Sun Life-sponsored National Wellness Survey shows Canadian organizations investing in worksite wellness

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Despite economic downturn, survey confirms employee health a priority. October 5 to November 1, 2009 is Healthy Workplace Month in Canada.

The 2009 National Wellness Survey conducted by Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc., and co-sponsored by Sun Life Financial, reveals that Canadian organizations understand wellness initiatives to be a good investment, and are making their employee’s health a priority.

According to the Survey results, work-related stress, mental health issues, and high blood pressure are the top three health risks affecting participating organizations. In 2006, the top three major health risks were work-related stress, stress outside the workplace, and smoking. The top three major health risks identified underscore the prevalence of stress and mental health issues in organizations, all of which can have a significant impact on productivity, employee engagement, and health-related costs. 

“Wellness programs are even more important during difficult economic times like the one Canada is currently experiencing,” says Ed Buffett, President & CEO of Buffett & Company.  “Research indicates that even employees who keep their jobs are under increased stress, which has a significant impact on their health and the health of the organization.”

Although an increasing number of Canadian organizations are offering wellness initiatives, the majority are not implementing wellness initiatives that target the greatest health risks among their employee population. While any wellness initiative offering is a good start, only organizations that take a strategic approach will experience the benefits of worksite wellness programming — an increase in employee health and morale and a decrease in absenteeism and presenteeism.

Speaking on behalf of Sun Life at yesterday’s launch event, Doug Smeall, Assistant Vice-President, Health Management Services, noted that, “Leaders need to create the environment where healthy work habits are not just OK – they are encouraged and rewarded.  Often, employers spend more time focusing employees on managing their careers and their finances than on looking after their health. As a result, that’s also where employees focus. Health management needs to become part of performance management discussions.”

Sun Life’s HealthyRETURNS provides a full range of worksite wellness programming, including health risk assessments, health promotion and disease management programs, as well as attendance support.

The National Wellness Survey is being released in conjunction with Canada’s Healthy Workplace month (October 5 to November 1, 2009) which is a celebration of workplace health in Canadian organizations. 

Questions?

If you would like more information on HealthyRETURNS, please call your advisor.