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Solutions for a healthier workplace

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Focus On: Healthy Workplaces


Are You Seeing the Whole Picture?

Traditionally, workplace health has focused on the safety of the physical work environment, and more recently on the lifestyle related health practices of employees in the workplace.
Today, leading edge companies adopt a comprehensive approach to workplace health, which addresses:

  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Personal Health Practices
  • Organizational Culture of the Workplace

These three elements are interrelated and combine to influence the overall health of the business and individual employees.

Use the Comprehensive Workplace Health Model below to learn more about the factors that shape the health of your organization.

Personal Health Practices Occupational Health & Safety Healthy Organization

Organizational Culture

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Healthy Employees - Healthy Organizations

Note the link between healthy employees and healthy organizations. Healthy employees and healthy organizations are interrelated; it’s difficult to have one without the other.

Whether you are an employer, a member of your senior management team, an OHN, HR Associate or an employee – you should know how an unhealthy organization affects you and the work you do.

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What Other Workplaces Are Doing

It’s not a coincidence that the best companies in Canada to work for all value the importance of creating a healthy organization. From offering nutrition classes and flexible working arrangements to promoting community involvement and continuous learning - see what other companies are doing.

 MDA Corporation 
Location: Brampton, ON
Industry: Engineering, Architectural and Surveying Firms

  • This company has 1,148 employees (spread throughout the country) and offers tuition subsidies for courses whether or not they are related to their current position.
  • Employees at MDA received paid time off to volunteer at local charities.
  • Employees are encouraged to recognize co-worker achievements through a special peer awards program.

 Microsoft Canada 
Location: Mississauga, ON
Industry: Software Companies

  • Enjoy the social atmosphere of this company-Microsoft encourages employees to start clubs and sports teams and will subsidize costs.
  • To keep pay levels competitive, Microsoft participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months.
  • The 720 employees are able to enjoy a free membership to their on-site fitness facility.

 Progressive Solutions 
Location: Vernon, BC
Industry: Computer Software-Forest Industry

  • This small business (19 employees at their head office; 70 employees in total) offers exceptional maternity top-up of salary for 50 weeks and has a policy of “never declining a request” to help employees with their work-life balance.
  • Employees enjoy 3 weeks vacation in their first year as well as a paid holiday shutdown from Christmas to New Years.
  • Progressive also publishes an in-house newsletter and maintains an intranet site to communicate with employees.

 National Capital Commission (NCC) 
Location: Ottawa, ON
Industry: Public Land Use Regulatory Bodies

  • This office includes shower and locker facilities for employees who bicycle, jog or skate to work on Ottawa’s expansive network of trails and paths.
  • The 414 employees enjoy daily casual dress and are able to listen to music on the radio while they work.
  • NCC offers family-friendly benefits such as alternative work arrangements, access to nearby daycare and generous parental leave.

 New Flyer 
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Industry: Heavy Transportation Manufacturing

  • This company of over 1 000 employees values employee wellness by offering an annual wellness week that includes everything from flu shots to nutrition classes.
  • With New Flyer’s health benefits plan, full and part time employees who work more than 24 hours a week are eligible and there is no waiting time for new employees.
  • New Flyer has an on-site full service cafeteria offering subsidized meals, healthier food options and special diet menus.

Source:  Canada’s Top 100 Employers, 2006 edition.

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Facts and Stats

  • High work-life conflict is associated with: increased absenteeism; greater perceived stress, depressed mood, and burnout; poorer physical health; poorer job satisfaction; and less commitment to the organization (Canadian Mental Health Association).
  • Active employees have a 25% reduction in the incidence of injury (Plotnikoff et. al, 200).
  • Employees with weak employment relations miss an average of 5.9 days due to illness compared to 3.7 days per year for those with a strong relationship (Lowe & Schellenbert, 2001).
  • Bullying in the workplace may result in: increased turnover, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, poorer customer service, etc. (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).
  • A 2003 Canadian study found that employees reporting low levels of role overload and work-to-family conflict are more satisfied employees compared to their counterparts (Duxbury & Higgins, 2003).
  • DuPont found that 11,726 disability days were saved over a two year period after implementing their health promotion program (Bachmann, 2002).

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Additional Resources

Here are some other websites to consider for additional information:

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Other Topics

Revised: August 10, 2015

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