The World Health Organization states that 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 well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following:

  • Physical work environment,
  • Psychosocial work environment,
  • Personal health resources in the workplace, and
  • Participation of the wider community.

Under the auspices of Healthy Ireland, the Department of Health and the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation are leading on the development of a National Healthy Workplace Framework for public and private organisations in Ireland. This is in response to the growing evidence that workplaces have a key role in promoting health and wellbeing among employees which is critical for the welfare of workers, levels of productivity and economic growth.

A consultation report, literature review and a review of tools and resources to support implementation have been completed. The Post Graduate Workplace Wellness Course is now in its second year in NUIG and a report to inform the development of an awards programme for healthy workplaces was completed in 2018. There are many learnings from the process to date and we will reflect on the evidence available from the research to identify the prerequisites for successful implementation in the workplace.

By Biddy O'Neill

Biddy O'Neill, Department of Health

Biddy is National Project Lead in the Health and Wellbeing Programme Department of Health. She is leading on the development of the National Healthy Workplace Framework in partnership with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation under the auspices of Healthy Ireland.Biddy has worked in Health Promotion for over twenty years at both strategic and operational levels within the Health Service and the Department of Health. She has extensive experience in partnership working, policy and programme development and implementation. She is a keen advocate for personal development including reflective practice and believes that facilitative leadership is key to changing workplace culture to promote health and wellbeing.She was appointed as an Assistant National Director in the Health and Wellbeing Division Health Service Executive in 2013 and seconded to the Department of Health in 2015. She has a background in Nursing and Addiction Counselling and holds a Higher Diploma in Adult Education and MA in Health Promotion

Biddy O'Neill will speak at PAI's upcoming Breakfast Briefing: Your Workplace Environment - A Sustainable Approach to Corporate Wellbeing on 27 March.

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