Workplace Health Promotion

Posted by Jan Lawrence

Good health is good business


Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work launched her review of the health of Britain’s working age population.

In her review she states “Good health improves an individual’s quality of life, and a focus on their well-being can also add value to organisations by promoting better health and increasing motivation and engagement of employees, in turn helping to drive increases in productivity and profitability,”

There are strong links between employment, individual health and the health of local communities. It is in all our interests to take forward action to support people into employment and improve opportunities for good health in the workplace.

For the employer, their workforce is their most important resource, and society benefits from high employment, and a fit and productive workforce.

A central focus of workplace health promotion should include – approaches that encourage self management, personal responsibility and providing support to enable healthy choices:

  • Workplace health promotion includes all efforts made in all contexts where individuals work, and which are designed to increase well-being and health.
  • Workplace health promotion is concerned with causes of ill-health, but focuses on opportunities for good health.
  • Workplace health promotion is designed to enable working people to develop good health and good health-related behaviours.

What are the benefits of positive workplace health promotion?

In short, it benefits employers as well as employees, by helping create a healthier, more motivated workforce and reducing sickness absence:

Employee benefits:

  • healthy working conditions
  • health information at work
  • practical help to be healthy
  • a sense of team spirit and reward
  • a boost to morale and motivation
  • good management/employee relations
  • fun, social events
  • the chance to improve their awareness of health issues and make a difference to their lifestyle

Employer benefits:

  • a healthier, happier workforce
  • a motivated team with high morale
  • good management/employee relations
  • less sickness absence
  • increased performance levels
  • a lower staff turnover
  • positive links with your community

Recent calculations by the Confederation of British Industries indicate that British industry is currently losing around £13 billion every year from sickness absence, the equivalent of 30 million working days. Death rates in the UK from heart disease, cancer and strokes are higher than in almost any western industrialised country.

A large proportion of the population is employed and spends more than a third of its working hours at work. If the workplace enables and supports health, employees are more likely to make healthier choices.

What are your organisation’s current priorities?

Throughout any organisation, health will only become a shared priority if there is:

  • Management commitment.
  • Partnership working.
  • Positive, cohesive communication and co-ordination.
  • Policy adaptation and development.
  • Full staff involvement on decisions regarding health priorities.
  • Specialist support.

Establishment of a health promotion working group within an organisation, should not only ascertain adherence to current Health and Safety obligations, but should also consider:

  • Assessing staff health needs – focusing on environmental, organisational and individual lifestyle issues.
  • Promoting physical activity – implementing stated policy and procedures.
  • Providing healthy food choices / facilities at work – implementing stated policy and procedures.
  • Providing and promoting smoke free buildings to protect staff – implementing stated policy and procedures.
  • Providing employees with an opportunity to have health checks.
  • Creating health awareness in line with local health events.
  • Providing staff seminars appropriate to the needs of the workforce e.g.
    • Stress / mental health.
    • Smoking cessation.
    • Healthy Eating.
    • Alcohol / drugs.
    • HIV / AIDS and sexual health.
    • Dental / oral health.
    • Physical activity.
  • Detailing strategy and action plans for health, based on identified needs.

What advice and support is available from In Equilibrium?

The link between healthy employees and efficient orgnisations is now an accepted fact.  A healthy promoting workplace produces benefits all round – for the individual, the organisation and local communities.

If you are planning to introduce a Healthy Workplace Programme or you have one that needs a kick-start to get it going again, In Equilibrium can help in the following ways:

  • Securing board and management support
  • Form and chair a programme steering group
  • Explore and agree priorities
  • Provide a policy template
  • Agree an action plan
  • Monitor and control the implementation of policy and procedures

This is a consultancy service, however in-house training can also be provided if required. For further information, please contact Alastair Taylor on tel: 0131 476 5027 or