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Workplace health and well-being should be a part of the overall company strategy for a healthy workplace. Health and safety legislation and other workplace policies or programs can provide a basis for a workplace health (or health promotion) program. When setting up any program, remember to include training and other support (e.g., time to attend sessions) and choices where possible.
Remember that for health and safety programs, there are specific laws and regulations that must be complied with. Workplace health programs are different from traditional health and safety programs because there is no legislative mandate. However, the purpose of a workplace health and well-being program is to offer personal health resources and services for all employees. Therefore it is important to remember that employees are potentially exposed to a wide variety of health hazards or situations at work on a regular basis. As such, it is impossible to deal with workplace health / well-being issues in isolation from health and safety, and vice versa.
Another strategy to address workplace health and well-being is to create and implement a Comprehensive Workplace Health and Safety (CWHS) Program. This program is a series of strategies and related activities, initiatives and policies developed by the employer, in consultation with employees, to continually improve or maintain the quality of working life, health, and the well-being of the workforce. These activities are developed as part of a continual improvement process to improve the work environment (physical, psychosocial, organizational, economic), and to increase personal empowerment and personal growth.
When planning the workplace health program, remember to be clear about your:
Generally, a joint labour/management committee is recommended. A committee has the advantage of being able to work with key groups at your organization, including the health and safety committee. Depending on the size and needs of the organization, these committees may be separate or the work can be done via the health and safety committee.
There are a few steps that an organization should follow when developing a workplace health and well-being program for the workplace. When planning to implement your program, one should recognize that every organization is different and therefore everyone's needs may vary too.
Step 1: Take ownership and leadership and get support from the "top".
Have someone who is interested in taking on the role and being the contact point of the program. It may be a joint committee from labour and management or someone who wants to take interest in leading the project.
Like any policy, it will not be successful without support from senior management. After recognizing that this program presents an investment, it will make a difference when getting support from senior management.
Step 2: Get support from everyone.
Talk to as many people or groups as you can. Other people who can help, if they are not involved already, include:
Step 3: Acknowledge current or informal activities and collect baseline data.
There may be groups already established in many companies and may help you form a basis for your workplace active living program. Acknowledging these existing activities (for example, a group of people going for walks together at lunch) may encourage new ideas for your program, like a 'walkers mileage club'. Whenever possible, encourage participation at all levels and at all abilities.
Step 4: Identify the key needs and expectations of the workplace.
You want to find out the employees:
regarding specific aspects of implementing a workplace health program. You can survey employees with:
You can also conduct surveys by:
It is crucial in finding out the needs of your audience before designing your program or policy. See a sample survey.
Step 5: Develop a detailed plan.
Based on steps one to four:
When delivering your program, make sure you organize your activities into such as:
Refer to our OSH Answers Workplace Health and Well-being - Sample Workplace Health and Well-being Program Elements for sample suggestions of workplace program elements.
Step 6: Put your plan into action.
Now it is time to communicate your program to everyone. Promoting your program can be done in many ways such as:
Formally introducing corporate policies that state the importance of the workplace health program are an additional essential step.
Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and maintain the program.
Now it is time to monitor the progress and track results of your program. Always know that there is room for change and improvement for both short-term and long-term goals. Make sure you:
Review and evaluate your program:
Maintain the program:
(Adapted from:Workplace Health and Wellness Guide. CCOHS)
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.