Occupational Health: Healthy Employees, Healthy Company!
Occupational health or company health management includes measures to maintain and sustain the health of employees in the company. In addition to health promotion, company health management can also include occupational integration management, absence management, occupational safety, and health protection. Since company health management is oriented towards business goals, the productivity and competitiveness of the company can be increased.
Workplace health promotion is a branch of company health management. It starts with employees at the workplace with the aim of reducing mental and physical strain in everyday working life. One approach to workplace health promotion is awareness. Information leaflets, exhibitions, counseling sessions, group discussions, or training programs provide employees with the knowledge and skills to make their own decisions about changing their health behavior. In addition, adjustments in working conditions, working environment, or individual behavior may be deduced from health promotional campaigns. Prevention measures are used in the areas of nutrition, exercise, stress management, and relaxation, as well as addiction prevention, which should have health-promoting awareness in employees in the long term. In this process, employees should be empowered to control influential factors in order to strengthen their immune system and thus their health in a self-determined way.
These measures are exempted for tax purposes. A company can thus invest up to 500€ per employee and per year, tax-free for health promotion measures.
The Importance of Occupational Health
Healthy and efficient employees are the foundation of every company. And despite the obvious importance of company health management, few German companies are implementing sustainable health promotion measures for their employees. It argues with the higher priority of the day-to-day business, an unmanageable selection of providers, insufficient measurability, lack of know-how, and lack of human resources. At the same time, BGM is a decisive competitive factor, which in view of the increasing stress of the modern working world, the shortage of skilled workers, and demographic change, is indispensable for the future viability of a company. For today’s workforce – especially since generation Y – performance motivation and job satisfaction do not depend solely on their salary.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Two-thirds of sick leave is due to lifestyle diseases. However, many of these lifestyle diseases, which include cardiovascular diseases, indigestion, bone diseases, etc. are preventable. Risk factors are mainly sugar consumption, alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, lack of physical activity, chronic stress, and malnutrition. Conversely, many of these diseases could be avoided in industrial countries through a healthy lifestyle. With aging staff, the risk of lifestyle diseases increases. Those companies that can successfully keep their aging workforce healthy have a clear competitive advantage.
Unfortunately, in the German health care system as well as in the occupational context preventive measures are not given sufficient importance. Employee health care is beneficial to both the employee and the employer – the employee has no extra work and no additional costs to benefit from health measures, which can reduce medical expenses and the employer can keep his aging workforce efficient and convince skilled employees in the workplace competition (employee retention and acquisition).
Healthy Eating for Employees at Work
Who is not familiar with the food coma after lunch break? Can it be prevented? The answer is – yes! In a balanced diet, fatigue after eating does not occur. But unfortunately, the reality in most German company canteens looks different. The food in the canteens usually doesn’t taste good and there is little investment in high-quality, healthy ingredients. Instead, the food from the kitchens is criticized as too greasy and with too many artificial additives. Often nearby fast food is not a better alternative either. When getting your calories from fried potato dishes or pasta with greasy sauces, the digestive system works at full speed, while less energy remains available for the brain to work. Therefore, it is not surprising that most workers come back to work after lunch feeling sluggish and their performance curve goes down. A healthy and delicious lunch would not only boost the performance, but also the mood and motivation of employees.
Consequences of unbalanced nutrition can range from short-term to long-term risks.
Short-term risks include:
– Decrease in performance
– Lack of concentration
– Circulatory disturbance
In the long term, serious illnesses can occur, such as:
– Excessive weight gain
– Diabetes mellitus
– High blood pressure
– Cardiovascular disease
Access to Know-How and Possibilities
Integrating a full-fledged diet into your lifestyle requires basic knowledge. It is no secret that the type of diet can have positive as well as negative effects on our performance. Too much sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives will certainly do anything but boost performance. If you know to stock up on fiber, minerals, vitamins, and more in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables instead, food comas after lunch are certainly a thing of the past. But very few people have enough time to deal with health studies after work. Company health management or workplace health promotion provides a framework in which employees have access to essential knowledge and opportunities. Start with impulses, team events, or workshops from Niaria!