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Glossary of Terms - Creating a Supportive Enviornment

The Wellness Councils of America identifies 5 main components involved in developing a supportive environment:

  1. Evaluate the physical environment of the workplace. 
    How does it look, feel, sound, smell? Is it safe? Is the physical environment conducive to adopting healthy behaviours? Creating a healthy environment addresses everything from basic occupational health and safety issues to providing healthy snacks in vending machines.

  2. Create proactive corporate policies. 
    Supportive corporate policies addressing such issues as parental leave and flexible work arrangements not only help to create a positive work environment but also aid in the recruitment and retention of good employees. Other proactive policies such those addressing alcohol & drug usage or bullying & abuse help deal with prohibitive behaviours by outlining meaningful consequences. 
     
  3. Provide consistent recognition and rewards for success.
    Celebrate and draw attention to achievements through praise, rewards and incentives.  Don’t forget to acknowledge and applaud mentors and role models.

  4. Encourage managers to model and support healthy behaviour. 
    It’s not only important to have management support but also for managers to “walk the talk” if they want employees to adopt healthier behaviours. Allowing employees to attend/participate in activities during work time is just one way to promote a supportive work environment.

  5. Develop an ongoing health promotion program. 
    We recommend that you take a comprehensive approach to creating a healthy work environment. Promote the program to new and existing staff and ensure they know who to contact for information.

Creating a supportive work environment is a long-term project requiring ongoing support and senior management buy-in. If you are still not sure about the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to creating a supportive work environment, check out some of the benefits.

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Revised: August 10, 2015

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