#Health organizations are deeply focused on preventing chronic diseases. Behaviours such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity, alcohol use, and smoking are the main reasons for chronic diseases and unhealthy lifestyles. Moreover, these behaviours impact workplace's wellness by reducing productivity and increasing absenteeism.
The majority of the adult population is found in workplaces, therefore the workplace is an ideal setting for health promotion initiatives. Programs that improve corporate wellness can reach a large range of the population who might not have been exposed to health promotion initiatives before. Workplace wellness programs can also meet the specific needs of industry segments and demographic groups.
Usually, vaccinations and wellness activities targeted at improving healthy eating, cigarette use, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and mental health outcomes are health promotions programs used in workplaces. Whereas, occupational health and safety or health protection conduct safety training, environmental modification, and the provision of and use of personal protective equipment to prevent injury or illness due to specific exposures in the workplace.
The workplace wellness is growing by a range of stakeholders who share an interest in workplace health promotion ranging from employers and employees to insurance companies, occupational physicians, various government departments, labour unions, universities, and organizations with a health-promoting focus. Moreover, stakeholders have revealed that there is a perceived merit in workplace health programs because they were able to improve employee morale, reduce health care costs, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and contribute to the positive promotion of the company image. But what are employers’ views on the promotion of health and wellbeing in the workplace?
According to Pescud et al. 2015, workplace health appears entrenched within a health and safety paradigm among many of the employers, especially those from rural areas. Whereas it is more commonly understood in larger companies. Therefore, workplace health and wellbeing programs are less common in small compared to larger businesses. There are required, especially for small corporates, workplace education campaigns providing clear information about what constitutes health and wellbeing beyond the scope of occupational health and safety paradigms.
However, employers from smaller workplaces have been shown to describe feeling personally responsible for their employees’ health, particularly their mental health. Whereas, employers in larger corporate rarely make suggestions relating to their employees’ lifestyle choices.
Source: Employers’ views on the promotion of workplace health and wellbeing: a qualitative study.
Pescud et al. 2015