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Workplace health and well-being should be a part of the overall company strategy for a healthy workplace. The purpose of a workplace health and well-being program is to offer personal health resources and services for all employees. When setting up any program, remember to include training and other support and choices where possible (e.g., setting aside time for staff to attend sessions).
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 not always a legislative mandate. However, it is important to remember that employees may be exposed to a wide variety of health hazards at work on a regular basis. As such, it is impossible to deal with health and safety issues in isolation from workplace health and well-being, 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 to 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 workplace health and well-being 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 health and well-being work can be led by the health and safety committee.
There are a few steps that an organization should follow when developing a workplace health and well-being program. 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".
Establish who will take ownership and be the contact point of the health and well-being program. This leadership can come from someone who has demonstrated their interest in this area or a new or established joint labour/management committee.
Like any policy, it will not be successful without support from senior management. Help the leaders of your organization recognize that a workplace health and well-being program is a positive investment in building a healthy workplace. Formally introducing corporate policies that state the importance of the workplace health and well-being program is an essential step to demonstrate your organization’s commitment.
Step 2: Get support from everyone.
Talk to as many people or groups as you can. The following groups can help gather support:
Step 3: Acknowledge current activities and collect baseline data.
There may be groups or initiatives already established in your organization that can form the basis for your workplace’s health and well-being initiatives. Acknowledging existing activities (for example, a group of people who regularly goes for walks together at lunch) may encourage new ideas for your program, like a 'walkers mileage club'. Whenever possible, encourage participation at all levels of your organization and make sure participation is possible across all abilities.
Collecting data on how your organization is doing now, or baseline data, can also help you determine the effectiveness of your initiatives later on.
Step 4: Identify the key needs and expectations of the workplace.
You want to find out the employees’ needs, attitudes, and preferences regarding specific aspects of implementing a workplace health and well-being program. You can survey employees with:
You can also collect information by:
It is crucial to find out the needs of your audience before designing your program or policy. See a sample survey.
Step 5: Develop a detailed plan.
Based on the information collected in steps three and four:
When delivering your program, it can be helpful to organize your activities into categories such as:
Refer to our OSH Answers Workplace Health and Well-being – Sample Workplace Health and Well-being Program Elements for additional 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:
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.
Review and evaluate your program:
Determine next steps:
(Adapted from: Comprehensive Workplace Health Program Guide, CCOHS)