Understanding the Workplace Health Model: CDC

Workplace Health Promotion is a key office within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. They provide an extremely useful “Workplace Health Model.”

The CDC writes that employers “have abundant opportunities to promote individual health and foster a healthy work environment for more than 159 million workers in the United States.” The reason is straightforward for any company that also wants to understand the program design that defines well-run workplace wellness programs: “Maintaining a healthier workforce can lower direct costs such as insurance premiums and worker’s compensation claims. It will also positively impact many indirect costs such as absenteeism and worker productivity.”

Workplace health programs, as defined by the CDC, “include programs, policies, benefits, environmental supports, and links to the surrounding community designed to meet the health and safety needs of all employees.”

“Examples of workplace health program components and strategies include:”

  • Health education classes
  • Access to local fitness facilities
  • Company policies that promote healthy behaviors such as a tobacco-free campus policy
  • Employee health insurance coverage for appropriate preventive screenings
  • A healthy work environment created through actions such as making healthy foods available and accessible through vending machines or cafeterias
  • A work environment free of recognized health and safety threats with a means to identify and address new problems as they arise

The CDC concludes: “For organizations, workplace health programs have the potential to impact areas such as health care costs, absenteeism, productivity, recruitment/retention, culture and employee morale.”