“Healthy employees are good for business.”
— Nurturing Health, 1993
Why is Workplace Health so Important?
With over 15 million Canadians spending more than one-half of their waking hours at work, many companies are beginning to examine the health of their workplaces. Social environment, physical environment, lifestyle, communication, and stress all impact our health and wellness.
The social environment is created by the interaction of people and their relationships with one another. It has a strong impact on the mental and physical health of employees. This environment is strongly influenced by managerial decisions, policies and practices, and the interpersonal relationships among employees. The social environment addresses basic human needs such as a sense of belonging, purpose and mission, sense of control, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.
The physical environment at work and at home has a major influence on employee health and well-being. Aspects of the physical environment include: noise level, ergonomics, toxic substances, air quality, workplace design, safe lifting, employee violence, work pace, physical demands, and safety guidelines. Organizational support and commitment to strategies that reduce injury/illness at home and at work are critical.
A workplace also needs to support health practices that encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours and coping skills. Lifestyle issues include: healthy weight, healthy eating, physical activity, hygiene, stress management, shift work,
tobacco, alcohol and drug use.
Benefits of a healthy workplace can include:
- Reduced absenteeism
- Reduced benefit costs
- Higher employee morale and job satisfaction
- Happier and healthier staff
- Lowered insurance costs
- Reduced staff turnover
- Increased productivity
- Increased organizational effectiveness
View the complete Healthy Workplace Guide
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