Engaging Employers to Develop Healthy Workplaces: The Work Well Initiative of Steps to a Healthier Washington in Thurston County
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Engaging Employers to Develop Healthy Workplaces: The Work Well Initiative of Steps to a Healthier Washington in Thurston County

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  • English

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      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:

      The Work Well 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 Work Well initiative and resulting Work Well program.


      The Work Well 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 Work Well 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 Work Well 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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