It’s our business: Workplace health & wellness

Workplace wellness –what is it and what does it mean for employers? What steps can employees take to maintain good health at work?  What is health promotion?
Individual wellness refers to a person’s ability to maintain physical and mental well-being. This includes doing things that protect and enhance health and reducing or staying away from those things that place health at risk. Workplace wellness refers to an organisation’s ability to promote and maintain the physical and mental health of its employees. It is also about reducing risks to employees’ health and wellness through safe work practices and healthy work environments.
Benefits of workplace health and wellness initiatives
On average, workers spend about 60 per cent of their waking hours at work. What happens in the workplace can have a huge impact on the overall health of employees.
Having healthy employees is a definite plus for any organisation. Healthy employees are more energetic, are less likely to be involved in an accident, are sick less often and are able to recover from illness faster. Dollars spent on employee health programmes usually result in lower absenteeism, reduced sick leave and lower job accident rates. The benefits of investing in employee health go far beyond the bottom line. Employers who care about their people take steps to improve the quality of their employees’ lives.
How to improve employee health

Focus on employees – help employees understand the consequences of risky behaviours. Emphasise individual responsibility for health and give employees the information and tools they need to reduce risky behaviours and to improve health and safety.
What you can do to be healthy and well
Being healthy and feeling well is about more than just the absence of disease! In order to be “well” you need to look after your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It’s important to take personal responsibility for your health.
To feel healthy, you need to feel like your life is in balance and that you have some degree of control over all aspects of your life. In other words, you’re in charge of making the choices that help you to maintain your health or make it even better. You’re also responsible for stopping or reducing those behaviours that are not healthy.
Some ideas about how you can maintain or enhance your own health are:
Do things that will improve your health – eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and get regular medical checkups.
Reduce or stop behaviours that put your health at risk – try to quit smoking, avoid excessive alcohol or drug use and don’t overeat.
Learn to deal with stress in healthy ways – exercise, talk things out with someone you trust, meditate, get a hobby or simply learn the skills to relax your mind and your body. Take steps to reduce stress where you can and learn healthy ways to manage stresses that you can’t control.
Get support with the ups and downs of everyday living from friends, co-workers and family members.
Get professional help when you need it to deal with personal problems.
Participate in workplace wellness programs or committees to make your workplace as healthy and safe as possible.
Maureen Cubbon Manager – Marketing, Communications, Health & Wellness Generali Worldwide Email:  [email protected]