Healthy Workplaces

Creating healthier workplaces

Healthy work, healthy life

Australians spend about one-third of their lives at work.

This means where we work, the type of work we do, and the conditions of our work environment all have the potential to affect our health and wellbeing.

Given the amount of time we spend at our jobs, workplaces are an ideal setting to support health and wellbeing. By providing access to health-promoting services, programs and information, organisations can empower and enable people to prioritise their health and wellbeing.

Creating healthier workplaces can protect people from injury and illness and improve health and wellbeing outcomes. For organisations this means greater engagement, improved morale, and increased productivity.

A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and the sustainability of the workplace.

- World Health Organisation, 2010

Building a healthy work environment

Healthy and safe work environments can transform the workplace to benefit health and wellbeing, as well as productivity.

Whether you work in an office, outdoors, in transit, or from home, there are a range of initiatives which can be implemented to support health and wellbeing at work, including:

  • providing access to fresh drinking water and supplying water bottles or water coolers for people who work in mobile or outdoor jobs
  • ensuring onsite food outlets, vending machines and catering offer healthy food and drink options
  • providing end-of-trip facilities and secure storage areas to enable active travel
  • providing, loaning or subsidising equipment which supports safe, active work, like sit-to-stand desks or fitness wearables
  • creating work environments which promote movement throughout the day
  • encouraging employees to participate in health and wellbeing programs or initiatives.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland supports a range of programs which empower Queenslanders to live healthier lives by increasing capability, opportunity and motivation. These programs include:

My Health for Life

A healthy lifestyle program supporting employees to live well and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

10,000 Steps

A physical activity program that encourages employees to be active every day through the monitoring of steps using activity trackers.

How we are creating a healthier workplace

Healthy, happy employees are Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s most valuable asset – so supporting our people to be and stay well is vital. As a small organisation, we must implement and evaluate simple actions that don’t cost a lot of money. We are doing this so those initiatives that make a difference will form part of our workplace wellbeing toolbox for others to adapt or implement.

We have an obligation to protect and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, with the by-product being improved productivity and performance – and that’s a triple bottom line win.

Healthy Environment

  • End-of-trip facilities
  • Full kitchen amenities
  • Healthy food and drink options
  • Sit-to-stand desks

Healthy Organisation

  • Flexible and hybrid working arrangements
  • Sanctioned meeting-free time
  • Strategies to create joy in the workplace, like a dog-friendly workplace trial
  • Acknowledging awareness days important to the organisation and its people
  • Access to an Employee Assistance Program

Healthy People

  • Team challenges and events
  • Workplace champions
  • Celebrating achievements and milestones

Our top tips for boosting health and wellbeing

For more ideas and inspiration on how to support health and wellbeing in your organisation, check out Work health and wellbeing interventions tool.

Improving workplace health, safety and wellbeing

In every work environment there are hazards which can impact our health and wellbeing. Some risks can be obvious, like physical hazards which cause trips and slips. Other hazards may be harder to see, such as poorly designed tasks and workspaces, excessive workloads, or a poor workplace culture.

There are many ways that organisations can improve their work practices to support health and wellbeing, including embedding policies, procedures and processes that encourage and enable a healthy workplace culture.

An important part of creating a healthier workplace is empowering everyone to be involved in creating workplace practices which support people’s health, safety and wellbeing.

To identify gaps and opportunities to improve workplace health and wellbeing in your organisation, try these tools from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland:

Healthy workplaces not only remove and prevent harmful conditions which cause injury and illness, they also actively create environments which promote, support and improve health and wellbeing. Prioritising strategies which improve the work environment and the way work is designed will have the biggest impact in creating a healthier workplace. Taking the time to understand what people want and need from their workplace, and what barriers and challenges they face, will help to ensure that health and wellbeing initiatives are hitting the mark.

To start creating a healthier workplace, check out Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Work health and wellbeing toolkit which provides a practical guide to developing a successful healthy workplace program.

Tools and resources

Related Tips

Last updated 24 May 2023