Full time employees spend a significant portion of their day in the workplace. Workplaces can improve the health of their employees by offering adequate health insurance, evidence-based wellness programs, and a culture that promotes healthy lifestyles. Healthy employees in turn reduce healthcare costs and absenteeism, and are more productive at work. A healthy work environment can be used to recruit and retain employees who recognize the importance of an employer who prioritizes health.
Get Healthy Utah can present to your employer group on a number of topics. Find the Get Healthy Utah Worksite Presentation Menu here.
Use the Utah Health Improvement Plan Worksite Wellness Toolkit to find out how to incorporate or improve a worksite wellness program.
Active Living in the Workplace
Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Because many adults spend a large part of their day at work, workplaces can help employees meet the requirements to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a workplace can create an environment that promotes physical activity in the following ways:
- Provide on-site gyms or other physical activity facilities, such as walking paths
- Allow flexible work time or breaks for participation in physical activity
- Promote the use of stairs, such as by using signs or by making stairwells safe and attractive
- Promote “active transport” (bicycling or walking to work), such as by offering bicycle storage
- Provide showers and/or changing facilities
Presenteeism, or working while sick, and absenteeism are two costly side effects of poor health and obesity. An estimated 8% of absenteeism cases in Utah can be attributed to obesity, which costs Utah employers millions of dollars each year.
Harvard School of Public Health
A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include: Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention, as well as lowering absenteeism. There are significant potential financial benefits for employers beyond increased productivity. There are concerns about telework; research suggests that two-thirds […]READ MORE >>
Active Living Resources
The following are evidence-based interventions that have been shown to improve physical activity in workplaces:
- New Hampshire’s Healthy Eating Active Living program
- North Carolina Eat Smart, Move More
- Wisconsin Department of Health
- New York State Department of Health Healthy Meetings
- LiveWell Colorado
- Healthier Tennessee
- Oregon Healthiest State
- Iowa Healthiest State
- Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children
Healthy Eating in the Workplace
Workplaces are an ideal setting to address healthy eating because of the time that most adults spend at work. Many businesses have experienced great success in assisting their employees improve their nutrition by offering wellness programs and implementing wellness policies. Healthy food options should be available at meetings and events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
- Offering a variety of whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Providing low-fat or low-calorie foods and beverages
- Offering foods and beverages low in added sugar
- Offering smaller portion sizes
CDC: Healthy Worksite Food
Healthy Eating Resources
The following are evidence-based interventions that have been shown to improve nutrition in workplaces:
Mental Wellness in the Workplace
A healthy work environment encourages not only healthy eating and physical activity, but also promotes mental wellness. If employers expect their employees to be alert, productive, and efficient while on the job, they must create opportunities for health and wellness.
Research shows that stressful working conditions can hurt an employer’s bottom line. Employees have increased absenteeism, tardiness, and a greater intention to quit when they are stressed at work. Work-related stressed can be reduced when:
- Demands and pressures of work are matched with knowledge and skills
- Control can be exercised over work and how it is completed
- Support is received from supervisors and colleagues
- Participation in decisions that concern an employee’s jobs is provided
WHO: Stress at the Workplace