The Case for WHP

Society and companies are more dependent on well trained, highly qualified and motivated employees nowadays than ever before. At the same time, the potential of the workforce and its ability to develop have become the subject of a new understanding of health, which encompasses both physical and mental well-being, the quality of life and learning. As extensive research has shown, promoting health at the workplace improves the working environment and is beneficial for society, companies and employees alike.

In the course of the network's 4th initiative, ENWHP has collected arguments which justify investments in WHP. This detailed analysis of the Business Case [Report (PDF 0.84 MB)] revealed that there are three main drivers for the WHP business case:

  1. Corporate values which recognize the social and economic relevance of a participatory workplace culture;
  2. Social and demographic trends with significant impact on the labour market as external drivers;
  3. The impacts of workplace health investments along the employee-customer-profit-chain also highlighting the role of workplace health investments for improved business processes.

Companies benefit from Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) because by working in an improved working environment, their employees are more healthy and better motivated. This consequently results in a reduction in sickness-related and other costs, a higher quality of products and services, more innovation and a rise in productivity. Workplace health promotion is also a prestige factor which helps to improve the public image of a company and makes it become more attractive as an employer. 

Also social insurance systems benefit at large, since successes in health and safety at the workplace result in verifiable lower costs for the social security systems (health, pension and accident insurance funds). Healthy working conditions improve the health of the population as a whole. The reduction in people using medical and rehabilitative services leads to savings in public health service expenditure. Companies incur lower costs for supplementary wages for sick employees (e.g. continuation of wage payment during sickness), which reduce non-wage labour costs and the contributions to the statutory health insurance funds.

Health management also helps to reduce the contributions paid into the statutory pension insurance funds. While proposals for prolonging working life are under discussion, in reality the number of employees leaving work earlier for health reasons is increasing. The ageing of the workforce brought about by the demographic change is one of the major challenges facing the future world of work, which WHP can help to master by helping workers to remain employed throughout their working life. This is why ENWHP in its 5th initiative collected and evaluated strategies which enable employees to remain longer in work.

And of course, there are many benefits for the employees themselves. The stress and strain factors affecting them decrease while their well-being and attitude to work improve. In as much as a company is only as healthy and efficient as its employees, workplace health promotion results in a situation where there are only winners and no losers!