Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 9: Small and Medium Sized Enterprises as Healthy Workplaces
Arla Day Over 90 percent of employees believe that their employer should be responsible for creating a healthy working environment; however, almost one third of employees also believe their workplace may inhibit a healthy lifestyle (World Heart Federation, 2010). We have been aware of the consequences of ‘unhealthy’ work on employee well-being for many years: over 20 years ago, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the US reported occupational stress as one of the ten leading causes of workplace death (Sauter et al., 1990), and it has been described as an epidemic (Quick et al., 1997). More recently, NIOSH found that 40 percent of employees in the US rated their jobs as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful (NIOSH, 2006), and 74 percent of employers in the UK indicated that their workers are exposed to stress (Health & Safety Executive, 2006/2007). However, just as developing healthy individuals should involve more than ‘fixing what is wrong’ such that we are ‘building what is right’ (Seligman, 2002, p. 3), developing a healthy work environment should involve more than minimizing problems and stress. That is, healthy work should involve supporting and building employees’ physical and psychological well-being (Turner et al., 2002). But what do we know about healthy workplaces? And, more specifically, given the focus of this book and given the large numbers of employees who work in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), what do we know about the healthy workplace components that would be effective, practical and feasible in SMEs...
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