Engaging Employers to Develop Healthy Workplaces: The WorkWell Initiative of Steps to a Healthier Washington in Thurston County
Published Date:Mar 16 2009
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 6(2).
Pubmed Central ID:PMC2687867
Funding:5 U58 DP023317-05/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
The WorkWell initiative of Thurston County, Washington, established by Steps to a Healthier Washington in Thurston County (Thurston County Steps), focuses on recognizing and supporting local employers who make a commitment to address workforce health issues by implementing programs within their organizations to help adults reach Healthy People 2010 objectives. This article reports on the WorkWell initiative and resulting WorkWell program.
The WorkWell initiative was developed to address the needs of private and public employers in Thurston County, Washington, to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases through policy, practice, and environmental changes.
Thurston County Steps recruited local employers to participate in advisory work groups to identify healthy workplace interventions that would be feasible for the employers and initiate a shift in organizational culture. The WorkWell initiative developed 2 distinct approaches — 1 for private sector (designation program) and another for public sector (action planning).
Twenty-six employers with approximately 4,700 employees were recognized with WorkWell Healthy Workplace designations for implementing changes that included encouraging stairwell use, providing low- or no-cost healthy meals for employees, and providing healthy foods at meetings. Four public agencies with approximately 4,400 employees have participated in an assessment and action planning process to help government employers focus their efforts and resources to support workforce health promotion.
Unique partnerships between Thurston County Steps and other employers, private and public, demonstrate the important role employers can play in reducing chronic disease to improve a community's overall health.
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