FOOD & FITNESS / MAR. 11, 2015
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How to Design and Finance a Workplace Health Programme

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Focusing on workplace health programmes should be a part of all companies’ future strategies. Although health and safety programmes are highly beneficial, it’s important to understand that there are certain policies and legislations. By incorporating a health programme, you help ensure a healthy workplace.

See also: Workplace Stress Makes us Smoke, Eat and Get Fat

What Exactly Is a Workplace Health Program?

Each workplace will differ in terms of their needs. Some of the most common aspects of a health and wellness programme will include:

  • A safe work environment
  • Support for healthy living (healthy eating, support for non-smoking practices, maintaining workplace stress, etc.)
  • Targeting better work/life balance
  • Violence prevention
  • Availability of counselling
  • Higher rates of employee participation regarding decision-making
  • Healthy screening tests

These are just some of the areas that you may cover. There may be other core elements that you should include, which you will discover from your employees’ concerns and needs.

What Should I Focus on While Planning?

Planning a workplace health programme takes time and effort. Before you begin to build and develop your program, you need to be clear about some key elements. These will include:

  • Your Objective: What do you wish to achieve by creating this programme? Based on your efforts, what would you like completed?
  • Your Target Audience: While building your programme, who will your programme be for? Will you be targeting everyone on your staff? Will your programme only target certain groups or members?
  • Programme Approach: What tone would you like your programme to have? Would you like it to be fun? Perhaps informative? This is all part of the planning process.
  • Funding: It is important to know where funding will come from for your programme. This will help guide your decisions along the way. We will discuss this in detail below.

See also: How to Start a Mentoring Programme

Steps for Implementing a Workplace Health Programme

Although there will be similarities, each organization will differ, so everyone’s needs will be unique to their workplace. The following steps will allow you to implement a successful health programme:

1. Leadership and Upper Management Support

First, you need to select a leader. This will be someone who takes primary ownership of the programme, being the direct point of contact. Technically, this does not need to be a singular person; it can be a committee. In order to make this programme successful, discuss details with senior management.

2. Get Further Support

Once you have support from upper management (if needed), start gaining support from everyone else. Start incorporating as many groups and people as you can. If you have not already, start reaching out to health and safety professionals, medical staff, your human resources department, local community groups (public health, heart and stroke foundations, etc.) or anyone else you think would contribute.

3. Identify Your Workplace Needs

To make this programme as successful as possible, you will want to find out what your employees have to say. What are their needs? What would they prefer? What are their attitudes towards a new programme? The easiest way to collect this information, is by handing out a survey. Whether you’d like to send home a survey with their next pay cheque, host a meeting or send an email survey, there are multiple options.

You can also create a suggestion box. Sometimes, employees would like to express their opinion, but they’re scared. When there’s a level of confidentiality involved, you can generally obtain more honest and useful information. Before you can design a program, you need to understand what your employees’ expectations and needs truly are.

4. Start Building a Detailed Plan

Based on your previous efforts, you will need to organize your findings. Once you have identified what needs to be implemented, then you should begin to prioritize. This will require you to set deadlines, adding to both short- and long-term goals.

While building your programme, make sure you target education, skill-building techniques, and the overall work environment. Education is important for awareness, and skill-building will help to change certain behaviours, while changes in the workplace can further support your plans.

5. Funding Your Programme

Perhaps you have set aside a portion of your budget for this programme. If not, you can reach out to your local government for help. In Canada, for instance, there’s the Labour Funding Program. You can also reach out to organizations, which are affiliated with your goals. The British Heart Foundation is a great example, as they provide further support.

See also: How to Manage a Diabetic Diet at Work

Once your programme has begun, make sure you’re consistently monitoring and maintaining your goals. You will need to continuously evaluate your programme, using these results to further improve certain aspects.

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