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Are you on board with the SWOLE model when it comes to workplace health?

Published by
October 27, 2023
SWOLE models

Based on almost 150 scientific articles, Professor Lars Andersen from NFA has identified five essential factors (SWOLE) that are essential for "workplace health promotion" - here they are.

The five factors in the SWOLE model

SWOLE stands for Society, Workers, Organization, Leaders and Environment.
The model shows that multi-level involvement, commitment and change are necessary to effectively implement workplace health promotion.

Here are some examples of interventions according to the SWOLE model:


National campaigns on health promotion in the workplace
Lars Andersen highlights the "Job & Body Campaign" as an example of a national campaign, which has helped to kick-start elastic training in many workplaces in Denmark.

National political decisions
The best example is probably "No smoking in public places". Of course, this has also spilled over into private workplaces.

Workers (employees)

A better "education" of employees when it comes to healthy eating and exercise.

Support and encouragement from colleagues
If you want to increase the likelihood of succeeding with a healthy lifestyle, it's important to have people around you - not people who make comments like "are you on a diet" or "you've become boring" when you say no to cake, for example. It can also be colleagues who take the lead in relation to health, for example by encouraging and initiating "walk & talk".

Organization (organization)

Health policy
A clear and ambitious health policy backed by the right resources is perhaps the most important element. Companies shouldn't just support health-promoting initiatives from their employees. They need to lead the way. Everyone (HR, top management, AM, etc.) needs to be involved and collaborate if you want to succeed in the big picture.

Leader (leader)

The line manager
The line manager is the link between employees and the company when it comes to implementing company policies. They have their finger on the pulse of what's happening and what's working in the departments. In addition, the manager is also a role model, meaning that if they take the lead on health, the impact will be greater.

Environment (environment, surroundings, layout)

Controlling your environment
There's a famous saying: "If you don't control your environment, it will control you". The environment affects us more than we realize, and as a business, you need to take advantage of this if you want to increase the likelihood of success.

This applies to everything from workout facilities to cake in the department. For example, you don't have to ban cake, but you might not want to put it right in the middle of the department and instead place it where you can't see it - and preferably have to walk a few steps to get to it.

By Henrik Duer, Exercise Physiologist - visit my website here.

Thanks to Lars L. Andersen, Professor of Healthy Working Life at the National Research Center for the Working Environment(NFA).

Henrik Duer