Did you know the average Australian spends about a third of their life at work, often slouched behind a desk. All this sitting can be just as bad for business as for our health – unless you are in the pharmaceutical industry that is! Recent studies have shown that our sedentary lifestyles are leading to physical and mental problems such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and depression. Since chronic diseases like these result in more sick days, loss of productivity and staff, a healthy workplace program might be just what your business needs!
1) An unhealthy workforce costs $$$
Did you know that unhealthy workers have up to nine times the number of sick days compared to their healthy co-workers? Translated into dollars, this costs the average Australian business around $3,608 per worker a year – that’s $3,608 that should be going back into the business or straight into your pocket. By encouraging employees to look after their own health and diminish the risk factors leading to chronic disease, you can decrease the number of sick days taken, the costs of sick pay and insurance payouts, and keep that money in your own pocket.
2) Healthier employees are more productive employees
Several recent studies have shown healthy workers can be as much as three times more effective than their tired, sick and unhappy coworkers. Presenteeism – where a worker is present but unproductive, is estimated to cost the Australian economy about $34 billion a year. Healthy workplace programs have been shown to increase energy levels and concentration, increasing productivity and enthusiasm amongst the workforce.
3) Healthier employees are happier employees
Better interaction and livelier discussions also enhance our health and creative thinking. The good news is that small sustainable daily or weekly goals are best for long term results. Healthy workplace programs have been shown to increase the mental wellbeing of employees and increase engagement in the workplace. More engaged and satisfied workers are less likely to up and leave you with no notice!
4) Care for your employees and they will care for you
Encouraging a healthy workforce can decrease staff turnover and increase the retention of quality staff members. Businesses that have implemented healthy workplace programs have been shown to be more attractive to potential employees. Your staff’s increased engagement and decreased levels of chronic disease may mean they stay in the workforce and with you longer, saving you the trouble of replacing them. Employees are also more likely to recommend you as an employer of choice, ultimately enhancing your corporate image.
5) It doesn’t cost the earth and can make you $$$
For every dollar invested in workplace health and wellbeing programs there can be a return of between three and six dollars so it really does make good business sense. There are also a number of free healthy workplace programs. If you are a Tasmanian resident you can sign up for the Healthy Tasmanian Workplace program for free which is being run by Ritualize. Other state governments also have free online resources – you can start at the government’s healthy workers site to get the ball rolling!
By Sian Powderly & Michael Burnett, Accru Hobart.