of members from different employers or from the same employer but with different terms of employment. They also create and dissolve work groups and employment around specific projects and employ global work teams using technology to perform work in “virtual” environments of electronic team rooms and web-hosted meetings. Within the workforce itself, there is greater uncertainty about employment, as evinced by people having many more employers over their working careers, being required to become continuous learners to enhance or expand their skills, and experiencing the movement of work and jobs to other countries (IOM, 2003a).
These changes within the workforce and at the workplace create greater psychological demands on workers as well as demands for higher levels of productivity. To succeed in a work environment of rapid change requires workers to be mentally and physically prepared, adaptable, and resilient—in a word, healthy.
A “healthy worker” can be characterized as one who is physically fit and demonstrates positive health-related behaviors such as not using tobacco, alcohol to excess, or illicit drugs, maintaining body weight in the ideal range, regularly performing appropriate levels of physical activity, and complying with recommended preventive health practices; who has psychological skills that enable success in work environments of high demand, collaborative work, and short cycle times; and who works within a safe and healthy work environment. An integrated occupational health and safety program can help improve worker health through worksite strategies aimed at strengthening psychological skills, changing health behaviors, and reinforcing social norms supportive of these health goals (Sorensen and Barbeau, 2004).
Integrated worksite health and safety programs have both individual and organizational applications that can be developed to promote personal and organizational health-related productivity. A “healthy workforce” is characterized by four key attributes, consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health, that can be analyzed and improved to promote personal and organizational “well-being.” Specifically, for both individuals and organizations to achieve optimal performance, they must be
healthy—demonstrating optimal health status as defined by positive health behaviors; minimal modifiable risk factors; and minimal preventable illnesses, diseases, and injuries;
productive—functioning to produce the maximum contribution to achievement of personal goals and the organizational mission;
ready—possessing an ability to respond to changing demands given the increasing pace and unpredictable nature of work; and