Workplace Health Promotion
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 10:23
Workplaces everywhere are feeling the impact of current health levels of the Canadian workforce with: high stress, poor job satisfaction, growing absenteeism, high turnover, and mistakes caused by physical and mental fatigue. A healthy workplace creates happier, productive employees, which in the end increases your bottom line. It simply makes good business sense to invest in your work environment by promoting a healthy active lifestyle.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the Canadian economy lost an estimated $16.6 billion last year due to absenteeism in the workplace.
Why should we promote health in the workplace?
- Reduced health care costs, absenteeism, staff turnover, worker compensation claims, and on the job injuries.
- Increased quality and quantity of production.
- Improved job satisfaction, employee morale, and corporate image.
- Fewer workplace conflicts.
Tips for creating a healthy workplace:
- Design a comprehensive program (some of these suggestions will depend on the size of your workplace) - planning may include: forming a wellness committee and a budget, getting management support, discovering the make up of your workforce (interests, shifts and location of employees), determining your target audience, and discussing your overall goals and objectives.
- Emphasize healthy weight loss through balanced nutrition, moderate exercise and behavioural changes. Create awareness of your program through emails, flyers and bulletin boards.
- Create an informal environment where participants can feel comfortable sharing frustrations, successes and failures. A supportive peer environment is essential in the success of any workplace health promotion program. Try to foster an idea of team spirit among your staff.
- Organize creative workplace activities, for example try out the 10,000 steps initiative, bike to work day or week, a fitness challenge, or a holiday cooking contest that features a healthy version of a holiday recipe.
Even if you aren't in the position to implement a program, there are many small steps you can take to encourage health and wellness. Implementing one component at a time can act like a trial run, it gives you the opportunity to see how employees respond and lets you gauge whether or not a more in depth program may be useful in the future. Whichever you choose - even a small step in the direction of health promotion - can have a positive impact on your workplace environment.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Archer S. Health Is Wealth: THE RISE OF WORKPLACE WELLNESS. IDEA Fitness Journal. May 2012;9(5):37-44.
2. DeJoy D, Wilson M. Organizational health promotion: broadening the horizon of workplace health promotion. American Journal Of Health Promotion. May 2003;17(5):337-341.
3. Linnan L, Fisher E, Flood S. THE POWER AND POTENTIAL OF PEER SUPPORT IN WORKPLACE INTERVENTIONS. American Journal Of Health Promotion. September 2013;28(1):TAHP-2-TAHP-10.
4. Machen R, Cuddihy T, Reaburn P, Higgins H. Development of a Workplace Wellness Promotion Pilot Framework: A Case Study of the Blue Care Staff Wellness Program. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Health, Sport & Physical Education. August 2010;1(2):13-20.
5. Mills P, Kessler R, Cooper J, Sullivan S. Impact of a Health Promotion Program on Employee Health Risks and Work Productivity. American Journal Of Health Promotion. September 2007;22(1):45-53.
6. St. George A, King L, Newson R, Wells V, Campbell M. Implementing workplace health promotion initiatives: who should we target?. Health Promotion Journal Of Australia. August 2012;23(2):134-140.