A growing body of evidence suggests companies with a “culture of health” are more likely to prosper than those that do not make a sustained commitment to workforce health improvement.
Dr. Rajy Abulhosn, a Sharp Rees-Stealy physican with the Occupational Health Department, says, “With people spending almost half of their nonsleeping hours at work, it makes sense that the workplace can provide an important support system and stimulus in the efforts to maintain a culture of health.”
The workplace provides us with many of our friends and mentors, people that we look to for guidance and support. Meanwhile, about 25 percent of individuals who attempt to modify their behavior to improve their personal health without external support are unsuccessful and 64 percent are only moderately successful, studies show.
These findings suggest a need for a cultural shift in the workplace, where employee health has a direct impact on productivity and the bottom line.
Below are some key factors that help create a culture of health:
- Company policies and procedures are aligned to support a positive work environment
- Employees see up to 10 health-related messages a day, particularly in safety-sensitive environments
- Management at all levels communicates and participates in the company’s health improvement efforts
- Senior management periodically mentions the importance of health through company communications
- The target population is engaged in programs according to their health interests and personal needs
“Remember, a message doesn’t need to be a poster or a widely distributed company announcement,” Dr. Abulhosn says. “It can be a word of encouragement, an on-site cafeteria that offers healthy eating choices or a vending machine that provides alternatives to sodas and candy bars."
He added, "By using even simple messages to reinforce the importance of good health, a workplace can make a profound impact on their employees' health habits.”
Source: The National Association of Occupational Health Professionals