Work and working life has a major impact on people's health and wellbeing and is recognized by the WHO as "one of the highest priorities for health promotion into the 21st century." What happens at work affects the physical, mental, economic and social welfare of workers and thus their families and communities. Workplaces are an important arena to promote public health and a prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development. Interest in workplace health promotion has increased as more and more private and public organizations recognize that the future success in a globalized market can only be achieved with healthy, qualified and motivated workforce.
Traditionally, research in occupational health had a focus on risk factors and their negative health effects. However, to minimize or eliminate the causes of ill health does not in itself provide good health and optimal function among employees.
In example, in the health care sector a healthy work environment (HWE) can improve patient outcomes and turnover, creating cultures of retention and fostering healthy work environments are major challenges facing health care leaders today.
Problems in the work environment are associated with retention issues and medical errors. The “ingredients” for HWE are administration/leadership, professional practice, and professional development. Effective leaders in health care institutions who produce high retention save their hospitals for big costs in recruitment and replacement costs. Embedded in HWE is setting the standard of practice and tone of the environment. Support for the health care leaders in fostering HWE that contribute to patient safety is a leading strategic initiative of nursing organizations.
NTNU Center for Health Promotion Research carries out several projects by students and researchers that contribute to knowledge about how health can be promoted in the workplace. The research portfolio ranges from positive resources in the workplace such as job satisfaction, motivation and commitment, to the implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions.