The Healthy Workplace initiative is an important part of driving the Healthy Ireland agenda. As there are over 2 million people employed in Ireland, the workplace can make an important contribution to healthier communities.
Workplaces directly influence the physical, mental, economic and social wellbeing of workers and in turn, the health of their families, communities and society. It therefore offers an ideal setting and infrastructure to support the promotion of health to a large audience. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), workplace health programmes are one of the best ways to prevent and control chronic disease, and also to support mental health.
The development of a Healthy Workplace Framework across both public and private sectors will encourage and support the development of Health and Wellbeing programmes in all places of employment. This will be further strengthened in the public sector by legislation to require all public sector employers to have and report on a health and wellbeing policy. The framework will enable us to recognise and enhance existing initiatives, to facilitate the sharing of experience and learning, and also provide the necessary supports and tools for organisations or companies who haven’t yet developed their own resources.
Work on progressing the Healthy Workplace Framework and the legislation has commenced and has involved collaboration and consultation with a number of Government Departments, agencies and private sector companies and organisations.
The consultation on the development of this Framework was officially opened on 28 March 2017 by then Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD and then Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD. The consultation process had two strands. Interested parties were invited to submit their views through an online consultation questionnaire, with a Consultation Briefing Document also provided as support.
The consultation closed on 31 May 2017. A number of consultation workshops were also held to supplement the findings from the online consultation questionnaire.
A consultation report is currently in development to reflect the views expressed in the consultation process. The consultation report will make recommendations for consideration by the Steering Committee in terms of the final content of the Framework. The consultation report will be published alongside the final Framework.
The Minister for Health Promotion, Ms Catherine Byrne TD, launched the new Healthy Meeting Guidelines at the second Annual Healthy Ireland Network event in Dublin Castle on 9th May 2018.
Meetings are a regular part of many people’s working lives and often involve sitting for a long time with few opportunities to be active. If you organise meetings, these guidelines can help you prepare for meetings. The guidelines offer practical suggestions for healthy food options and for including opportunities for physical activity.
Activity breaks and healthy food options in meetings can increase productivity and creativity because they improve how well people take part and how long they can pay attention.
* Acknowledgement to Ashling Jennings, whose research, as part of her MA in Health Promotion in NUI Galway, contributed to the development of these Healthy Meeting Guidelines. As part of Ashling’s Masters, she undertook her placement with Healthy Ireland – Healthy Cities and Counties, where the concept originated.
Where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone's responsibility.
© Department of Health