The secret’s out, healthy workplaces are in (Web Sight)

Resources for the healthy workplace • Canadian case studies • Making the case • More resources…

The economic burden of illness is a huge cost to employers and not only in terms of direct health benefit and disability figures. Losing good people to illness causes the whole organization to suffer. Employers are turning to prevention and healthy workplace programs to catch problems before they hatch. These sites offer resources and further reading on the importance of a good workplace health program and how to achieve it.

Resources for the healthy workplace

The Workplace Health Strategies Bureau, a branch of Health Canada, offers some great resources for employers looking for ideas and information concerning workplace health promotion programs. “The mandate and key activity areas…include strategies to increase awareness and understanding of comprehensive workplace health, building national and international capacity through partnerships, establishing links with other federal and provincial stakeholders, and the dissemination of workplace health systems models.” The site features links to other organizations, free publications and papers from outside sources (see next site).

Canadian case studies

This rather lengthy document from Health Canada “reflects the developing state of health promotion, both the concepts and the processes. It represents the continuing efforts to bring together for review initiatives from across the country.” The report is organized under two categories: workplace health and community health. Under the workplace health category a number of issues are covered including: work and culture; the Health, Work and Wellness Conference (1997); workplace determinants of health (individual factors, job factors, organizational factors, external factors); assessing workplace impacts; the Workplace Health System (WHS); relationships between health and work; and new strategies in workplace health. Four main corporate case studies are examined from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, NBTel (New Brunswick), BC Telephone Company and several Montreal work sites. The case studies are well organized and relevant for organizations looking to implement a new health promotion initiative or evaluate an existing initiative.

Making the case

In this article from the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation, the author makes the case for workplace health promotion. She discusses the evolution of prevention programs and identifies the three components of a comprehensive workplace health prevention programs as being: the physical work environment, individual health practices and the psychosocial work environment (the organizational culture.) “Organizational factors such as management practices, workplace policies and procedures and level of employee involvement in decision-making impact job satisfaction and control, which are powerful contributors to employee and workplace health.” The author points out the main benefits of comprehensive, successful programs and presents a table showing return-on-investment data per dollar spent for specific companies including Prudential Insurance, General Mills, Bank of America.

More resources…

The National Quality Institute offers a number of articles and publications on its website for download. Everything is accessible from the menu bar on the left of the screen. For free articles, click the “articles button” and select “Healthy Workplace” from the topic list. Under the “Products and Tools” button on the main menu there is a section on “Healthy Workplace” that offers a lot of great material on healthy workplace criteria and more. There is a charge for some of this material, but there is also a good deal of free content available for download. More resources can be found under the “Healthy Workplace,” section from the main menu. Don’t be flummoxed by all the “Healthy Workplace” headings, it will make sense once you’re on the site. Visitors will have to sign up for a free user login to download any of the publications, however registration doesn’t take long and the material is valuable with a Canadian focus.

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.

To read the full story, login below.

Not a subscriber?

Start your subscription today!