more prevalent than ever. Employees often have to deal with fast-paced environments and high expectations. Many employers are largely ignoring the link between workplace stress and health issues. Experiencing high levels of stress can lead to health problems, particularly with the eyes, and in turn, this can make stress even worse. Focusing on the link between eye health and employee burnout can help create a healthier workplace. And taking advantage of robust employee benefits in Oklahoma and beyond can help you provide the right resources.
The connection between eye health and stress
The typical workplace isn’t always friendly for eye health. Between screens, glare and bright lights, eye strain is a common issue.
Researchers have found that elevated cortisol levels associated with high stress levels can affect the brain and nervous system. Conditions like glaucoma and optic neuropathy can also appear as a result of high stress, and in turn, cause it to increase, since completing work-related tasks becomes harder for those who are affected by poor eye health.
Once vision problems appear, performing simple tasks can become a challenge. As a result, employees will keep squinting and leaning forward to be closer to their screen. These two habits can worsen eye strain and accelerate the progression of vision health problems.
Plus, struggling with simple tasks can make a work environment even more stressful as employees get behind on their workload and can’t meet performance requirements. Some might put in more hours to compensate and accelerate their vision loss.
This link creates a vicious cycle. Stress continues to increase and eye health keeps getting worse, making it more difficult for employees to keep up with the employer’s expectations. Eventually, burnout sets in, resulting in exhausted employees who are disengaged from their job.
A widespread issue of eye health and employee burnout
Did you know that burnout is the most common reason for quitting? A total of 40% of employees who quit their job in 2021 cited burnout as a reason for leaving. And it’s a widespread phenomenon with as many as 95% of workers considering quitting.
More than half of all employees have already experienced burnout, a costly issue for employers. When a large portion of the workforce experiences burnout, employees tend to become disengaged, less productive and stop caring about their job.
In spite of how extensive this issue is, many employers have a narrow view of burnout and ignore the link to physical health problems, including vision health.
Creating an eye-friendly workplace
There are a few steps you can take to address eye health and employee burnout:
- Employees need to have ergonomic chairs that will help them adopt a good sitting posture. They should also be able to adjust their computer monitor so it sits level with their eyes.
- Things like window treatments and dimmable lights can help reduce glare.
- Educate employees about the 20-20-20 rule. It’s a simple exercise they can use to relax their eyes. Every 20 minutes, they should look at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Ideally, employees should also take longer breaks every two hours or so to prevent eye strain.
- One of the issues with computer screens is that they reduce blinking. Blinking less can cause irritation, dryness and tiredness. You can make a difference by educating employees about this issue and recommending blinking exercises every hour or so.
- Creating a workplace where employees can maintain a healthy work-life balance will help with stress and eye health. Things like not working long hours in the evening can prevent vision loss.
Upgrade your employee benefits in Oklahoma and beyond
Regular appointments with an eye health specialist are important. A professional can diagnose issues early, prescribe glasses or contacts if needed, and give personalized advice adapted to the challenges each employee is facing.
Employers can address the link between eye health and employee burnout by upgrading their employee benefits in Oklahoma (and nationwide) to include a robust vision plan. Partnering with Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma means giving employees access to affordable eye exams and better eye health.
Contact us to learn more about how our negotiated savings and pre-paid plans can help you offer employee benefits in Oklahoma and beyond.