Does a healthy workplace environment matter? 

A 2022 Forbes article on the subject states:  “Studies have shown that happy employees are more productive, have lower levels of stress, and are more likely to stick around at their jobs. Conversely, an unhealthy work environment can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.”

Forbes interviewed Chris Goma and Jalal Ibrahimi, the founders of OSIS, a non-profit technology services organization representing the nation’s largest and most successful network of NextGen Health Centers, to learn more on this topic. Goma states, “A healthy workplace is not a privilege. It’s a right. It’s a fundamental need like food and shelter. When we don’t have access to these things, our health and wellbeing suffer”. Ibrahimi added, “when you have a healthy work environment, you are more likely to be productive, creative, and happy.”


So what makes a workplace healthy? 


A healthy workplace encompasses various aspects that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being among employees. Here are some key components:

  • Physical Safety: Ensuring that the workplace is free from physical hazards, adheres to safety regulations, provides proper equipment, and promotes safe work practices.
  • Mental Health Support: Implementing programs and policies that support mental health, such as access to counseling services, promoting work-life balance, and reducing stigma around mental health issues.
  • Clear Communication: Encouraging open and transparent communication between management and employees, fostering trust and respect, and providing avenues for feedback and discussion.
  • Workload Management: Preventing burnout by ensuring that workloads are reasonable and manageable, providing resources to cope with stress, and promoting realistic expectations.
  • Focus on Workplace Culture: Creating a positive and inclusive work culture that values diversity, promotes teamwork, and encourages collaboration and mutual support among colleagues.
  • Work-Life Balance: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible scheduling, to help employees balance their professional and personal lives.
  • Health Promotion Programs: Providing resources and initiatives that promote physical health, such as wellness programs, fitness activities, healthy food options, and access to healthcare services.
  • Leadership Support: Ensuring that leaders and managers prioritize employee well-being, lead by example, and actively support initiatives aimed at creating a healthy workplace.
  • Career Development Opportunities: Offering opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and personal growth, which can enhance job satisfaction and overall well-being.
  • Recognition and Rewards: Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions, achievements, and efforts, which can boost morale and motivation.
  • Fair Compensation: Multiple factors contribute to determining fair wages and benefits, such as cost of living, inflation prices of essential items (such as groceries) in the area, the type of work being done, years of experience, etc. Fair compensation ensures employees feel supported and valued for their time and work. It also contributes greatly to longevity, and ultimately saves business money from turnover costs. 

All of these factors together contribute to a healthy workplace, and it is critical that companies, organizations, and employers take an investigative look at the work culture that currently exists. Each employee can also view their job through the lens of a healthy workplace, and work to make changes to better reflect the culture they want to work in. 

Chaffee County Public Health strives to be a leader in this area by promoting and supporting a culture that focuses on wellness. Examples include walking meetings, the oversight of a worksite wellness committee, meeting of the minds Monday where the team can connect and share updates, team retreats, social activities outside of work, flexible work schedules, free snacks, check-in meetings, and opportunities for training such as CO-CARES, a state led initiative providing resources to support recovery, as well as develop well-being and resilience at the personal, team, and organizational level. CCPH also initiated the Happiness Project, an effort to promote small acts of happiness within the workplace such as free ice cream deliveries, flowers, and by hosting a free presentation for the Chaffee community from speaker Rob Dubin, who teaches happiness nationally.

It’s important to balance health in all areas of your life, and the workplace is one of them!