2What is Work Well?Work Well is a process that can be used by small and large organisations throughout Northern Ireland to develop and implement their own workplace health programmes.
3Does it work?The Work Well model is based on international best practice.This type of model has gained recognition for being successful in improving the health and wellbeing of an organisation and its staff.Work Well was successfully piloted among 20 business in Northern Ireland. The results from the evaluation were very positive.
4Why bother about workplace health? Sickness absenteeism is estimated to cost Northern Ireland £330 million per year. This figure equates to an average of £426 per employee per year.A happy workforce is a healthy business.
5Benefits to employer? Improved public image. A reduction in sickness absenteeism and therefore absenteeism costs.Increased employee motivation, morale and loyalty.Increased employee productivity/performance levels.A change towards a healthier work culture.
6Benefits to employees?Improved level of awareness in relation to health and wellbeing issues.Knowledge and information to take back to their families and communities.Adopting a more positive attitude towards lifestyle and behaviour.Helping to motivate and support individuals to make healthier choices.
7Benefits of being involved in Work Well Receive free support, advice and guidance from a Work Well Practitioner.Achieve publicity through the HPA’s Work Well scheme.Gain recognition as a caring and committed employer.Add a contribution towards Quality Awards, eg Employers of Choice, Investors In People.
83 key business areas that Work Well looks at: Leadership and managementEffective leadership and efficient management support the development of a healthy workplace, both in policy and practice. This is to ensure that employees work in a supportive environment that promotes positive working relationships and values and develops employees.Physical environmentThe physical working environment must be safe and healthy, which means continuously reviewing and improving health and safety in the workplace.Health and wellbeing of employeesThe workplace promotes opportunities for employees to increase their knowledge of health related issues and allows changes in health behaviours to be realised. The whole organisation works in a way that makes healthy choices the easier option and encourages employees to take a personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing.
9Leadership and management This covers organisational issues that can have an impact on health and wellbeing such as:The culture within organisationsCommunicationPlanningHuman resources
10Leadership and management Effective leadership and efficient management support the development of a healthy workplace, both in policy and practice.Developing this area ensures that employees work in a supportive environment that promotes positive working relationships and values and develops employees.
11Leadership and management Examples of actions in this area:Workplace health policy statementHealth action plansHuman resource policiesTraining plansJob descriptionsImproved communication systems
12Physical environmentThe physical working environment must be safe and healthy. This means continuously reviewing and improving health and safety to ensure compliance with legislation and statutory obligations for occupational health (Work Well criteria encourages going above and beyond what is legislated for).
13Physical environment Examples of actions in this area: Health and safety committeeStating responsibilities and reporting structuresHealth and safety policiesRisk assessmentsSafe practices
14Health and wellbeingThe workplace promotes opportunities for employees to increase their knowledge of health related issues and allows changes in health behaviours to be realised.Employers should not impose healthy lifestyle choices on employees, but there are often ways that work creates barriers to making healthy choices and employers can remove these barriers.
15Health and wellbeingThe whole organisation should work in a way that makes the healthier choice the easier choice, and encourages employees to take a personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing.The workplace health programme should be based on employee needs and evaluation of previous programmes.
16Health and wellbeing Examples of issues that can be addressed: Nutrition and weight controlPhysical activityAlcohol and drugsSmoking
17Health and wellbeing Examples of issues that can be addressed: Women’s / men’s cancerBreastfeeding mothers returning to workStress and mental health in the workplaceGeneral health
18The Work Well process1. Obtain commitment from employer or senior manager to integrate workplace health as a core part of the organisation’s businessThis commitment should be made clear to all employees and plans to create a healthier workplace should be incorporated into the organisation’s own plans.2. Establish a working group for health in the organisationThe healthy workplace team is responsible for generating ideas and creating direction. It is also responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing actions arising from the health needs assessment. The team should aim to involve other employees as volunteers and, most importantly, serve as the communication link with employees. The team should also allow employees to provide an input into the process, and keep employees informed of progress and developments.3. Needs assessmentThere are two parts to this. Firstly, a review of the current status quo in the organisation, or what could be called developing a company health report. This may mean looking at anonymous absence statistics, or policies that already exist with regards to health etc.There will also be a needs assessment carried out with employees. The format of this depends on the organisation (eg confidential questionnaire, employee focus groups). Every employee should have an opportunity to give their opinion. This will help in the assessment of what actions should be developed, ie what are the priorities and what is it that staff need and want.4-6. Establish priorities, develop and implement an action planEach workplace is different. Each one will have very different needs and the resources and commitments of each workplace will dictate what actions are needed, and also what is practical.The action plan will prioritise what is important to them. A business may have a very young workforce who have specific health education needs, eg employers may have identified that staff are coming in hung over and may want to look at an alcohol policy, supported by education. Another business may employ people in very sedentary jobs, ie desk jobs or driving, and the employees may indicate through the needs assessment process that they are interested in more physical activity.This working group will be instrumental in looking at what the priorities and actions should be. The action plan should be implemented over a month period.Evaluation and reviewWithin any programme there should be evaluation. This programme specifically aims to gauge the best way to implement a healthy workplace initiative and therefore evaluation is central to what takes place during this stage. It is also important to maintain momentum, to continuously review and address employee needs, and to look at how effective the actions are.
19Support during the process Guidance and support will be provided by the Work Well practitioner at every stage of the process.Support and commitment is needed from senior management.
20Support during the process Information needs to be communicated to all employees.Support for the programme will determine the success of the initiative and what differences are achieved.
21What employees have to do Be involved – have their say and make changes.Contribute to an employee needs assessment (eg confidential questionnaire, focus group).Support any programmes and activities.Take ownership.
22What other employers have said about Work Well “definitely worth getting involved”“the project forced us to sit down and examine our practices”“we have a more cooperative and motivated staff and they realise that their employer has taken an interest in their wellbeing”“increased awareness of the health bit of health and safety”
23Frequently asked questions Why is my employer becoming involved?Employers want their staff to be happy and healthy. For organisations to succeed, they must value the health and wellbeing of their employees.
24Frequently asked questions Do I have to take part?It is your choice whether to participate but it is your opportunity to have your say, work towards positive changes and take ownership of workplace health – the more you put into it, the more you will benefit.
25Frequently asked questions Are the employee questionnaires confidential?The employee questionnaires are confidential, anonymous and simple to complete. Realistic answers will enable an relevant health action plan to be developed.
26Frequently asked questions Are the activities carried out during working time?Some activities will be carried out during working time but it depends on the activity and the organisation.