Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

 
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Guide to Promoting
Health and Wellbeing
    in the Workplace
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
© Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, August 2016
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced
by any process without written permission from the Territory Records Office, ACT Government, GPO Box 158,
Canberra City ACT 2601.
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email:
healthierwork@act.gov.au
www.healthierwork.act.gov.au | www.act.gov.au
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Acknowledgements
This Guide draws on the Premier’s Physical Activity Council – Tasmania (2007) Get Moving at Work: A resource kit
for workplace health and wellbeing programs1 and the State of Queensland Workplaces for Wellness Initiative.
Healthier Work, within Access Canberra, also acknowledges the assistance of the Health Improvement Branch, ACT
Health, in preparing this Guide and associated resources.

An ACT Government service under the Healthy Weight Initiative.
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
This is a joint effort across business
    and government to make the
    healthy choice the easy choice – for
    employers, managers and staff. We
    can each play a role in making our
    community healthier by promoting,
    and participating in, health and
    wellbeing activities in the workplace.

    ACT Work Safety Commissioner,
    Greg Jones

2
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
A message from
the Commissioner
The ACT is not alone in facing the daily burden of           Healthier Work, an ACT Government service within
chronic disease, with tobacco smoking, alcohol misuse,       Access Canberra – and part of the Healthy Weight
poor nutrition, physical inactivity and overweight and       Initiative – aims to build the capacity of workplaces
obesity the main risk factors.                               to develop and implement programs, policies, and
Many risk factors are preventable and businesses can         practices that lead to healthy environments and
play a key role in reducing chronic disease risk factors     sustained healthy lifestyle changes for employees.
in their workforce.                                          The priority objectives are:
With most Australians spending about one third of their         •   increased physical activity
lives at work, health bodies such as the World Health           •   healthier eating and drinking
Organization have recognised the workplace as a
                                                                •   smoking reduction/cessation
priority setting for promoting health and wellbeing.
                                                                •   reduction of harmful alcohol consumption
Workplace health promotion is about fostering healthy
workplace policies and supportive environments,                 •   reaching and maintaining healthy weight
enhancing positive social conditions, building personal         •   improved social and emotional wellbeing.
skills and organisational resilience, and promoting
                                                             Healthier Work is the result of a joint Australian and
healthy lifestyles.
                                                             Territory Government initiative, which committed to
Workplace health and wellbeing programs not only             reducing the risk of chronic disease by embedding
have real potential to positively influence the health       healthy behaviours in various settings, including
of our workforce, they also make good business               workplaces. Since this initial agreement, the ACT
sense – increasing employee engagement and team              Government has continued to invest in Healthier Work
cohesiveness in the short-term, and leading to reduced       services.
absenteeism, increased productivity and improved
                                                             As a community, you are very supportive of these
corporate image in the longer term.
                                                             healthy actions. Both the February 2014 and March
The national harmonisation of work health and safety         2015 Canberra Omnibus Survey2 indicated strong
laws further validate a renewed focus within workplaces      support for measures targeting workplaces to improve
on the health, not just the safety, of workers. Under        adult health.
the ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the person
                                                             This Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the
conducting a business or undertaking has responsibility
                                                             Workplace is supported by additional resources, tools
for the physical and psychological health and safety
                                                             and templates to help you implement the core elements
of their workers. A workplace health and wellbeing
                                                             of workplace health into an effective program. These
program complements your workplace safety systems.
                                                             resources are available on the Healthier Work website at
While individuals make daily choices around their health     www.healthierwork.act.gov.au
and wellbeing, the ACT Government is supporting
healthy decision making within workplaces to make the
healthy choice the easy choice. This is a critical path to
implementing long-term prevention programs for known
workplace health issues.

                                                                                                                      3
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
4
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Table of contents
1.   Introduction                                                                 7
     Welcome                                                                      9
     A national perspective on health and productivity                           10
     The ACT situation                                                           11
     The business benefits of promoting health and wellbeing                     12
     The elements for creating a workplace health and wellbeing program          14
     Overview of guide sections                                                  16
     References                                                                  17

2.   A Simple Guide                                                              19
     Step 1: Establish workplace commitment                                      22
     Step 2: Construct your program                                              23
     Step 3: Manage and evaluate your program                                    26
     Summary of Simple Steps                                                     27

3.   A Detailed Guide                                                            29
     Step 1: Establish management commitment                                     32
     Step 2: Undertake initial planning                                          33
     Step 3: Undertake needs assessment                                          34
     Step 4: Action planning                                                     36
        Physical activity                                                        38
        Healthy eating                                                           40
        Smokefree                                                                42
        Reduced alcohol consumption                                              44
        Social and emotional wellbeing                                           46
     Step 5: Manage your program                                                 48
     Step 6: Evaluate and review your program                                    49
     References                                                                  50

4.   Healthier Work Recognition                                                  51
     Recognition Scheme                                                          54
     Recognition – the next level                                                54

5.   Resources                                                                   55
     Health and Wellbeing Policy Example                                         58
     ACT Online Employee Health and Wellbeing Survey                             58
     Individual Version of the ACT Online Employee Health and Wellbeing Survey   59
     ACT Healthy Workplaces Scorecard                                            59
     Health and Wellbeing Action Plan Example                                    60
     Workplace Health Evaluation Overview                                        60
     Case Studies                                                                61
     Frequently Asked Questions                                                  61
     Health Promotion Campaigns and Information                                  61
     Service Providers                                                           62

Bibliography                                                                     63
Contact Us                                                                       64

                                                                                  5
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
6
Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Section 1: Introduction
    Today, workplaces
   aren’t enjoying the
        best of health.

                      7
It makes business sense
to find solutions.

8
Welcome                                                        When you see this symbol
                                                               within the Guide, it denotes
                                                               that you’ll find that resource,
                                                               or more information on that
Workplace health promotion is not just about health
                                                               topic, from the Healthier Work
education. It’s about fostering healthy workplace
policies and supportive environments, enhancing                website.
positive social conditions, building personal skills
and organisational resilience, and promoting healthy
lifestyles.
                                                            The Guide is supported by additional resources, tools
Workplace health and wellbeing programs can range           and templates to help you implement the core elements
from a simple activity with a small investment to a         of a workplace health and wellbeing program. These
comprehensive program with a substantial investment         supporting resources are available on the Healthier
for large numbers of employees.                             Work website at www.healthierwork.act.gov.au.
Whether your organisation is about to begin a
workplace health and wellbeing program or is looking        Healthier Work is also there to help you
to build on an existing one, this Guide will provide you    work through this Guide, connect with
with information to assist. You can use the Guide to suit
the individual needs of your organisation and workforce
                                                            other workplaces tackling these issues,
as you move through the stages of creating an effective     and refer you to services or resources
workplace health and wellbeing program.                     that may support your program
Healthier Work is an ACT Government, Access Canberra        objectives.
service under the Healthy Weight Initiative established
to support employers to develop health and wellbeing
initiatives within their workplace.                         There are also significant promotional
The ACT Government’s Healthy Weight Initiative              benefits for workplaces who create
is committed to supporting a healthy, active and            and commit to a 12-month health and
productive community.                                       wellbeing plan. You can find out more
The health issues covered in this Guide include:            about these benefits in Section 4.
   •   physical activity
   •   healthy eating
                                                            Contact Healthier Work at
   •   smokefree
                                                            healthierwork@act.gov.au or 6207 3000.
   •   reduced alcohol consumption
   •   social and emotional wellbeing.                      The remainder of this Section provides an overview
                                                            of the significant health and business reasons for
                                                            workplace health promotion. It also identifies the core
                                                            elements of workplace health and wellbeing programs
                                                            and how the rest of this Guide can support you to bring.

                                                                                                                   9
A national perspective on
health and productivity
Like many developed nations, Australia is currently            From a national business perspective, this situation is
witnessing a significant increase in the burden of             cause for tremendous concern; particularly given the
chronic disease. A 2010 AIHW report found that 96%             well-recognised relationship between poor health and
of working-age Australians had at least one chronic            diminished workplace attendance and performance.
disease risk factor and 72% had multiple risk factors3.        For example, the estimated cost of absenteeism to the
The modifiable risk factors causing the greatest disease       Australian economy is $7 billion each year5, with the
burden are tobacco smoking, alcohol misuse, poor               cost of presenteeism6 estimated as being nearly five
diet, physical inactivity and unhealthy weight. As             times more at $34.1 billion in 2009-20107.
major contributors to chronic disease, these risk              Workplaces everywhere are feeling the impact (and daily
factors lead to reduced productivity and participation         cost) of the current health of our workforce: reduced
in the workforce and the community, and place great            productivity, high stress levels, poor job satisfaction,
pressure on the Australian health system. There is also        increased sickness, growing absenteeism, high staff
a recognised two-way causal relationship between               turnover and mistakes caused by physical and mental
many of these risk factors and mental disorders such as        fatigue.
depression.                                                    This situation clearly needs to be turned around. With
Adequate physical activity is at the very heart of good        most Australians spending about one third of their
health – it promotes emotional wellbeing and assists           lives at work8, it simply makes good business sense to
in the prevention and management of over 20 medical            invest in making the work environment a key setting for
conditions and diseases.                                       promoting positive health and wellbeing.
But the sad fact is, throughout Australia (and                 Leading health bodies, such as the World Health
internationally), workers are leading increasingly inactive    Organization (WHO), have recognised the workplace
lifestyles. The economic impact of obesity is expected         as a priority setting for promoting health and
to reach $87.7 billion by 20254. When you add to this          wellbeing.9 Our own government – at a federal
an ageing workforce, high employee stress levels, the          and territory level – is also committed to reducing
disturbing growth in the consumption of unhealthy              the risk and prevalence of chronic disease in our
foods and a culture of alcohol misuse, it’s not difficult to   community through the workplace setting.
understand why the general health and wellbeing of our
working population is on a serious downhill slide.

10
The ACT situation
The health statistics of ACT workers are concerning and      The data also provided some positive findings, with
present opportunities for significant improvement.           the ACT (10%) having the lowest proportion of daily
Recent ACT population health data10 showed:                  smokers in Australia (13%), and 49% of adults drinking
                                                             alcohol at levels considered safe according to the
   •   63% of adults are overweight or obese
                                                             Australian guidelines.
   •   only 56% of adults are meeting Australia’s
                                                             Analysis of the health of ACT workers11 found that it
       physical activity guidelines
                                                             is comparable to national levels, except in the areas
   •   adults are sedentary for an average of six hours      of physical inactivity and overweight where the ACT
       each day, and men are more sedentary than             statistics are slightly better than the national averages.
       women
   •   only 17% of adults actively travel to work
   •   only 10% of adults eat enough vegetables
   •   1 in 5 people reported receiving a mental health
       disorder diagnosis in the preceding 12 months.

  Risk factor                                                              Prevalence:             Prevalence:
                                                                           ACT Worker            Workers nationally

  Smoking                                                                       20%                      22%

  Inadequate vegetable intake                                                   93%                      92%

  Inadequate fruit intake                                                       48%                      51%

  Inadequate intake of both vegetables and fruit                                46%                      49%

  Not sufficiently physically active                                            65%                      70%

  Overweight or obese measured by Body Mass Index                               56%                      60%

  Alcohol consumption at levels of single occasion risk                         48%                      47%

  Alcohol consumption at levels of lifetime risk                                23%                      24%

  Display at least two of the above lifestyle risk factors                      70%                      74%

  Moderate or higher levels of psychological distress [measured                 32%                      31%
  by the Kessler 10 score12]

  High or very high levels of psychological distress [also                      9%                        9%
  measured by the Kessler 10 score].

For information on what constitutes healthy behaviours       Of note, significantly higher levels of unhealthy
in these areas, see the health topic tables in Section 3     behaviours are reported for ‘blue collar’ workers in the
pages 32-41.                                                 ACT compared to other ACT industries in respect of
                                                             smoking (double), nutrition, alcohol consumption and
                                                             multiple risk factors.

                                                                                                                          11
The business benefits of
promoting health and wellbeing
Already, many ACT employers are implementing                  The direct benefits to your employees include:
initiatives to address and manage these health and               •   increased morale, job satisfaction and motivation
productivity issues – not just from the point of view of
                                                                 •   improved mental alertness, concentration and
improving profitability or business performance; not
                                                                     energy levels
just to embrace their social responsibilities and ‘duty of
care’ to staff; but also in recognition of the real ongoing      •   decreased stress and other work-related illness
value which flows from creating a workplace culture              •   improved prevention of chronic diseases.
where people are healthier, happier and enjoy a better
                                                              These benefits are very real – supported by compelling
work-life balance.
                                                              evidence from National and International studies.13,14,15 A
See the Case Studies for examples of workplace                study undertaken by Medibank Private16 revealed:
health and wellbeing programs happening in the ACT.
                                                                 •   Organisations that implement health promotion
Given the serious skill shortages facing ACT                         strategies in the workplace can reduce their
organisations, building a reputation as an employer that             workers’ health risk factors by up to 56%.
is focused on the health and wellbeing of staff is now
                                                                 •   Productivity gains of up to 15% can be achieved
becoming a potent means of attracting and retaining
                                                                     by upgrading the workplace environment.
high quality staff. Why? Because it shows a genuine,
image-enhancing interest in treating workers as valued           •   The average worker is up to 7% less productive
assets rather than ‘dispensable items’, which allows                 because of their health risks.
companies to stand out as an Employer of Choice.              Other findings from this study, comparing healthy
The business advantages of having fitter, healthier and       and unhealthy Australian workers, are outlined in the
happier employees on the payroll are many and varied,         following table.
including:
     •   increased productivity
     •   better staff decision making
     •   reduced sick leave and absenteeism
     •   reduced long-term health problems
     •   reduced worker turnover
     •   increased ability to attract and retain new
         employees
     •   increased return on training and development
         investment
     •   improved corporate citizenship and image
     •   improved industrial relations
     •   reduced risk of accidents and health-related
         litigation
     •   fewer worker compensation claims.

12
Unhealthy                                                Healthy

  18 days annual sick leave                                2 days sick leave

  Self-rated performance 3.7 out of 10                     Self-rated performance of 8.5 out of 10

  49 effective hours worked (full-time) per month          143 effective hours worked (full-time) per month

  High fat diet                                            Healthy diet

  Low energy levels and poor concentration                 Fit, energetic and alert

  Obese or overweight                                      Normal body weight

  Irregular sleep patterns                                 More attentive at work and better sleep patterns

  Poor stress management techniques                        Actively manage stress levels

Healthier Work offers workplaces the unique opportunity    Workplace health and wellbeing programs take time
to establish effective workplace programs that will help   to effect substantial change, particularly in relation
to address health and wellbeing problems currently         to changing workplace culture. You can’t expect all
undermining business performance. Support is at hand       of these benefits in the short term, but with time and
to assist workplaces to make this happen.                  persistence you can achieve significant benefits for your
                                                           employees, as well as healthy returns for your business.

Health and wellbeing is a state of complete
physical, mental and social wellbeing – and not
merely the absence of disease or infirmity.17
- World Health Organization, 1946

                                                                                                                  13
The elements for creating a
workplace health and wellbeing
program
So, what to do? There are many ways to create a         Each of the six elements is supported by resources on
workplace health and wellbeing program; there are,      the Healthier Work website, including some adaptable
however, six core elements of best practice programs.   templates and tools, to help you build a program based
The elements are designed as pieces that fit together   on best practice. These resources are outlined in the
logically and allow you to build a tailored program     table below.
through a strong, simple process. The elements should
be thought of as a cycle, allowing continuous review
and improvement.

14
Core elements of best practice workplace health and wellbeing programs

  Core elements                                              Supporting resources

  1. Management Commitment                                       Health and Wellbeing Policy Example (and
     •   Establish workplace commitment with                     companion template)
         management support
     •   Where feasible, develop a workplace health
         and wellbeing policy

  2. Initial Planning
     •   Gain employer and employee involvement
     •   Establish coordination mechanisms, including
         a committee where feasible

  3. Needs Assessment                                            ACT Online Employee Health and Wellbeing
     •   Identify any existing initiatives                       Survey (for medium to large workplaces)
     •   Identify priority needs and interests of                Individual Version of the ACT Online Employee
         employees                                               Health and Wellbeing Survey (for employees)
     •   Identify workplace needs                                ACT Healthy Workplaces Scorecard

  4. Action Planning                                             Health and Wellbeing Action Plan Example
     •   Healthy People: strategies and activities to            (and companion template)
         support and promote a healthy workforce
     •   Healthy Places: facilities, policies and cultures
         to support a health-promoting workplace
     •   Communication and promotion to keep
         everyone informed and motivated

  5. Program Management
     •   Undertake sound program coordination,
         regular communication and record keeping

  6. Evaluation and Review                                       Workplace Health Evaluation Overview
     •   Evaluate and review progress against your
         action plan and communicate progress and
         results

  Additional Resources                                           Case Studies
                                                                 Frequently Asked Questions
                                                                 Health Promotion Campaigns and Information
                                                                 Service Providers

The six core elements are discussed in more detail in the following sections of this Guide to provide a clearer
understanding.

                                                                                                                  15
Overview of guide sections
Section 2 – A Simple Guide – focuses on how to get           Section 4 – Healthier Work Recognition – in addition
health and wellbeing initiatives started in your workplace   to the support we can offer, there are also promotional
using a simple approach. This approach may be best           benefits for workplaces that establish, and maintain, a
suited to your workplace if you lack the resources to        health and wellbeing program. This section outlines the
support a more comprehensive approach, you have a            ways we promote your achievements and offer valuable
small workforce (i.e. you are a small business) and/or       networking opportunities.
you are still striving to obtain the long-term management    Section 5 – Resources – here you will find an overview
commitment required for a comprehensive health and           of each of the supporting resources identified in the
wellbeing program. This Simple Approach incorporates         table above, which are available on the Healthier Work
the six core elements in three easy to follow steps.         website – www.healthierwork.act.gov.au
Section 3 – A Detailed Guide – focuses on how to             Remember, Healthier Work, a service within Access
go about developing a comprehensive and detailed             Canberra, is only a phone call away to provide you with
workplace health and wellbeing program to achieve            additional support with planning and implementing your
optimal results. Establishing formal organisational          program.
commitment and funding support, together with
a structured, policy-driven framework is critical to
achieving success in such a program. This Detailed
Approach expands on the six core elements in six
comprehensive steps.

     It’s now up to each ACT organisation to reap the
             rewards of taking positive action.

      We encourage you to share your experiences.

16
References
1   Premier’s Physical Activity Council – Tasmania (2007). Get Moving at Work: A resource kit for workplace health
    and wellbeing programs. Accessed 18 July 2016 at http://mengage.org.au/Social-Factors/Employment-Work/
    Resource-Kits-For-Workplace-Physical-Activity.
2   Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and ACT Health (2016). Healthy Weight Initiative
    Progress Report to June 2016. ACT Government, Canberra ACT.
3   Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010). Risk factors and participation in work. Cat. no. PHE 122.
    Canberra.
4   PwC (2015). Weighing the cost of obesity: A case for action. Accessed 18 July 2016 at http://www.pwc.com.au/
    publications/healthcare-obesity.html.
5   Health Services Australia (2002). Managing Absenteeism Report, as cited in Medibank Private (2005), The Health
    of Australia’s Workforce. Medibank Private: Australia.
6   Presenteeism is employees coming to work in spite of being sick, or being present at work but not performing
    appropriately.
7   Econtech (2011). Economic Modelling of the Cost of Presenteeism in Australia: 2011 Update. Report prepared
    for Medibank Private.
8   Workplace Health Association of Australia (2009, revised 2015). Best Practice Guidelines – Workplace Health in
    Australia. Accessed 18 July 2016 at http://www.workplacehealth.org.au/Understand-Workplace-Health.
9   World Health Organization, Division of Health Promotion, Education and Communication and Office of
    Occupational Health (1997). WHO’s Global Healthy Work Approach. WHO: Geneva.
10 ACT Health (2016). Healthy Canberra: ACT Chief Health Officer’s Report 2016, ACT Government, Canberra,
   Australia.
11 PricewaterhouseCoopers (2011). ACT Workplace Health Promotion Needs Analysis: Summary Report. Prepared
   on behalf of ACT Health. Accessed 7 March 2012 at http://www.health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/ACT%20
   Workplace%20Health%20Promotion%20Needs%20Analysis%202011_%20Summary%20Report.pdf.
12 The Kessler 10 score is a 10-item self-report questionnaire intended to yield a global measure of ‘psychological
   distress’ based on questions about the level of anxiety and depressive symptoms in the most recent 4-week
   period.
13 Medibank Private (2005). The Health of Australia’s workforce. Medibank Private, Australia.
14 Sims, J. Right Management (2010). Wellness and Productivity Management. Presentation to the Health and
   Productivity Management Congress 2010.
15 Wright T A, Cropanzano R, Denney PJ, & Loline GL (2002). ‘When a happy worker is a productive worker: A
   preliminary examination of three models’. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. (34) 146–150.
16 Medibank Private (2005). op. cit.
17 World Health Organization (1946). Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by
   the International Health Conference, New York, 19–22 June 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives
   of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April
   1948.

                                                                                                                      17
18
Section 2: A Simple Guide
     You can implement a
    successful health and
     wellbeing program…

                        19
…whether your
workplace is large
or small.

20
This section focuses on how to get health and wellbeing         If you are willing or able to invest more into broadening
initiatives started in your workplace using a simple            the size and scope of your program, there is a more
approach. This approach may be best suited to your              detailed and comprehensive path you can follow.
workplace if you lack the resources to support a more           See Section 3 – A Detailed Guide. The more
comprehensive approach, you have a small workforce              comprehensive and embedded your program is, the
(i.e. you are a small business) and/or you are still striving   more effective it will be in the long-term.
to obtain the long-term management commitment
required for a comprehensive health and wellbeing
program.

Do not underestimate the benefits of starting
health and wellbeing initiatives in your
workplace, whatever their size or scope.

                                                                                                                        21
Step 1: Establish workplace
commitment

1.1    Identify a key leader/leaders                         In communicating the rationale behind any initiative be
                                                             honest about what’s in it for both the company and its
Initial momentum for a workplace health and wellbeing
                                                             workers. From a management perspective, the objective
program may be sparked by the interest and enthusiasm
                                                             might be about improved productivity, whilst for the
of one worker. This person then becomes the leader,
                                                             workers, it may be about having a better lifestyle and
providing the energy to encourage management and
                                                             better work-life balance. A well conducted program will
others within the workplace to get on board and move
                                                             achieve both of these objectives.
forward. Without this energy and enthusiasm it is not
easy to establish solid commitment from management
and workers – and without commitment, there is little
                                                             1.3    Encourage staff to be involved
value in progressing.                                        It is vitally important to involve workers in the initial
                                                             discussions. Through this, ideas can be formulated
1.2    Ensure commitment from                                about what kinds of programs are needed, how
       management                                            they might be introduced and who would like to be
                                                             involved. This participatory approach will help to
A program or initiative actively supported by
                                                             ensure your initiative or program is relevant to workers
management has a firm foundation and contributes
                                                             and the environment at your workplace – and also aid
greatly to a positive culture throughout the organisation.
                                                             in maximising participation. Make sure you highlight
Where management is openly seen to ‘walk the talk’
                                                             the benefits of your intended program for workers to
the more likely it is you’ll gain broader engagement and
                                                             establish WHY the program is valuable.
involvement from workers.
All that may be needed to get your program going is
a shared belief that implementing simple strategies
could go a long way to improving the health and
wellbeing of workers. Your organisation’s contribution
might be as simple as committing some time to getting
started. Although useful, it is not essential to establish
a committee, nor to write a policy under this simple
model.

22
Step 2: Construct your program
2.1    Identify existing initiatives                           The ACT Online Employee Health and Wellbeing
                                                               Survey (an ACT Government resource) is an
Before considering what program strategies are needed
                                                               anonymous online survey for use by medium to
and wanted by staff, review what initiatives relating to
                                                               large workplaces to inform your workplace health
health and wellbeing your organisation may already
                                                               and wellbeing program development. It can then be
offer to staff. These might include flu vaccinations,
                                                               repeated over time to assist you in monitoring and
an Employee Assistance Program, flexible working
                                                               refining your program.
arrangements and/or smokefree policies. Consolidating
these existing initiatives under the banner of workplace       This online survey asks employees about their health
health and wellbeing is an excellent way to start giving       and behaviours around the key areas covered in this
your program a profile, engaging staff and building            Guide, as well as what initiatives they would like to see
momentum within your organisation for embracing new            included in a workplace health and wellbeing program.
initiatives.                                                   Employees receive automatically generated individual
                                                               feedback on their health status, with tips for making
                                                               changes. Your organisation is then provided with a
2.2    Identify staff issues                                   de-identified, aggregate report identifying employees’
Your workplace health and wellbeing program will only          broad health needs and program preferences.
succeed if it meets the requirements of your workers.          To protect the privacy and confidentially of employees,
In smaller workplaces, it may simply be a matter of            this online survey will only produce an organisation
asking workers what they would like to see happen.             results report once 30 responses to the survey are
Workers might have a broad range of ideas covering             attained. Consider your likely response rate when
many aspects of health and wellbeing. Consider holding         deciding whether or not this resource is suitable for your
a focus group, ask for input through regular staff             workplace.
meetings or establish an anonymous suggestion box
in the staff room or cafeteria. It’s likely that themes will
begin to emerge, such as stress, extended sitting time,
                                                               The most important
or access to healthy food options, which you can then
make the focus of your program.
                                                               aspect to remember is
In larger workplaces, you may need to conduct a
more formal needs assessment; for example, a survey
                                                               to make the program
of employees. You can use your survey to collect               relevant for your
both baseline data about your workers (for example,
information about their fruit and vegetable intake at the      workers.
present time, or their current level of physical activity),
and information about what they would like to see in a
health and wellbeing program. If you do use surveys,
it is important to remove any personal or identifying
information in your forms to protect the privacy of your
workers.

                                                                                                                       23
Given this required response rate, this online survey is       environment through facilities, supportive cultures and/
not intended for use by small workplaces. In addition          or policies.
to the suggestions provided above, smaller workplaces          Think about incorporating some of the possible actions
may wish to promote the Individual Version of the ACT          set out on the following page. For a more extensive list
Online Employee Health and Wellbeing Survey to                 of activity examples, by health topic, see Section 3
workers to assist them in assessing their current health       pages 32-41.
status and providing a starting point for discussions.
                                                               People strategies: to increase health knowledge,
This individual version of the survey only provides
                                                               awareness and positive attitudes
feedback to the employee and does not collate results
into an organisation report.                                      •   Provide educational material and other
                                                                      information on health and wellbeing issues.
2.3    Identify workplace issues                                  •   Host on-site visits from organisations such as
                                                                      The Cancer Council ACT, Nutrition Australia –
You may also want to conduct a simple workplace                       ACT, Diabetes ACT, the Heart Foundation or
health audit at this stage to identify one or two things              similar organisations.
that you can change in your workplace to make it more
                                                                  •   Establish a health and wellbeing notice board or
supportive of healthy behaviours. Think about your
                                                                      circulate health and wellbeing opportunities to
facilities, policies and workplace culture.
                                                                      workers via email, newsletters or pay slips.
Take a look at the ACT Healthy Workplaces
                                                                  •   Initiate a healthy recipe exchange program.
Scorecard for some ideas.
                                                               People strategies: to facilitate active participation in
2.4    Plan your program, identifying simple                   health behaviours
       strategies                                                 •   Provide information about walking and cycling
                                                                      routes – and encourage workers to include some
Planning is vitally important for ensuring a successful
                                                                      physical activity in travelling part or all of the way
workplace health and wellbeing program. Planning
                                                                      to and from work.
will clarify what it is you are trying to achieve and the
strategies you will use to achieve your goals. A plan             •   Encourage workers to make active choices
doesn’t have to be formal or highly structured, but it                where possible by distributing written information
should establish a clear and shared understanding                     and using promotional and motivational posters
throughout the organisation of the direction the program              at strategic points e.g. encouraging using stairs
will take. Take a look at the Health and Wellbeing                    instead of lifts or escalators and walking to
Action Plan Example to get you started.                               external meetings.
In selecting your strategies, the most important thing to         •   Establish a lunchtime walking group or a simple
remember is to keep it simple, using strategies that are              ‘Walk Challenge’.
tailored to your organisation’s needs, workers’ interests         •   Establish lunchtime activities such as yoga, belly
and available resources.                                              dancing or stretching – depending on interest.
Be inclusive in your selection of activities. Try to appeal       •   Encourage workers to complete simple
to the majority, while being careful not to alienate others.          stretching exercises during the day.
For example, if you are commencing physical activity              •   Support a workplace ‘lunch club’ – those
initiatives, in addition to the more physical strategies              interested can contribute and share the cost of
you might consider other low impact activities, like yoga             lunches; or hold a ‘let’s do lunch’ meeting where
and walking. These types of options can help build a                  all bring a healthy dish to share.
good program mix and encourage broad participation.
                                                                  •   Provide access to smoking cessation supports.
Remember to take into account the nature of your
business and any relevant health and safety issues.            Places strategies: to create health promoting
For example, many people already walk long distances           workplace environments
during their working day, some are sedentary for                  •   Provide access to tap water and water bottles to
extended periods (e.g. office workers), while others                  encourage appropriate hydration.
involved in shift work may be vulnerable if walking home          •   Establish a time-in-lieu arrangement to support
alone at night.                                                       individual or group physical activity.
A simple program might include one, or a combination              •   When catering for meetings, request the food
of, inexpensive strategies that link to issues identified in          supplier to provide foods of nutritional value.
your workplace. A combination of ‘people’ and ‘places’
                                                                  •   If you have vending machines, stock them with
strategies is most effective. People strategies may
                                                                      at least some healthy food options.
look to increase the health knowledge, awareness and
positive attitudes of workers (personal development)              •   Provide a fresh fruit bowl in the meeting or lunch
and/or facilitate their active participation in healthy               room.
behaviours (behaviour change). Places strategies
are about providing a health-promoting workplace

24
•   Provide a dedicated eating area that is clean,    You can support your initiatives with relevant health
    comfortable and inviting, to encourage workers    promotion campaigns and services, for example,
    not to eat at their desks.                        use the LiveLighter® campaign and the Australia’s
•   Provide some standing work stations to reduce     Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour
    sedentary behaviours, if relevant.                Guidelines for Adults (18–64 years) to access
                                                      resources for your physical activity initiatives, and
•   Encourage employee recognition for exceptional
                                                      Eat For Health® to reinforce nutrition initiatives.
    efforts, activities supporting a healthier work
    environment, providing leadership, or a
    team working well together (e.g. hosts a free
    healthy staff barbecue, distribute a whole-of-
    organisation email celebrating achievements).

                                                                                                              25
Step 3: Manage and evaluate your
program
3.1    Implement your specific initiatives                  Remember that workplace health and wellbeing
                                                            programs can take time to effect substantial change.
During implementation, it is important to communicate
                                                            You may only be able to measure small changes in the
your initiatives effectively to workers to encourage
                                                            short term, such as being able to demonstrate that your
and facilitate their participation and to celebrate your
                                                            program is having an impact on employee engagement
achievements. Demonstrating ongoing management
                                                            and team cohesiveness. However, these small changes
commitment to the program through the active
                                                            may have important benefits and cost-savings for your
participation of managers in activities and regular
                                                            business in terms of productivity and staff retention.
communication of support can substantially increase
worker participation in the program and subsequently        Changing workplace culture requires persistence,
improve its overall effectiveness.                          and you may not see all of the possible benefits of
                                                            workplace health promotion in the short term. It may
Keep good records of program initiatives, participation
                                                            take 1–2 years after the program is initiated before
rates and any identified barriers or enablers in
                                                            changes in health knowledge and behaviours, job
implementation. This will assist in your ongoing
                                                            satisfaction, productivity and corporate image are
monitoring and evaluation of your initiatives and overall
                                                            seen, and it may then take 3–5 years before changes in
program.
                                                            absenteeism, injuries and workers compensation costs
                                                            emerge. However, the time periods for which changes
3.2    Evaluate your initiatives and program                are seen may vary from workplace to workplace
Evaluation refers to the process of measuring and           depending on a range of factors such as levels of
assessing the impacts and merits of a particular            management support, staff engagement, staff access
endeavour – whether that be a policy, strategy              and appropriateness of programs.
or program. It is a means of determining the                Take a look at the Workplace Health Evaluation
appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the        Overview to help you think more about evaluation
endeavour, and contributing to improvements and             indicators (i.e. indicators to measure performance
innovation.                                                 against your program objectives), timeframes and
Ongoing program evaluation can provide valuable             data collection methods that you could include in your
insight into how specific initiatives, or your health and   evaluation planning.
wellbeing program overall, are progressing. This can
help inform refinement of your program approach and         3.3    Refine your program commitment
generate ideas for future activities. The outcomes can             and initiatives
also be used to justify and promote the benefits of your
                                                            Based on your ongoing monitoring and evaluation,
workplace health and wellbeing program within the
                                                            refine your program to ensure its relevance to workers,
organisation.
                                                            suitability to the workplace setting and overall
The key to effective program evaluation is to seek          effectiveness. Be sure to share your findings with
regular feedback from workers. This may involve:            management and staff to continue to create interest and
repeating the formal survey process you used to identify    value in the program.
staff issues; having informal discussions with staff who
have participated in particular initiatives; or simple
observation.

26
Summary of Simple Steps

Step 1:                          Step 2:                               Step 3:
Establish workplace              Construct your program                Manage and evaluate your
commitment                                                             program

Identify a key leader/leaders    Identify existing initiatives         Implement your specific initiatives

Ensure commitment from           Identify staff and workplace issues   Evaluate your initiatives and
management                                                             program

Encourage staff to be involved   Plan your program, identifying        Refine your program commitment
                                 simple strategies                     and initiatives

Improving health and wellbeing in the workplace is
not a one-dimensional process. It can take time to
change the existing culture.

By involving workers and showing a genuine
interest in what they have to say, you will be
able to tailor a program that achieves greater
productivity and job satisfaction.

                                                                                                             27
28
Section 3:
  A Detailed Guide
 Embed health and
wellbeing into your
workplace policies,
     programs and
        practices...

                   29
…to achieve optimal
results.

30
This section focuses on how to go about developing           refer back to Section 2 – A Simple Guide for assistance
a comprehensive and detailed workplace health and            in just getting started. Ideally, you will then continue to
wellbeing program to achieve optimal results.                develop and embed your program to increase its size,
If, after reviewing this section, you feel you may not yet   scope, and long-term effectiveness into the future. You
be ready to take this optimal comprehensive approach,        can return to this section of the Guide at this stage.

Establishing formal organisational commitment
and funding support, together with a structured,
policy-driven framework, is critical to achieving
success in such a program.

                                                                                                                      31
Step 1: Establish management
commitment
It is critical that a commitment to workplace health     You might also consider creating a health and wellbeing
and wellbeing is first clearly established within your   policy containing:
organisation, especially commitment from senior             •   A documented declaration of your organisation’s
management. Establishing a management or leadership             commitment to health and wellbeing.
group to advocate for the workplace health and
                                                            •   Clearly defined program objectives that are both
wellbeing program will help to drive and communicate
                                                                realistic and easily measured.
initiatives.
                                                            •   An outline of the various responsibilities for
If you are attempting to establish this commitment,
                                                                key groups, such as management, organising
try presenting management with some statistics on
                                                                committee, workers and external providers.
the impact of poor health on absenteeism, sick leave
and productivity to illustrate the business benefits     Take a look at the Health and Wellbeing Policy
of introducing a health and wellbeing program. See       Example to get you started.
Section 1 – Introduction and information on the
Healthier Work website for more guidance in this
area.

It makes good business sense to invest in making
the work environment a key setting for promoting
positive health and wellbeing.

32
Step 2: Undertake initial planning

2.1   Establish coordination mechanisms                   2.2    Engage staff
The identification and adequate resourcing of a program   The success of your program will be a direct reflection
coordinator is important. This coordinator must be        of the enthusiasm of workers. Staff are unlikely to
prepared to provide the energy and motivation to drive    be interested in (or motivated by) the corporate
the initial impetus and ongoing commitment to the         advantages, so initiatives should always be introduced
program, as well as undertake administration tasks for    and promoted from the perspective of the ‘benefits to
the program. This position may sit within your Human      workers’.
Resources, Work Safety or Corporate Services areas, as    Key and engaging messages to communicate include:
appropriate.
                                                             •   How the program is designed to improve the
Within larger organisations, a working party or                  health and wellbeing of workers.
committee with representatives from different interest
                                                             •   How workers are able to access important
groups across the organisation should ideally be
                                                                 information on the program and specific
charged with the responsibility of program planning and
                                                                 initiatives.
policy development.
                                                             •   How you will deliver the flexibility and
                                                                 opportunity to support workers to enjoy
                                                                 becoming more active and healthy.
                                                          The better this communication is, the greater
                                                          participation levels will be.

                                                                                                                    33
Step 3: Undertake needs
assessment

3.1    Identify existing initiatives                         If you are developing your own survey, it should always
                                                             allow for employees to complete it anonymously to
Before considering what new program strategies are
                                                             respect employee privacy and protect the confidentiality
needed and wanted by staff, review what initiatives
                                                             of personal health information. Anonymity will also
relating to health and wellbeing your organisation
                                                             encourage honest and open answers. In addition,
may already offer to staff. These might include flu
                                                             information obtained from employee surveys (or other
vaccinations, an Employee Assistance Program, flexible
                                                             measures) must only be used by your workplace to
working arrangements and/or smokefree policies.
                                                             identify issues across the employee group and not used
Consolidating these existing initiatives under the banner
                                                             to identify issues for specific individuals.
of workplace health and wellbeing is an excellent way to
start giving your program a profile, engaging staff and      For smaller workplaces, identifying the needs and
building momentum within your organisation for a more        preferences of workers may simply be a matter of
comprehensive program.                                       asking them what they would like to see happen.
                                                             Workers might have a broad range of ideas covering
                                                             many aspects of health and wellbeing. Consider holding
3.2    Identify needs and preferences of                     a focus group, ask for input through regular staff
       staff                                                 meetings or establish an anonymous suggestion box
It is important that your program is designed to address     in the staff room or cafeteria. It’s likely that themes will
the health and wellbeing issues and needs of your            begin to emerge, such as stress, extended sitting time,
workers.                                                     or access to healthy food options, which you can then
For medium to large workplaces, conducting the ACT           make the focus of your program.
Online Employee Health and Wellbeing Survey                  You may also wish to promote the Individual Version
(an ACT Government resource) at this stage can help          of the ACT Online Employee Health and Wellbeing
inform your program development as well as provide           Survey to workers to assist them in assessing their
you with baseline data to assist you to monitor and          current health status and to provide a starting point for
refine your program down the track.                          discussions. This individual version of the survey only
This online survey asks employees about their health         provides feedback to the employee and does not collate
and behaviours around smoking, physical activity,            results into an organisation report.
nutrition and hydration, alcohol consumption and
emotional wellbeing; as well as what initiatives they        3.3    Identify workplace needs
would like to see included in a workplace health
                                                             Your existing workplace environment (e.g. facilities,
and wellbeing program. Employees can complete
                                                             policies and culture) will also play a part in the kinds
this survey anonymously and receive automatically
                                                             of activities chosen for inclusion in a workplace health
generated individual feedback on their health status
                                                             and wellbeing program. There will be areas within the
with tips for making changes. The survey then provides
                                                             physical environment that make it easy to conduct
a de-identified, aggregate report to your organisation
                                                             particular activities. For example, a multi-storey building
identifying employees’ broad health needs and program
                                                             may provide an opportunity for a ‘take the stairs’
preferences.
                                                             program, or the existence of shower facilities may make
To protect the privacy and confidentially of employees,      it easier to promote a ‘ride to work’ initiative.
this online survey will only produce an organisation
                                                             On the other hand, the absence of these characteristics
results report once 30 responses to the survey are
                                                             may make it difficult to include all suggested activities
attained. Given this required response rate, this online
                                                             generated from employee surveys. For example, if a
survey is not intended for use by small workplaces. In
                                                             large number of workers showed an interest in a ‘ride
deciding whether or not this resource is suitable for your
                                                             to work’ initiative or a lunchtime walk/run, the existence
workplace, consider your likely response rate.
                                                             of bike racks, a shower and change room facilities
Conducting this online survey every 12 months is one         becomes an important part of the decision making
way of evaluating the progress of your program, helping      process. Without these, the option is impractical.
you to continually improve your content and make sure
                                                             Remember to consult with workers in order to identify
it is making a difference.
                                                             their preferences. Once you have done this, you will
                                                             need to find a balance between these preferences and
                                                             what is practical in your physical environment.

34
To assist you to consider whether your workplace is a    By revisiting this scorecard down the track, you can
‘health-promoting environment’ and identify changes      monitor and evaluate your progress.
you can make to your facilities, policies and culture,
you should also undertake a workplace audit. The ACT
Healthy Workplaces Scorecard is provided to help
you with this.

                                                                                                                35
Step 4: Action planning

4.1      Plan your approach                                  Building knowledge, awareness and positive
                                                             attitudes
The implementation of a detailed program needs to be
well planned in order to function well.                      Building each individual’s knowledge and understanding
                                                             of the importance of health and wellbeing is vital to
From the outset, you should set some clear objectives
                                                             changing their attitudes. Promoting a positive outlook
on what you want to achieve and how you will know if
                                                             that highlights the proven benefits of physical activity,
you have achieved it.
                                                             healthy eating and a healthy work-life balance is
     •   Your plan should include some timelines and         fundamental to achieving improved awareness and
         identify the strategies you intend to use in your   program involvement.
         program.
                                                             The key is to create educational initiatives that are not
     •   Your plan should offer opportunities for both       only highly informative, but also fun. These can be in
         immediate and longer-term implementation, as        the form of ‘guest speaker’ get-togethers, seminars,
         well as performance indicators to help assess       workshops or simply the dissemination of literature
         your progress.                                      on specific issues such as physical activity, nutrition
     •   You need to decide on a starting point and make     and hydration, smoking cessation, risky alcohol
         sure this is communicated clearly to workers.       consumption and social and emotional wellbeing. If
     •   An official launch will help to create initial      you have utilised the ACT Online Employee Health
         momentum and emphasise the support of               and Wellbeing Survey , consider what topic areas
         management.                                         to target based on where knowledge levels and/or
                                                             confidence to change are lowest.
Take a look at the Health and Wellbeing Action
                                                             Many ACT-based organisations and service providers
Plan Example to get you started with this program
                                                             are available to assist and actively participate in this
planning.
                                                             area. You can also utilise messages and associated
                                                             resources from current health promotion campaigns.
4.2      Promote your program                                See Section 5 – Resources and the Healthier Work
Internal promotion needs to be sustained to                  website for more information.
build interest and participation in your program.
                                                             Facilitating active participation in healthy behaviours
Communication should focus initially on the overall
health benefits of the program, followed by strategies       Initiatives that provide the motivation or support
designed to address specific workplace issues.               for behavioural changes are likely to have a greater
                                                             impact beyond the workplace and for longer periods
                                                             of time. These may include: encouraging using stairs
4.3      Ensure variety and choice
                                                             instead of lifts or escalators and walking to external
The program should provide some variety to cater for         meetings; establishing a lunchtime walking group or a
differing individual interests. A combination of ‘people’    simple ‘Walk Challenge’; providing fruit in staff rooms;
and ‘places’ strategies is most effective. People            ensuring canteens and vending machines have healthy
strategies may look to increase the health knowledge,        food options; supporting participation in quit smoking
awareness and positive attitudes of workers (personal        sessions.
development) and/or facilitate their active participation    These initiatives generate behavioural change and
in healthy behaviours (behaviour change). Places             promote lifestyle changes. This becomes the driver
strategies are about providing a health-promoting            for making healthier lifestyle choices around issues
workplace environment through facilities, supportive         such as physical activity, healthy eating, smokefree,
cultures and/or policies.                                    reduced alcohol consumption, and social and emotional
Many factors will influence worker participation in          wellbeing.
your program and, within the broader workplace               Again, there are a number of ACT-based organisations
environment, a range of issues beyond those discussed        and service providers that can assist you to plan for and
in this Guide may need to be taken into account. Always      deliver these initiatives. See Section 5 – Resources and
look to extend your thinking and avoid it being too one-     the Healthier Work website for more information.
dimensional.

36
Creating health-promoting environments                    Looking beyond the workplace
Initiatives that demonstrate your organisation’s          In considering the broader environment of the health
commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff and       and wellbeing of workers, you may want to think about
that acknowledge the role that your workplace setting     how to involve the families of your staff in selected
can play in influencing staff health can be extremely     workplace strategies.
effective.
These initiatives may be around: improving access         4.4    Select your strategies
to facilities that support healthy choices and healthy
                                                          The range of initiatives you might consider including
behaviours, such as healthy food options in vending
                                                          in your workplace health and wellbeing program is
machines and staff rooms, as well as provision of
                                                          unlimited.
change rooms, showers and bike racks; improving
the psychosocial culture through, for example, good       Remember, it is good practice to include a combination
management practices, promotion of work-life balance,     of ‘people’ and ‘places’ strategies. Choose a mix
and recognition of staff achievements; or policies that   of people strategies that aim to increase the health
support healthy choices and health behaviours, such       knowledge, awareness and positive attitudes of workers
as smokefree workplace, alcohol and healthy catering      (personal development) and facilitate their active
policies.                                                 participation in healthy behaviours (behaviour change).
                                                          Select places strategies that help create health-
For information to assist you in progressing these
                                                          promoting workplace environments through facilities,
initiatives, see Section 5 – Resources and the
                                                          supportive cultures and/or policies.
Healthier Work website.
                                                          The tables on the following pages provide examples
                                                          of strategies by health topic – physical activity,
                                                          nutrition and hydration, smokefree, reduced alcohol
                                                          consumption, and social and emotional wellbeing.

The lasting value of any workplace health and
wellbeing program is its capacity to encourage
greater participation, and achieve positive attitude
and behavioural change that will extend the
program’s benefits beyond the workplace.

                                                                                                                  37
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