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Benefits of a

healthy workplace

• What is a healthy workplace?

• Comprehensive workplace health
• Putting it into practice

Healthy workplace defined
• A healthy workplace integrates the following three
elements to achieve optimal health of its people and its
– Health and lifestyle practices (availability of resources and support
of employees’ efforts to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle
– Organizational culture (attitudes, values and beliefs demonstrated
in the workplace on a daily basis that impact the well-being of
– Physical work environment

Source: The definition of a healthy workplace is consistent with

models promoted by Health Canada, the National Quality Institute,
the Ontario Healthy Workplace Coalition, and the Forum on the
Advancement of Healthy Workplaces
Why is a healthy workplace important?

• 16 million adult Canadians spend half of their waking

hours at work — the environments in which people
live, learn, work and play have a significant impact on
health (Public Health Agency of Canada)
• Healthy employees have higher morale, are more
productive, and report higher levels of job satisfaction
(Public Health Agency of Canada)

• Absenteeism costs are in excess of 15 billion dollars a

year in Canada (Buffet Taylor Report 2003)
Benefits to employees

• Improved fitness, health, and lifestyle

• Improved work/life balance
• Improved morale and engagement
• Improved team spirit and job satisfaction
• Reduced stress and incidences of injury
• Enhanced relationships with co-workers

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Benefits within the workplace

• Reduced absenteeism and turnover

• Reduced benefits claims
• Enhanced recruitment and retention
• Enhanced reputation

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

The evidence: benefits within the workplace

• Healthier employees:
– In the first six months of Toronto’s “Metro Fit” program,
municipal employees saw marked improvements in their health
and resilience and reported 3.5 fewer sick days
– MDS Nordion employees enjoyed similar health benefits and were
sick less often than in previous years (fewer than 4 days per year
compared with the Canadian average of 7.4 days per year)

• Continuity in the workplace:

– BC Hydro employees enrolled in the fitness program had a
turnover rate of 3.5% compared to the company average of 10.3%
The evidence: benefits to employees
• Increasing physical activity to at least 30 minutes per
day at least 5 days per week lowers the risk of
developing coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2
diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer by
30 – 50% (National Association of Physical Activity and Health)
• Within 48 hours of stopping smoking, chances of
having a heart attack start to decrease
– within 1 year, risk of suffering a smoking-related heart attack is cut
in half
– within 10 years, risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
– Within 15 years, the risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a
person who never smoked (Health Canada)
The evidence: benefits to employees (cont’d)

• Workplace stair-climbing interventions: Climbing

two flights of stairs per day can lead to a 2.7 kg (5.9
lbs) weight loss over one year
• Six flights a day can lead to an 8.2 kg (18 lbs) weight
loss over one year

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Comprehensive workplace health
Comprehensive workplace health

• Effective workplace health programs are

comprehensive in nature and scope:
– Planned using relevant data such as a survey or needs assessment
– Participation from all levels of the institution
– Addresses employee health
– Addresses the broader work environment and culture
– Evaluated and adapted to meet changing nature of work force and
needs of employees

Source: Conference Board of Canada

We can all play a role

• Leadership commitment
• Support by managers and supervisors of committee
• Inclusive committee — diverse group of members from
all across campus
• Departmental workplace champions
• Lead by example
• Encourage co-workers and colleagues to participate
Current healthy workplace practices at CU
• Employee and Family Assistance Program
• Membership to Athletics
• Comprehensive benefits plan
• Learning and development program
• Career development fund for professional growth
• On-site Health and Counselling Services
• Paid leave during annual Christmas holiday shutdown
• Free tuition for employees, their dependents and spouses
Current healthy workplace practices at CU
• Maternity leave with 95% salary top up and parental leave
• Special leave opportunities (medical/dental/legal
appointments; personal or self-funded leave plans; and
• Recognition initiatives with annual Employee Appreciation
Day, and awards program
• Guaranteed housing loan up to $20,000 payable over 20
• Career opportunities, meaningful work, safe environment,
and more
Putting it into practice
Healthy Workplace Committee
• 12 members, including:
– Ed Kane (Chair)
– Stephen Belanger (Physical Plant)
– Thomas Garvey (School of Industrial Design)
– Marija Gojmerac (School for Studies in Art and Culture — FASS)
– Irvin Hill (Equity Services)
– Bruce Marshall (Athletics)
– Maria McClintock (University Communications)
– Laura Newton Miller (MacOdrum Library)
– Maureen Murdock (Health and Counselling Services)
– Valerie Pereboom (Office of the Dean of Public Affairs)
– Christa Pigeon (Info Carleton)
– Carolina Willsher (Human Resources)

Healthy Workplace Committee (cont’d)

• Meet once a month (three meetings held to date)

• Creating a solid foundation to build on:
– Terms of Reference
– Logo/identity exercise
– Mission and vision
– Setting goals and objectives
• Looking ahead:
– Decision to follow National Quality Institute Healthy Workplace
Progressive Excellence Program
– Survey of employees
Programs/events hosted to date
• April 21: Office Yoga workshop
– Registration maxed out, 29 on waiting list
• May 6: The Secrets to Successful Budgeting workshop
– Registration maxed out, 4 on waiting list
• May 19: Get Active Your Way workshop
– 8 participants
• May 28: Everyday in May walk (Congress tour)
– 12 participants and positive feedback
• Everyday in May Physical Activity Challenge
– 168 activity logs returned
– Tremendous response (testimonials and photos online)
• Commuter Challenge
– 40 participants saved 582kg of GHG
Programs/events hosted to date
• Health Expo at Summer Fest featuring:
– Nutrition Headquarters
• Ask the dietician
• Sample healthy food items from Aramark
– Massage therapy
– Great-West Life
– Family Services Ottawa (EFAP provider)
– Literature table
– Sunscreen and sun facts

Upcoming events
• Workplace walking program
• Health and Wellness Expo (October)
Communication actions to date
• Announcement in March issue of Carleton Now
• Committee photo in May issue of Carleton Now
• Story in June issue of Carleton Now
• Profile in ThisWeek@FASS e-newsletter
• Website live June 4
• Email announcement/memo from President Runte
• Announcements in Today@Carleton
• Main CU web page photo with link to story in CN
• Article in Fitness Now
What’s next?

 Commitment from senior management

 Establish healthy workplace committee
 Understand needs of employees
 Create a health plan to address those needs
 Implement the plan (education, events, resources)
 Evaluate and refine

We need to provide the means for employees to

make healthy lifestyle choices — and make those
choices easy ones
Questions, comments and feedback
are most welcome!