Ten Steps to Creating a Healthy Workplace

Following a comprehensive and sustainable strategy delivering results

With the Global Healthy Workplace Awards applications (https://www.globalhealthyworkplace.org/awards/application) open for 2019 it is the perfect time to review what constitutes a healthy workplace in ten steps:

  1. Your leadership is committed to and engaged in creating a healthy workplace.

Next to securing leadership support for programs and related budgets it is essential to have leaders actively participate in health-related activities. This applies to senior leadership as well as middle management.

  1. Your employees are actively involved in the development and assessment of the program.

A bottom-up approach is just as important to maximize employee involvement and to empower your staff. This goes beyond employee feedback systems and fosters active collaboration from the outset.

  1. Potential risks in the physical work environment are minimized and an occupational health system is in place.

Complying with national and local law and adhering to workers’ social and ethical codes is the minimum, addressing physical risks as part of a safety and health management system and going beyond what is legislated is good practice.

  1. Psychosocial risks are assessed and managed for better mental health and wellbeing.

Risk management is not limited to the physical environment, but also psychosocial risks need to be addressed. This is legally required in most European Union countries. It includes factors such as workload, demands, role clarity, job insecurity, decision-making, harrassment / bullying, organizational culture, etc.

  1. Resources are provided for employees to improve their personal health and wellbeing.

The workplace has shown to be an effective setting to promote health and wellbeing. Most adults spend the majority of their time at work and employers benefit from having healthier employees. Next to educational resources this encompasses creating work environments which encourage healthy lifestyles.

  1. Your organization is helping the local and wider community for better health.

Aside from standard CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities organizations can build or support local resources, like primary health care, share good practices and thereby contribute to better overall community health.

  1. A continual improvement process is applied to ensure a systematic approach and effective programming.

At the core of a Healthy Workplace strategy a continual improvement process is crucial to ensure programs achieve the set goals and advance the strategy in the long term. Unfortunately, many workplace health programs are not rigorously evaluated and employers do not know whether they are effective.

  1. Program areas are integrated and part of the overall strategic business plan.

In order to maximize impact and leverage resources all health-related programs need to be integrated. This especially applies to human resources (HR) initiatives and health & safety programs. The Healthy Workplace strategy should be part of the company business plan and communicated as such by leadership.

  1. Your Healthy Workplace program delivers results.

While there is no guarantee and external variables can interfere if you follow the eight steps above your program will likely deliver results. Goal setting should be ambitious, but realistic, and be continuously reviewed.

  1. You are open to benchmark your program and share with other employers.

Learning from successful employers and at the same time sharing your own successes as well as challenges will significantly enhance your efforts and avoid some common pitfalls as well as improve your organizational image.

If you have followed the ten steps your organization is a prime candidate to apply for the Global Healthy Workplace Awards at https://www.globalhealthyworkplace.org/awards/application in the appropriate category (small and medium-sized, large or multinational enterprise). Deadline is March 31. If you have questions feel free to contact us at info@globalhealthyworkplace.org.

The Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces (www.globalhealthyworkplace.org) provides a global platform for learning and sharing via the Global Awards, Healthy Workplace Certification (www.globalhealthyworkplace.org/global-healthy-workplace-certification), the Global Summit (www.globalhealthyworkplace.org/event/7th-global-healthy-workplace-summit-melbourne-2019), social media and other forms of communications.