Worksite Wellness

People walking on sidewalk.

Employees spend approximately 36% of their total waking hours at work. This makes the worksite an ideal place to provide workers with the knowledge and skills needed to help improve attitudes and behaviors concerning health.

A worksite wellness program is any workplace health promotion activity or organizational policy designed to support healthy behavior in the workplace and to improve health outcomes.  Worksite wellness programs can be implemented through health insurance providers, the companies or businesses themselves, or with the help of a third party vendor. The goal is to build wellness and healthy living into the work day, by making positive changes in the workplace.

Nutrition Wellness Policy Guide

A child walking with lunch tray. The Department of Health (DOH), Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division (CDPHPD) led the charge in the development of a Nutrition Wellness Policy (NWP). In April 2015, DOH adopted the NWP requiring meetings, training sessions, workshops, conferences, and other events to offer healthy food and drink options when the event is sponsored with state or federal funds. This policy is designed to promote a healthier work environment, giving employees, partners, and meeting participants the opportunity to choose from healthier food and beverage options. DOH leadership hopes to inspire other state agencies and private sector employees to adopt similar standards for their meetings and conferences, to put the state on a positive path to better health.

The purpose of this guide is to provide other agencies with:

  • The original DOH Nutrition Wellness Policy
  • A template that other agencies, organizations, and businesses can use
  • Helpful tools
  • Frequently asked questions

Be Active at Work Toolkit

Start living healthy graphic.The Be Active @ Work Resource Kit contains easy-to-use resources for employers, to implement at their worksite, that support physical activity as part of a comprehensive worksite wellness program.

To create a comprehensive program, employers must address both the individual risk factors affecting their employees and the organizational factors that help or hinder employee’s efforts to reduce their risks. The strongest programs create a culture of health and ensure that both leadership and the workplace environment provide support for healthy choices.

The Be Active @ Work Resource Kit also includes tools and strategies for increasing social support opportunities for employees. Social support programs help to create shared experiences that can advance behavior change, specifically related to physical activity. Social support programs include group exercise activities, walking groups, health challenges, and options to develop social contracts and agreements around physical activity.

Research has shown that social support opportunities in the workplace can lead to increased time spent being physically active, increased fitness and knowledge levels, and decreased body fat.

Government Agency Worksite Wellness Taskforce

In 2009, CDPHPD organized a Government Agency Worksite Wellness (GAW) Task Force made up of state agencies, county government, government employee unions, health plans, and the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF). The task force provided opportunities to increase education and support of worksite wellness in state agencies.  The task force also developed the Hawai‘i Government Agency Worksite Wellness Plan 2010 (PDF).

The State of Worksite Health Survey – Hawai‘i Results

Hawaii was also chosen to take part in a nationwide research project, The State of Worksite Health. The State of Worksite Health Survey was conducted in Hawai‘i as well as in five other states/regions.  The survey explores the views of Hawai‘i business decision-makers on worksite wellness.

Women exercising. The Department is currently working on the development and implementation of a comprehensive worksite wellness pilot program for government agencies.  As the pilot program is developed and tested, the program and tools will also be offered to additional state and county agencies and private employers.

Why support wellness at work?

Potential benefits to employers:

  • Reduces cost for chronic diseases
  • Decreases absenteeism
  • Reduces employee turnover
  • Improves worker satisfaction
  • Demonstrates concern for your employees
  • Improves morale

Potential benefits to employees:

  • Ensures greater productivity
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves fitness and health
  • Provides social opportunity and source of support within the workplace

For more information on how to begin a worksite wellness program, including an obesity cost calculator for employers, visit CDC’s Healthy Worksite Program or LEANWorks!