Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Wellness works

Northerm windows employee working photoCreating work environments which place a high value on wellness is good for health and also good for business. Morale and productivity go up, and sick days and injuries go down when employee wellness is made a priority. Companies which address wellness in the workplace are attractive employers: they develop a good reputation, and are able to attract and hang on to employees. All of this is good for employees’ health and wellbeing, and the bottom line.

Wellness in the workplace is influenced by the physical environment, the social environment (and work culture), and your own choices and behaviour.

  • The physical environment includes factors such as air quality, noise levels, lighting, exposure to chemicals, and ergonomics. Using protective gear also fits here.
  • The culture and social environment of the workplace, includes factors such as work-family balance, flexible working hours, communication and feedback, training, and employee engagement and recognition.
  • Behaviours such as smoking, activity, and stress management also effect workplace wellness.

Raising awareness about wellness in the workplace and providing skill building opportunities for staff are important ways to influence wellness of individual employees. Safety-conscious workplaces identify hazards, and take steps to reduce risks by changing the physical environment, and providing training.  Building a culture of safety and wellness in which all staff play a role in a creating a safe and respectful workplace is also important.

Policies simply guide our actions. Policies can be guidelines, rules, and regulations, laws, principles, or directions. They say what is to be done, who is to do it, how it is to be done and for (or to) whom it is to be done.

There is also a role for policies.  Many of us glaze over when we hear that word “policy” but just think of it as a tool to guide decision making and actions on topics such as the role of a wellness committees, rules around working from home, or what drinks are sold in a vending machine.

You can play a part in creating a workplace which values employee wellness.

  • Put your name forward for the occupational health and safety, or wellness, committee.
  • Start a conversation about what is sold in vending machines, or what is served at meetings. For guidelines on what to serve at workplace meetings, check out Eat Smart, Meet Smart.
  • Organize a workplace potluck.
  • Start a noon hour walking group.
  • Model open and respectful dialogue.

Stuck for ideas?  There are many resources on the Internet to help you make wellness work!

Learn more