Corporate Wellness Programs
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Corporate Wellness Programs

Linking Employee and Organizational Health

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen

Corporate Wellness Programs offers contributions from international experts, examining the planning, implementation and evaluation of wellness initiatives in organizations, and offering guidance on how to introduce these programs into the workplace. Previous research evidence surrounding corporate wellness programs is reviewed, to illustrate reduced health care costs, higher levels of employee well-being, greater work engagement, higher levels of performance, and financial gains on well-being investment costs. In this innovative book, various chapters examine the planning, implementation and evaluation of corporate wellness initiatives with guidance on how to introduce these programs in one’s workplace. In addition, organizational case studies highlight best practices and lessons to be learned from them.
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Chapter 2: Changing environmental conditions impacting health – a focus on organizations

Gerjo Kok, Fred R.H. Zijlstra and Robert A.C. Ruiter


Environmental factors impact heavily on individual well-being. A clear example of environmental influences on health is the relation between social economic status and health, which also constitutes a challenge when it comes to changing these influences to promote health. Indeed, the ecological approach to health education and health promotion (Green and Kreuter, 2005) views health, which is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease (WHO, 1948, p. 100), not only as a function of individuals but also of the environments in which individuals are embedded, including family, social networks, organizations, community, and public policies. A focus on mental and physical well-being only at the level of the individual is therefore not sufficient; individuals live and act in social and physical environments. These environments can influence decision-making processes with regard to personal well-being, as evidenced, for example, in the role of social influence processes in making lifestyle choices. These environments can also contain direct threats to individual health, which becomes clear in epidemiological analyses of exposure to physical dangers in relation to safety and health issues, but also in psychological studies that assess the impact of work-related factors on stress and burnout, and the extent to which people have access to effective coping mechanisms. At the same time, social and physical environments can be targeted to promote individual health, which is the focus of the present chapter.

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