Workplace Health PromotionPosted on October 8, 2013
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.