The importance of investing in health and wellness
Investments in employee health and wellness have far-reaching benefits. Workplaces that have strong health and wellness programs tend to have healthier employees who are engaged on the job and have lower rates of absenteeism.
This contributes to a more positive and healthier workplace culture – a workplace that demonstrates higher levels of trust, respect and fairness. This makes the organization a more desirable place to work for high-performing employees and makes it easier to retain top talent.
The wide-ranging benefits of a healthy workplace
Healthy workplaces have been shown to:
- attract better quality employees,
- increase employee productivity, morale and commitment,
- see higher levels of employee engagement,
- reduce employee turnover,
- reduce healthcare costs,
- reduce absenteeism and
- improve employee/employer relations.
Key elements of a healthy workplace
Many elements contribute to a healthy workplace, including the overall workplace culture, employee health and lifestyle practices, and the physical environment.
Workplace culture and supportive environments
A supportive and positive workplace culture is one where:
- Employees understand how their work contributes to the organization’s vision and purpose
- Communication is clear and transparent
- Leadership is cohesive
- Rules are clear and widely understood by all
- There is a sense of trust, respect and a sense of belonging
- There’s freedom of expression and protection from harassment and discrimination
- There’s an appropriate balance between life and work responsibilities
- Employees feel assured of their physical and psychological health and safety
Health & lifestyle practices
Workplace programs can contribute to healthy lifestyle practices. These programs can include:
- Employee and family assistance programs
- Wellness committees
- Workplace accommodations
- Initiatives to promote healthy living options, including eating well, smoking cessation and fitness programs
A healthy and safe physical environment also contributes to a positive culture. These are workplaces where:
- Worksites are safe and clean
- Employees are knowledgeable about emergency procedures
- Equipment and furniture is ergonomically designed
- Safety committees are in place
- Worksites meet their regulatory obligations through WorkSafeBC
Health and wellness programs
Organizations with health and wellness programs are more likely to have a healthy workplace culture. Learn more about how to develop a health and wellness program for your district.
There are many resources available that can help you promote a healthy workplace culture. Here are few places to start:
- The BC Ministry of Health’s workbook and toolkit Creating a Healthy Work Environment includes extensive examples from their own experience, including awareness and education, behaviour change and skill-building interventions and a health-promoting environment.
- The Government of Canada’s Psychological Health in the Workplace is a guideline that promotes fair, safe and productive workplaces.
- The Mental Health Commission of Canada commissioned the voluntary Standard for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace supporting all organizations with promotion of mental health well-being and protection from psychological harm at work.