The health of the Australian employee population is in decline, which has caused employers to become more structured in their approach to work health. Chronic diseases, which include arthritis, musculoskeletal disease, depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension, make up more than 70% of Australia’s overall disease burden. Additionally, increased obesity as a result of poor dietary decisions and a lack of daily physical activities are also contributing to the reduced effectiveness of our workforce.
Chronic disease, which is considered to be largely preventable, is identified as the prime cause of lost work time and often leads to disability and early retirement.
The importance of preventive health measures, particularly in relation to modifiable lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease, has been recognised, and interventions designed to address these have been developed.
The workplace is an important setting for the delivery of these interventions. The nature of work can make a contribution to personal health outcomes – whether work activities are largely sedentary or promote a degree of physical activity, whether working hours allow sufficient time for relaxation and recreation, and whether workplace practices support employees to be physically and mentally safe and well.
Work-related stress is becoming increasingly problematic in Australia, as there are few corporate health programs that focus on mental and psychological wellbeing and as a result there has been an increase in mental stress claims over the years. Therefore, corporate wellness programs that address this issue will help minimise overall work-related stress and as a result decrease absenteeism.
The major benefits for implementing a Health and Wellbeing Program to focus on employee wellness include:
- Improved staff morale, satisfaction and engagement
- Improved work performance and productivity and therefore business performance.
- Reputation as an organisation with a Healthy Culture.
- Improved corporate image for both recruitment and retention of staff.
- Become an employer of choice.
- Reduced absenteeism, workplace Injury and sick leave.
- Decreased incidence of presenteeism.
- Decreased frequency and cost of workers’ compensation.