Key topics | Health management

Why health days are not enough

Running groups, fruit baskets, yoga, back training and health days: you’ve probably heard of them all and even tried some. These measures are part of the workplace health promotion and aim to directly or indirectly influence employee behavior in terms of health. But workplace health management means more. It includes the analysis, control and integration of all company processes with the aim of maintaining and strengthening the health and well-being of employees. This includes anchoring the topic of health in the corporate and management culture, setting up working groups and health service circles, defining responsibilities and allocating budgets. The target group of health management is not only the employees, but all managers and disseminators.

Health management forms the structural basis for sustainable health promotion measures. Health promotion (such as occupational health and safety or integration management) is a sub-discipline and an important component of health management. The way to becoming a "healthy company” can start with either the employee (behavioral prevention) or the organization (structural prevention). Both make sense. However, person-related measures are only successful in the long term if the working conditions (e.g. management, equipment) change at the same time. What benefit does the seminar about conflict management give to the employee if the particular problem lies in the organization of work? How does nutrition counseling help if there are only French fries in the canteen? What’s the point of back training if the chair is not ergonomic? In essence, the aim is to make – and keep – the workplace and its work processes healthy. The rule is: preventing the structures before preventing the behavior!

Organizing a yearly health day creates attention and interest. But one-off events can’t change the health situation at the workplace. Rather than planning many individual actions or events, organize them as embedded elements of a comprehensive system. In doing so, less really can be more.