Date: October 26, 2016

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Nutrition & Healthy Living Links - Workplace_Wellness

Healthy Eating at Work

Physical Activity at Work

Sun Safety at Work

This page was reviewed or revised on Friday, March 6, 2015 3:18 PM

Workplace health programs have proven to help business decrease costs associated with staff turnover, absenteeism and medical claims/benefits usage and to increase profits in terms of higher staff morale and increased productivity. There is a growing interest in Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion as employers recognize the positive economic impact of healthy employees.

Many employers are offering health promotion programs within the workplace. The programs are designed to assist employees in making healthy lifestyle choices. Employers can contact Lambton Public Health for free consultation and resources.

Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion (CWHP)

Traditionally, healthy workplace initiatives have focused on the safety of the physical environment and injury prevention for workers. More recently, programs have been designed to encourage healthier individual behaviours by providing support, information and skill training. While health and safety and healthy lifestyles programs are important contributors to the overall health of employees in a workplace and have some impact on reducing absenteeism, current evidence demonstrates that workplace health promotion programs are more effective when a wider comprehensive approach is used. A comprehensive approach adds elements that affect employee health such as worker satisfaction, management practices and the way work is organized.

Building the Case for Workplace Health

Below are some of the leading statistics and study results from the literature.

Costs Related to Unhealthy Employees

  • The cost of employee absence is approximately $8.6 billion annually.

  • Work absences are increasing due to personal reasons such as illnesses, disability, or personal and family responsibilities.

  • Stress-related illnesses cost employers in terms of absenteeism, higher insurance claims, lost efficiency and lost productivity.

  • Canada’s workforce is aging. Older workers (55-64) average twice as many sick days as their younger counterparts. Benefit costs and absenteeism will likely escalate if older workers do not improve their health.

  • Employees who smoke cost companies between $2,308 and $2,613 more per year than non-smoking employees. 

Starting a Workplace Health Committee

Conditions for Successful Workplace Health Programs

Throughout current workplace health promotion information, there is widespread agreement on the conditions for successful workplace health promotion initiatives:

1. Senior Management Involvement

Evidence of enthusiastic commitment and involvement of senior management is imperative if employees are going to understand their employer’s serious commitment to creating a healthy workplace.

2. Participatory Planning

Workplace health planning should be undertaken in partnership with those who work there. Employees from all levels of staff should be actively engaged in the health and management aspects of the project as well as all on-going processes of workplace health initiatives. 

Steps for Effective CWHP

The depth of involvement with each step of the workplace program management will depend on the size and structure of your business. For example, if you have a small business your committee may consist of one or two people and obtaining management support wouldn’t be as lengthy a process.