The Hub October 2015 - Page 6

Windsor Essex County Health Unit October is Healthy Workplace Month! This is a good time to start (or restart) an employee wellness program at your workplace. Running a successful business (i.e., profit or not-for-profit), no matter what the product or service, depends on managing the bottom line. And, as good business leaders know, the most important way to achieve a healthy bottom line is by having healthy, content and productive employees. However, just like healthy, content and productive employees can help a business’s bottom line, the opposite is also true. Canadians spend an average of 36.6 hours per week at work, so it is easy to understand how the work environment can affect the health and wellbeing of employees. Workplace Wellness Programs Work! Comprehensive and tailored workplace wellness programs can improve both the physical and mental health of employees. In fact, research suggests that for every $1.00 invested in quality workplace wellness programs there is a return on investment of $6.00 from reduced medical costs ($3.27) and decreased absenteeism ($2.73). How Do You Start a Quality Workplace Wellness Program? First, a successful wellness program requires the commitment from all levels within an organization. Senior management, human resources, supervisors, organized labour and employees all have something to gain by having healthy employees working in a supportive workplace. “Our committee is committed to providing fun, fresh and engaging activities and incentives through useful events, resources and presentations that deal with common health issues. The people on the Wellness Committee ensure that everyone on site is made aware of our wellness initiatives by personal communication, colourful posters, e-mails and banners that encourage participation and are very well received by our team.“ - Dawn Bezaire, Customs Specialist, WTW Committee Member, FCA (Chrysler) Canada Inc. Once you have the commitment, form a small working group to help plan out your wellness activities for the year. Include someone who can help you identify common risk factors or health issues that exist in your workplace. Be sure to connect with qualified health professionals from credible organizations to help you identify the best resources, programs and services to offer your employees. Providing employers with a variety of education and skill-building opportunities for specific healthy lifestyle behaviours is a key component of a good wellness program. All wellness activities need to take place in an environment that is supportive of employees making positive changes. A good place to begin is with the Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s Working Toward Wellness (WTW) program. The WTW Program Provides S