What is a Healthy Workplace

Traditionally, there are three factors that influence the health of the organization and its employees.

  1. Occupational Health and Safety
  2. Individual Health Practices and Behaviours
  3. Organizational Culture

The most effective health programs address all three factors and Corporate Social Responsibility (also referred to as Community Involvement), an additional fourth factor recognized by the World Health Organization in 2012.

Occupational Health and Safety

These initiatives help to provide a safe physical environment that prevents illness and injury. Examples may include:

  • Ergonomically designed workstations
  • Safe and well-lit stairways
  • Health and safety training e.g. first aid or hazardous material training

Individual Health Practices and Behaviours

Health initiatives can encourage and support employees in making healthy lifestyle choices. Examples may include:

  • Healthy food choices in the cafeteria and/or vending machines
  • Physical activity programs at breaks and/or lunch hour
  • Smoking cessation programs or support groups

Organizational Culture

A healthy workplace culture promotes work enjoyment and productivity. Workplace initiatives can enhance the physical and mental well-being of the employees. Examples may include:

  • Employee recognition programs
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Leadership training and development opportunities
  • Staff involvement in decision making

Corporate Social Responsibility (also referred to as Community Involvement)

Healthy workplaces address broader social and environmental determinants of worker’s health. Workplaces that adopt community involvement practices experience bottom-line benefits and enhance society at large. Examples may include:

  • Charitable support to community causes and non-profit organizations
  • Voluntary pollution/waste control measures and disclosures
  • Equal employment opportunity policies and practices

Benefits of a Healthy Workplace

For workplaces:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced benefit costs
  • Higher employee morale and job satisfaction
  • Happier and healthier staff
  • Improved corporate image
  • Lowered insurance costs
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased organizational effectiveness

For employees:

  • Improved health
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased risk of injury and/or illness
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Increased ability to balance work and family responsibilities