Guest Author: Arleen Atienza.

Arleen Atienza has been writing for several organizations and individuals in the past six years. Her educational background in Psychology and professional experience in corporate enable her to approach a wide range of topics including finance, business, beauty, health and wellness, and law, to name a few.

There’s no denying that going digital has its benefits for both companies and consumers. Companies can automate processes, craft data-driven strategies, and, in general, run business operations more smoothly. However, companies should be on the lookout for the downsides that being digitalized can bring. These downsides don’t only involve IT problems like cybersecurity breaches or servers crashing, but employees’ overall well-being as well, more specifically, eye health.

The HR or HR department should take the lead in promoting eye wellness among employees. Keeping employees engaged and creating a safe working environment are some of the most important functions that HR has. But why is eye wellness important and why should HR promote it to employees?

Importance of Promoting Eye Wellness to Employees

Achieve Better Productivity

Healthy employees are more likely to perform better than those who feel any type of discomfort or pain. Promoting overall wellness, which includes eye health, is key to having efficient and effective business operations. When companies led by the HR group take better care of their employees, they also benefit from better productivity and an improved bottom line.

Save Time and Money

Mild eye irritations or issues can lead to more serious problems when not treated properly. Eye infections can cause employees to take sick days, which can cause interruptions to your business operations. If employees’ eye health is not addressed correctly, employers may end up spending more time and money processing medical expenses and retraining employees to cover for those who are on medical leave.

Fulfill Responsibility as an Employer

Barring overtime, an average full-time office employee works an estimated 40 hours every week, most of it working in front of a computer or laptop. In fact, a study done by Acuvue states that an average office worker’s screen time amounts to 6.5 hours a day. This much screen time can cause eye strain and, in some cases, worse eye diseases. Because most of an employee’s day is spent at work, employers have a responsibility to make their working conditions safe.

How HR Can Promote Employee Eye Wellness

Initiate Changes to Make the Office More “Eye-Friendly”

Making changes to create a safer work environment not just for the eyes but for the rest of the body is important. When employees feel more comfortable and “in the zone,” they’re more likely to perform well. Consider adding anti-glare screens to lessen digital eye strain. You can also invest in air humidifiers and filters to keep moisture in the air. Doing so can help prevent dry eyes that could lead to eye irritation and even blurry vision.

Be Consistent with Your Communications

Whether it’s a daily announcement or a quarterly HR newsletter, make sure to dedicate enough space and time to promote wellness. Share important tips with your employees on how they can take care of their eyes through proper office set-up, incorporating “eye-friendly” ingredients into their meals, the importance of getting enough sleep, and more. Stressing the importance of eye health shows that while achieving business goals is important, they should not be achieved through unhealthy work practices. Make sure to also train business unit leaders to instil this principle. HR should also train leaders in effective project management and planning. Planning, when done right, can minimize the need for the team to cram and work longer hours, minimising eye strain or dry eyes.

Conduct Eye Wellness Reminders or Breaks

For some employees, it may be difficult to take breaks when they’re already “in the zone,” so to speak. However, it’s important to set boundaries that both HR leaders and employees will honor. Aside from periodic reminders to take eye breaks, you can take things a step further by actually turning off the lights in work areas and conference rooms. Doing so helps instil the practice of taking a break from the computer and ensures that lunch and coffee breaks will really be used to recharge and refuel.

Reassess Your Healthcare Plan

The Human Resources department is responsible for managing employee benefits, including healthcare coverage. They need to make sure that the healthcare plan is up to date and sufficient for employees. As with any health issue, prevention is always preferable to cure. HR should work to include not just eye treatment for when things go bad, but regular eye check-ups in their company’s healthcare coverage. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent larger medical bills and, more importantly, permanent eye damage.

With how fast digitalisation is going, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics. Trying to keep up in a highly competitive market can cause managers and employees to work longer hours and even take their work home during their time off. But HR can play a key role in making sure that the organisation and its people remember that achieving business goals is not mutually exclusive from maintaining employees’ overall well-being.