October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

by Michelle Bogaert, Public Health Educator

October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month.  It’s an annual celebration designed to increase awareness of a comprehensive approach to workplace health, help organizations create healthy workplaces and increase the number of healthy workplaces across the country.

Workplace wellness programs give employees the tools they need to live healthy lives at work, at home and in their community.  Just think of the impact Chatham-Kent employers can have on our community when over 45,000 people in CK are employed and we spend slightly less than 1/3 of our lives at work or thinking about work.  That translates into 70-90,000 hours of our lifetime. As a result employers can play a significant role improving the health of their employees and reap many of the benefits.

For example, a recent Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness Return on Investment (ROI) Study confirmed that wellness programs can save approximately 1.5 days in absenteeism per employee over 12 months, or an estimated $251.00 per employee per year.  The study also identified five key traits of successful workplace wellness programs;

  • Leadership: successful programs have strong leadership
  • Policies and Practices: the workplace culture reflects a commitment to employee health and wellness
  • Communication: all employees understand the commitment, benefits and incentives of the program
  • Target Programs: programs are based on employee needs and interests
  • Evaluation: programs are evaluated and modified to ensure they are meeting their goals

In general, successful workplace health programs can lead to improved productivity, better employee relations, fewer injuries, reduced WSIB claims and health benefits cost, improved corporate culture, and improved retention and recruitment.

In celebration of Healthy Workplace Month and all of the local workplaces that have invested in employee wellness programs the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is hosting the 3rd Annual Workplace Wellness Recognition workshop on October 19th. For further information on workplace wellness visit ckphu.com  or contact the Health Unit at 519.352.7270 x2442.

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