Fostering a safer and healthier workplace
Workplace safety, health & wellbeing

Fostering a safer and healthier workplace

With new flexible working arrangements comes new health and safety benefits and considerations. Here is how organisations can benefit from this model and harness workplace tech to streamline health and safety in the new world of work.

April 27, 2023

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is about raising awareness, promoting action, and advocating for safe and healthy workplaces across all occupations, industries and locations.

The theme of the 2023 World Day explores the topic of a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work and the role of good work design to support this.  

When we think of good work design as it relates to safety we might be inclined to picture an industrial work environment, like manufacturing or construction. However good work design is one that fosters a safe and healthy physical and psychosocial environment for all workers and extends to the office, and more recently the hybrid office.

This article explores the concept of good work design and where it is heading in the new world of work, especially with the provision of workplace tech that has thought of it all so you don’t have to.

Key elements of Good Work Design

With the physical and psychosocial environment in mind, Good Work Design takes into account the following workplace considerations:

  1. The work itself and how tasks are performed - including resources and tools provided
  2. Your workers’ needs, preferences and capacities  - appropriately matching tasks with skills and career goals
  3. The physical work environment - including workspaces and facilities
  4. The systems and processes involved in the work - including information technology, business management and human interaction.

What is a safe and healthy physical work environment?

Under the ‘Model Code of Practice for Managing the Work Environment and Facilities’, Safework Australia refers to the physical work environment as:

  • Workspaces - i.e. lighting, ventilation and ergonomics
  • Facilities for workers - i.e. ammenities and personal storage
  • Remote and isolated work - i.e. night shift workers and field workers
  • Emergency plans - i.e. procedures and appointment of area wardens

What about a healthy psychosocial work environment?

The psychosocial work environment refers to the interaction between workers and their work environment, and the impact of work on their health and wellbeing.

Key to promoting worker satisfaction and productivity, a positive psychosocial work environment offers good communication, supportive relationships, clear job demands, adequate resources, and opportunities for growth and development.

On the other hand, a negative psychosocial work environment can include unrealistic job demands, low control or autonomy, inadequate resources, compounded by a lack of support, communication, and recognition. At the extreme end of the spectrum it can include workplace bullying or exclusion.

The design of a hybrid workplace ought to consider psychosocial factors and hazards by being as inclusive, supportive, communicative and well-resourced as possible.

Health and safety in a hybrid workplace

Optimising physical elements such as resources and facilities of a workplace - coupled with robust policies and workplace culture factors that positively impact the psychosocial work environment - is key to keeping a well-oiled hybrid working office machine.

Here are some key areas of focus:


Keeping an open flow of communication and establishing protocols for communication is key.

With the number of collaboration tools at our finger tips and a mix of on site and remote employees on any given day, making open communication a core component of your workplace culture helps breed inclusion, minimise feelings of isolation and increases productivity.  

It also helps prevent proximity bias - the subconscious tendency to overlook employees who are not located physically close to us.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts of communication as it relates to health and safety, Safework Australia reported 130,195 total serious claims in 2020-21, 12,155 of which were for mental health conditions related to stress and anxiety. Improved communication would have a positive impact in both instances; by ensuring that workers are properly informed and trained on safety procedures, and fostering a culture with mechanisms where they can openly raise all types of concerns and report hazards without fear of judgement.

Did you know?

As a workplace management platform, Nura Space is developing an in-built hazard logging feature which will allow employees to log hazards with precision from their phone or web app.  It is also easy to locate fire wardens and first aiders on the live floor plan from mobile or web in case of emergency. Learn more about our Safety Features.

Emergency readiness

One key challenge with hybrid working, especially flexible hybrid working, is ensuring an adequate presence of first aiders and fire wardens on-site on any given day.

According to the Safe Work Australia Workplace Code of Practice, low-risk workplaces require one first aider for every 50 employees and it is recommended to have at least one fire warden for every 20-30 people in a building.

With these sorts of required quotas and a fluctuating number of remote and on-site employees day to day, it can be easy to fall short of emergency personnel some days, even if every effort is made to coordinate their in-office days to avoid this.

Did you know?

In a hybrid working environment, only workplaces that are technology enabled can definitively measure the presence of fire wardens and first aiders day by day without manual audits. By requiring all employees to book their in-office days in advance, whether it be ad-hoc or fixed and recurring, facilities staff can gain a live snapshot of potential upcoming shortfalls and run a report on historic attendance of emergency personnel/regular employees in order to forecast any patterns and act accordingly. Learn more about Nura Space's workplace analytics.

Access to resources

Equitable workplaces where all employees have access to adequate resources regardless of location is highly topical in hybrid workplaces.

This includes access to technology, software, and hardware needed for remote work, as well as appropriate office space and equipment for those working on-site. By prioritising equitable access to resources, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment that benefits all employees, improves job satisfaction and of course, productivity.

Did you know?

Equitable access to resources may be at risk in hybrid workplaces with a desk sharing model and flexible work hours. That is, an employee who starts and finishes later could miss out on securing the suitable resources for that day. The Nura Space desk booking feature allows employees to find and book their appropriate resources - desk, locker and soon a carspace - from anywhere at anytime. Learn more about our Desk Booking feature.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the second most common workplace injury in 2020-21 was prolonged muscle or joint pain, accounting for almost 20% or all injuries. And managers, professionals and admin staff (predominently office based workers) made up for 7% of all injury claims.

Sound ergonomics of the workpoint is critical for workplace health and wellbeing. This becomes all the more important for desk sharing models such as hot desking or desk hotelling.

In the high cost 1-1 desking model, a visit from an ergonomist can ensure the correct positioning of chairs, desk height and monitor arms can ensure sound ergonomics provided you remain at the same workpoint from thereon in. However, when we rotate or desk share, we need to ensure a consistent desk height and monitor positioning.

Did you know?

Prolonged standing and prolonged sitting is a cause for physical stress. To address this, electrically operated sit-stand desks are becoming increasingly popular in new office fit-outs or upgrades.

The Nura Space desk booking feature can integrate the software with the desk hardware so that the app can be set with preferred sit-stand heights. This allows the employee to enjoy a consistent and ergonomic setup no matter were they are seated for the day. Then upon checkout, the app can be programmed to automatically return to the standard sit height ready for the next user. We call this nifty feature follow me ergonomics

Reap the health and safety benefits of Nura Space

If any of these challenges have given food for thought or already sound familiar, reach out to us to discuss the possibilities for your individual business needs. You can also book to start a free demo to see it in action and take it from there.


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