October 17, 2023
Generation Z and millennials make up a huge part of the workforce and are only continuing to grow, and with this increase, more is being asked from the workplaces that employ them. Workplace wellness is becoming increasingly essential, especially as employee well-being decreases and affects trust in employers’ efforts. With significant economic woes and work setup changes affecting professional life, 64 percent of the UK workforce would say their overall well-being is low. As such, Gen-Z and millennial workers are demanding a greater focus on workplace wellness initiatives.
Care for physical well-being is a major demand, but an overlooked yet crucial part of that is eye health. With many Gen-Z and millennial employees working in front of screens, vision and eye health are becoming a bigger concern and priority. Here’s why workplace wellness and eye health are essential for millennials and Gen-Z workers and what businesses can do to help:
Vision and eye health’s role in the workplace
Millions of employees worldwide struggle with undiagnosed or unmanaged eye and vision problems, and the lack of treatment can lead to more serious conditions or the worsening of existing ones. Eye issues and vision impairment also come with indirect costs like medical expenses, absenteeism, and reduced productivity, affecting the workplace. Workers with vision impairment are also 30% less likely to be employed. Eye health at work is crucial for ensuring employee well-being and business productivity.
For Gen-Z and millennials, eye health is being increasingly impacted by digital devices and screen time. Many of these young professionals have grown up in a digital age where technology has become much more accessible and intertwined with daily life, which has affected their vision and eye health. Approximately 80% of European millennials have experienced related eye fatigue when using digital devices, and 77% of UK adults say they’re eyes feel strained after a long day at work. Since many employees use screens for work and personal time, issues like computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain are becoming more common. Symptoms like eye fatigue, eye strain, sensitivity to bright lights, and headaches are the most common effects of increased screen time, and these may lead to even worse vision issues down the line.
How employers can help
Employers can aid in employee eye health in various ways. Financial barriers are a major reason why Gen-Z and millennial employees don’t get eye exams done regularly, with the average cost between £20-£25, so employers can include vision insurance in their benefits packages or help cover the cost of eye exams and eyewear. Wearing prescription glasses will help reduce any workplace discomfort, so encouraging employees to wear them, get their prescriptions updated or have their eyes checked will lead to a healthier work environment. Online eyewear retailers make it easier than ever to help them get new frames made to their exact needs and delivered to them.
Reworking the typical work day or environment can also aid in eye safety at work. Implementing regular breaks or encouraging the use of the 20/20/20 rule can help. This rule suggests taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away. Reminders and regular breaks can help employees stay on top of that rule. Ensure that the office has good lighting and that screens aren’t reflecting light into workers’ eyes. You can conduct an assessment to ensure everyone’s work setup and environment are comfortable and safe for the eyes.
Gen-Z and millennials see workplace wellness as essential, and eye health and care are no exceptions. Businesses must keep up with the demand for these well-being initiatives in order to stay competitive and retain their younger workforce, who aren’t afraid to look elsewhere if they feel their needs aren’t being met. Promoting eye health and overall wellness at work can be key to employee satisfaction and business success.