Workplace Wellness Programs
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Below is a list of four simple steps you can use to develop new or enhance existing workplace wellness programs:
- 1. For background information on comprehensive workplace wellness programs.
- 2. Review examples of workplace wellness policies that you can use as templates or modify to create your own.
- 3. Make a plan using Workplace Wellness Planning and Evaluation Resources, including a sample Needs Assessment and a sample Employee feedback questionnaire.
- 4. Make a Business Case for Workplace Wellness and learn about the benefits of investing in mental health
Healthy workplaces lead to healthier employees which, ultimately, results in a healthier organization!
It makes good business sense to have a comprehensive workplace wellness program. Workplace wellness programs play a key role in improving the physical and mental health of employees and can actually save companies money. Employers with wellness programs may be seen as an employer of choice with a greater ability to attract and retain talent. When best practices are applied, comprehensive workplace wellness programs have the potential to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction, and to reduce absenteeism, employee turnover, and rates of accidents.
These topics are only a few of the many wellness topics that can be implemented in your workplace wellness program. Your wellness activities should address topics that are relevant for your employees. Click on the wellness topics to see example workplace wellness activities.
- Mental Health Promotion in the Workplace
- Promoting Healthy Eating in the Workplace
- Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace
- Preventing Injury in the Workplace
- Infection Control and Prevention in the Workplace
- Substance Use Resources for the Workplace
It is recommended to complete a Workplace Health Promotion Needs Assessment before selecting wellness topics. Click here for an example Needs Assessment. To understand your employee’s health needs, you may also want to consider reviewing health insurance provider benefits utilization data, workers compensation and disability claims, employee assistance program use and or absenteeism records.
Employers are encouraged to implement a cross-section of activities for various wellness topics using several health promotion strategies (i.e., awareness raising, education, skill-building, environmental supports and supportive policies).
These are the types of activities required for the Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Awards.
- Awareness Raising Activities raise awareness about important health issues by choosing effective communication strategies that reach all of your employees, such as sharing health information through posters, pamphlets or newsletters on bulletin boards, e-mail blasts, social media posts, information on paystubs or through posting on an internal workplace website.
- Education and Skill Building Activities help employees develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support healthy living, such as through lunch and learn presentations, demonstrations, hands-on learning, webinars, health fairs, workplace challenges, or workplace contests.
- Environmental Supports create a physical, social, and cultural workplace environment that encourage and support employees in making healthier choices. Supportive environments help make the healthier choice the easier choice in the workplace and beyond.
- Supportive Policies can go a long way to ensuring that awareness raising, education and skill building, and environmental support components are in place now and into the future. For the Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Awards, these three types of policies are acceptable:
- Workplace Wellness Policies: These are stand alone policies specific to the wellness topic (i.e., Healthy Vending Machine Policy specific to the healthy eating wellness topic.)
- Policy statements within other policies: These are not full policies on a wellness topic, but may be included as a statement in another broader policy (i.e., fitness membership reimbursement in a general human resources policy for the physical activity wellness topic). This may include organizational policies or union contract language.
- Position statements: These are official organizational positions that are dated and signed by an organizational leader. This may include organizational or work sector standards or human resources guidelines. Letter or memos from senior management or unofficial documents would not qualify.
- Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Policy specifies your employer’s commitment to organizational practices that promote and support the health and well-being of employees and their families; outlines senior management and employee roles and responsibilities regarding wellness; and defines how the wellness program is communicated and offered to employees and their families.
- Organizational Social Responsibility Activities demonstrate your employer’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of the community in addition to their own employees. They not only build a better public image, but also raise awareness about important health and wellness issues, and boost employee engagement. Examples include sponsoring local children’s sports teams, participating in fundraising for health research or health issues (e.g., dress down days, BBQs, or golf tournaments), participating in community physical activity challenges (e.g., walks, runs, bikes, or obstacle courses), neighborhood clean-up, donation drives (e.g. blood, clothing, or toys) or volunteering hours in the community (e.g., food bank or community build projects).
- Living Wage Certification for Employers. A living wage is different from the minimum wage. The minimum wage rate is pre-set by the government and is the lowest rate an employer can legally pay for work performed. A living wage is calculated based on the real cost of goods and services in Windsor and Essex County and is the minimum amount a person must earn to afford to live and participate in a specific community. A living wage takes into consideration basic level of economic security and quality of life for most two-parent families. It provides the means to raise children and take part in social and community activities. This means that the rate varies from community to community and may change year-to-year.
Living Wage Certification is required for the Platinum and Diamond level of the Gord Smith Healthy Workplace Awards. To learn more about Living Wage Certification and to apply visit www.wechu.org/living-wage. Direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-258-2146 ext. 3200.
- Canadian Mental Health Association-Windsor-Essex County Branch
- Family Services Windsor Essex
- Family Services Employee Assistance Program
- Faculty of Nursing - University of Windsor
- Greater Essex County District School Board and its Joint Employee Assistance Program
- Green Shield Canada
- Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare
- New Canadian Centre of Excellence
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
- Precision Stamping Group
- St. Clair College
- Workforce Windsor Essex/ Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
- Windsor Regional Hospital
The Workplace Wellness email list provides employers with wellness resources that may be of interest to both employers and employees. Information about upcoming events, as well as opportunities for your workplaces to participate in various community-based social responsibility opportunities (e.g. Heart and Stroke Big Bike, Blood drives, etc.). These resources are designed to support you in delivering workplaces wellness programming, and to assist you in qualifying for the Gord Smith Healthy Workplace and Bike Friendly Workplace Awards.
The Working Toward Wellness Luncheon Series is an opportunity for workplaces to learn more about relevant wellness topics, and network with local workplaces to share successes and learning opportunities.
The Healthy at Work Webinar Series offers free educational webinars hosted by experts on a variety of health-related topics. They are designed to help build employees’ and employers knowledge and skills, and promote health in the workplace and beyond.
The Take Charge Workplace Program is helping Windsor-Essex County residents eat healthy at their workplace! The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit works with organizations across Windsor and Essex County to create environments that encourage healthy eating behaviours. By adopting the Take Charge program, you and your organization will have access to a registered dietitian from the WECHU who will support you.
The Windsor and Essex County Living Wage Program was adapted from the previous Pathway to Potential Living Wage Program. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness about the true cost of living in Windsor and Essex County, and to advance policies, partnerships, and practices that promote health and wellbeing for our community. The program aims to provide education about what al living wage is and why its important. It also encourages local employers to become Living Wage Certified.