A focus on good health and wellbeing has allowed Rowville business Sigma Healthcare to reduce injury and illness in the workplace.
The pharmacy wholesale and distribution business is using the Achievement Program health and wellbeing framework to improve healthy eating and mental health. Its achievements have been recognised by the Victorian Government.
The Achievement Program encourages workplaces to focus on the health areas that are important to the workforce. Sigma found out about its team’s health priorities through a staff survey that identified opportunities to make changes to the onsite café, fridges, catering and vending machines.
Once the health priorities have been identified, the Achievement Program helps workplaces make changes in four areas:
- By creating a culture with supportive leadership, participation and shared decision-making.
- Ensuring healthy choices are available and promoted.
- Providing staff with knowledge and access to health and wellbeing opportunities.
- Working with the wider community to help promote good health.
Sigma’s initiatives include a fruit basket that is filled regularly to give staff access to healthy snacks, offering free online cookbooks to encourage staff to prepare healthy food and forming a partnership with a local fruit and vegetable supplier who provide fresh produce.
Making changes at an on-site café or vending machine
Sigma is working with its on-site café and vending machine provider to introduce healthier food options.
Working with a third party food vendor or vending machine supplier can be one of the most challenging parts of meeting the Achievement Program healthy eating benchmarks.
To receive recognition, workplaces need to ensure that the supplied food complies with the Healthy Choices: Healthy Eating Policy and Catering Guide for Workplaces. The guidelines use a traffic light system. To meet the guidelines, at least 50 per cent of the food provided has to be healthy (rated ‘green’) and no more than 20 per cent can be unhealthy (rated red).
Working closely with a third party vendor is one of the best ways to introduce healthy food choices that are good for employees and business. The Healthy Eating Advisory Service is able to provide an assessment of an existing menu and advice on improving the choices.
Café options can easily be changed from red to green by:
- swapping menu ingredients with healthier options. This could include changing white flour to wholemeal flour or using low-fat dairy products
- offering hot meals with vegetables and salad as a default side dish instead of chips
- displaying water in the fridge rather than soft drink
- replacing snack displays at point of sale registers with healthy options such as unsalted popcorn, unsalted nuts, tuna and crackers, trail mix and rice/corn cakes
- including a healthy eating clause in future contract negotiations.