In this section you will learn:
What constitutes best practice workplace health promotion
How to select effective workplace health promotion strategies
To recognise the importance of policy and environment in workplace health promotion
When considering your workplace health and wellbeing program, you need to make sure you take into account the three key elements of workplace health and wellbeing programs that influence the health-related choices employees make. These include:
Let’s take unhealthy eating as an example. Providing healthy eating education and information to staff may be ineffective if the workplace provides unhealthy catering at meetings and events. Introducing a healthy catering policy will ensure the healthy eating information and messages are consistent. The triangle below depicts the impact each of the elements has on changing behaviour, with policy having the largest impact.
A health policy is a written document that formalises an organisation’s ongoing commitment to improving health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Health policy can be developed in several ways:
A good health and wellbeing policy should:
Health policy is about encouraging and supporting staff to make healthy choices. For example, a healthy catering policy may state that at least 50% of the food provided at workplace functions (meetings and events) or at an on-site cafe must be healthy. Policy also allows you to ensure that the workplace is not supporting unhealthy behaviours. For example, limiting the number of alcoholic drinks offered at work functions to no more than two per person.
‘Workplace environment’ refers to the infrastructure and facilities provided to staff, such as kitchen utensils, showers or a pool bike.
Your workplace environment can strongly support and reinforce your health-related policies, education and activities in order to make it easy for your staff to make healthy choices.
View ideas for making your workplace a healthier one.
Have an alcohol free fridge.
If you provide your staff with snacks, skip the biscuits and chocolate and serve fresh fruit instead.
Try to encourage staff to get up and move around every 30 minutes, even if it is just to stretch. You could even introduce sit-stand work desks, so they can work standing up!
Instead of sitting down for meetings, try having a walking meeting instead or even just standing up.
Bike racks are a convenient way to store bikes and encourage your workforce to grab a bit of exercise by cycling to work.
If people are cycling or jogging to work then you will need to have showers, changing room facilities and lockers for storage.
Having a bike on-site that everyone is free to use will provide a healthier option to the company car.
If you have a vending machine at work, make sure you pack it full of healthy options like dried fruits and nuts.
Ensure you fit out your lunch area with kitchen utensils, a microwave, a sandwich press and fridge to ensure there are the facilities available for staff members to make their own healthy lunch.
Reinforce the Smoke-free policy through signage or put up signs to show people the health benefits of using the stairs instead of the lift.
Once your policy is in place and the workplace environment is supportive of healthy behaviours, education and activities will help to build a healthy workplace culture by engaging staff directly in the program.
Education provides employees with health knowledge, allowing them the opportunity to identify where they could make improvements in order to lead a healthier lifestyle and reduce their risk of chronic disease.
Activities allow employees to actually participate in healthy behaviours. This provides them with an opportunity to learn new healthy living skills and can provide a kick start to forming a new healthy habit.
For example, a cooking class could teach employees about healthy cooking as well as practice in preparing healthy meals. Also, a workplace exercise program could encourage employees to continue regular exercise, once the program has completed.
Together, the key elements work to optimise the impact on healthy behaviours. Individually they also have clear functions.
Click on the symbols below to reveal more information.
Making healthy options and opportunities available to staff (e.g. providing healthy food options at meetings can influence a healthier choice).
Influencing those that won’t engage in programs through removing unhealthy enablers
Providing opportunities for those looking to make a change (e.g. a healthy cooking class or lunch time walking group).
Providing information on the risks associated with unhealthy behaviours and identifying healthier choices.
Moving from good practice through to best practice can take time and commitment. Strategies can be implemented and built upon over a period of time, gradually moving towards a program that is considered best practice. Here’s an example using healthy eating and drinking.
Good practice strategies could include:
Better practice strategies could include:
Best practice strategies could include:
Download our Best practice guide: Workplace health and wellbeing strategies factsheet for a range of good, better and best strategies for each of the SNAP risk factors.
Funded by the Department of Health WA and delivered by Cancer Council WA, Healthier Workplace WA (HWWA) supports workplaces across Western Australia by providing a range of free tools, resources and support to assist them to introduce healthy lifestyle policies and practices in their workplace.
Along with the generalist services outlined above, HWWA offers a free referral system to a range of health promoting agencies which offer free and low cost services and specific support around physical activity, healthy eating, minimising alcohol harms and the uptake of active transport.
// question.question //
You need to correct your answer to question // q // to proceed. answers to questions // q //, and // q // to proceed.
Please review the following sections and try the quiz again:
Please choose one or more answers!