Tool measures workplace health program efficiency

The Sudbury and District Health Unit says happy employees are cost-effective.

Knowing the cost of certain programs can help an employer decide where to invest

Does offering yoga in the workplace help an organization's bottom line? A software tool designed to calculate the costs and benefits of workplace health and safety initiatives can provide the answer, says a scientist at the Institute for Work and Health.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit says happy employees are cost-effective.

Human resources manager Troy Hazlehurst-Walker says perks like a quiet room, exercise bikes, on-site yoga and showers — as well as a compressed work week — can help an organization’s bottom line.

“There aren't any additional costs associated with it,” she said. “It's something that gives balance to the individual and the work still gets done.”

However, knowing the cost of certain programs can help an employer decide where to invest.

A scientist at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto has designed a software tool to weigh the costs and consequences of occupational health in dollar terms.

“There's a lot of studies out there that look at their effectiveness but very few that look at their cost-effectiveness,” Emil Tompa said.

Tompa said the tool can help employers make sound investment decisions in occupation health.

“It's designed to put in the costs and consequences in monetary terms to identify which programs have a better, final bottom line.”

As for the health unit, Hazlehurst-Walker said her measuring stick is retention rates and sick days — and they are well below average at the health unit.

You can find that FREE tool at http://www.iwh.on.ca/smart-planner​

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