Healthy and well-motivated employees can have a positive impact on an organisation, so it’s important to promote health at work. However, workplace health promotion is about taking steps to help employees improve their own general health and wellbeing at work.
Workplace health promotion can include many different elements, and organisations should choose to focus on the issues that are most relevant to them. There are some simple steps that organisations can take to encourage workplace wellbeing:
- Allow employees to participate in, and consult with, workplace health initiatives.
- Offer training to all staff, such as courses on workplace health and safety and mental health, one of the most common causes of sickness absence.
- Educate employees on the effect of drugs and alcohol and support staff to give up smoking.
- Support flexible working arrangements, such as part-time work, flexi-time or working from home.
Benefits of Workforce Health Promotion
These benefits are greater for low-paid workers in high risk occupations and settings, and in this way occupational health interventions can reduce inequities.
Workplace Health Promotion
According WHO, workplace health promotion focuses on a number of factors that may not be sufficiently covered in the legislation and practice of occupational health programmes, such as the organizational environment, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and non-occupational factors in the general environment. Non-occupational factors include family welfare, home and commuting conditions, and community factors which affect workers’ health.
Workplace health promotion supports a participatory process to help promote a stronger implementation of occupational and environmental health legislation. It suggests tools for maintaining or strengthening a national healthy workplace initiative, such as an awards system as an incentive for participating enterprises, and creation of healthy workplace networks. To be successful, workplace health promotion must involve the participation of employees, management and other stakeholders in the implementation of jointly agreed initiatives and should help employers and employees at all levels to increase control over and improve their health.
While some health promotion activities in the workplace tend to focus on a single illness or risk factor (e.g. prevention of heart disease) or on changing personal health practices and behaviours (e.g. smoking, diet), there is a growing appreciation that there are multiple determinants of workers’ health. In addition to person-focused interventions, workforce health promotion initiatives have moved toward a more comprehensive approach, which acknowledges the combined influence of personal, environmental, organizational, community and societal factors on employee well-being.
A health-promoting workplace recognizes that a healthy workforce is essential and integrates policies, systems and practices conducive to health at all levels of the organization. Rather than a series of projects, workforce health promotion is an ongoing process for improving work and health. Effective health promotion assists employers to adopt appropriate administrative procedures and workers to use safe working practices. Occupational health personnel benefit from training and education in health promotion to enable them to implement it as a part of their occupational health practice.
Experience in workplace health promotion has shown that competitions and awards are valuable in engaging enterprises in occupational health and safety activities. Firms and enterprises achieve valuable publicity and a boost in staff morale through competing to become the most healthy and caring company.