Workplace Wellbeing: more serious than we first thought

A good starting point for any business looking to know where to begin when it comes to Workplace Wellbeing is probably by asking a simple set of questions: ‘Why, Who, What, When and Where?’

Let’s start with the Why?

The overall trends relating to the health of Australians doesn’t paint a pretty picture, nor do the comparative statistics for manufacturing (highlighted red). Let’s break it down:

  • Smoking 14% (24%);
  • Risky Alcohol Consumption 17.4% (24%);
  • Only 44% of Australians meet the Physical Activity requirements (33%);
  • Overweight and obesity is up around 64% (67%); and
  • Depression and Anxiety can affect up to 3 million Australians yearly (in total).

Who? The sad news about the above statistics is that ‘by association’ workplaces are well and truly ‘implicated’ in the health of their workforce. Every industry is slightly different in terms of its health performance, but with more than 12 million Australians in the workforce at any one time, poor health has an effect on ourselves, our work colleagues, our customers, our families – and ultimately workplace performance.

When? The time for wellbeing change in the workplace is now. If you turn back the clock 20 years, the debates on safety in the workplace were just beginning to gain momentum – a topic that today needs no introduction. We may, however, have a new kid on the block – a sleeping giant of all workplace issues: Wellbeing.

What we know is that the workplace in general can play an incredibly influential role in modelling behaviour and instigating change. This influence is a ‘must’ for any workplace wanting to adequately address health in the workplace. Much more than a ‘tick and flick’ approach is required. If genuine and effective change is to be achieved, consideration must be given to company vision, leadership support, workplace design, genuine worker engagement and wellbeing structure.

What we also know is that the implementation of health and wellbeing programs for businesses can be enormously beneficial. These benefits include, but are not limited to: increased productivity; increased worker engagement and morale; improved corporate image; improved safety performance; decreased musculoskeletal Injuries; and decreased absenteeism.

Where for wellbeing? YOUR workplace obviously – but tune into our webinar on 9 October to hear about some of the successes being achieved in the business world, including one manufacturing worker who lost a staggering 40kg in weight as a result of his workplace’s committed approach to its wellbeing program.

As many businesses work towards unlocking the secret to successful Wellbeing programs, there is one thing we know for sure: a lot more needs to be done and can be done!

Register here for our free live and interactive online event on Tuesday 9 October: Workplace Wellbeing: maximising employee health and productivity

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Peter is the Healthy Worker Adviser for Ai Group, and assists businesses in creating healthy and higher performing workplaces. Peter has most recently managed a wellbeing program targeted at the Manufacturing sector in SA. Peter has also worked in the fields of health, wellbeing and safety for large mine site environments as well as the heavy construction materials industry.

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