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BUSINESS TEAM
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The wealth of companies depends on the health of its workers.

The world of work continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and only companies that can read and interpret the needs of humanity will be able to adapt and survive. This topic, addressed by the Máshuman Foundation (“More Human Foundation”) during its annual conference, titled “Horizon 2020: More Human Organizations that Create Value,” will be one of the most fascinating subjects of the coming years.

It’s important to look at some data regarding workers’ stress level and its consequences in order for us to understand the implications for people’s quality of life. The economic impact on society and on companies will also become quite clear:

– 60 percent of work days lost are due to work-related stress and psychosocial risks.

– The main causes of stress: job insecurity (72 percent), workload (66 percent), and workplace harassment (59 percent).

– One of every six workers will suffer mental health problems due to stress at some point during his career.

– 59 percent of workers in Spain suffer from work-related stress.

– In France, the cost of work-related stress was estimated at between 2 and 3 billion euros in 2007.

– In the United Kingdom, 9.8 million work days were lost due to stress in the workplace, and the resulting average workdays lost was 22.6 days per worker during 2009-2010.

As explained by Dr. María Neira, director of the Public Health and Environment Department of the World Health Organization: “The wealth of companies depends on the health of their workers.”

What is a humane and healthy company?

A healthy company is one that allows each of its employees to give the best of himself in every way, helping him to perform and grow professionally, as well as personally and as a family member; this includes health and personal care. A healthy company sees and treats its employees as complete persons, and it is concerned not just for their physical well-being, but also for their emotional health.

“In order to create healthy workspaces and environments, it is fundamental to emphasize positive, humane leadership, putting people at the center of the organization.” (Stephanie Zweifel, Director of the Department for Companies of the Máshumano Foundation)

What is the unique contribution of the concept of a “Healthy Company”?

The question of health and well-being in a company is coming to the fore, since it contributes to sustainable aging. This begins with prevention, working to favor health and healthy habits. The bigger companies are, and the more jobs they create, the more they are able to have an impact. In the countries where they operate, they can assume part of the responsibility for favoring healthy habits, and taking care of the physical and emotional health of their workers and of their environment.

Promoting health in the workplace has become a fundamental strategy for increasing productivity and obtaining a competitive advantage.

The main benefits derived from implementing health programs for employees are:

– Reduction of work days lost due to sickness or absenteeism

– Increased commitment of employees to their work

– Increased productivity at work due to pride in belonging to the company, and to greater worker happiness

– The attraction and retention of better talent

– The advancement of socially responsible brands and their employees

Workers’ Health: Global Plan of Action (World Health Organization)

In 2007, the Global Health Assembly gave its support to a new worldwide plan of action for workers’ health. The European Commission, in turn, put into action an initiative to establish a European Network for Workplace Health Promotion, and drew up the Luxembourg Declaration. Companies that sign on to this declaration commit themselves to accept and implement the basic objectives of promoting health in the workplace and of orienting their strategies in line with the relevant principles.

Consequently, the concept of “Healthy and Human Companies” is gaining momentum in the business world. There is noticeably greater commitment with people and with society in general. The view of workplace health is broadening, tending towards a more integral understanding of the concept as including not only the physical environment of workers, but also the psychosocial and emotional environment, and people’s healthy habits in both their professional and personal lives.

To conclude, health programs should be included in companies’ strategic plan, and should be supported and promoted by corporate leadership. These programs must go beyond the limits of risk prevention and human resources departments. People’s well-being must be cross-cutting in an organization. It must be strategically planned with an integral understanding of the human person in its physical and emotional aspects, in the context of work as well as of personal life, family life, and social life. In this area, businesses have an opportunity to offer society a benefit that goes beyond their specific contribution proper to their market (the goods and services they offer) and beyond what is required of them by merely complying with current legislation.

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