Coming out of winter, are you reflecting on time, opportunities, sales and productivity lost due to absenteeism? Are you still chasing your tail trying to cover for staff who just don’t seem to be as engaged and productive as you expect of them?
Well the bottom line is, if you want a healthy, thriving business consider the health of your staff.
Since when did the health of your staff become your concern? Since respected studies both in Australia and overseas, reveal the eye-opening effect it has on the health of your business.
Before you start rolling your eyes thinking this is just another fad business growth idea conjured up by so called ‘business advisors’, be smarter, open your eyes to reality and consider the information on offer.
Workplace Health is Good Business
Health is no longer a personal issue it’s a business issue and can be a big issue. Lost and decreasing productivity, cost of sick leave and even losing well trained and experienced staff due to poor health are costing businesses big time.
How much did absenteeism cost your business this year?
This is such an issue of concern, that the NSW Government has established an initiative to assist especially SMEs to improve workplace health. On their ‘Get Healthy at Work’ website, they cite results from research which reveal ‘SMEs with a healthy workforce are $100,000 better off over a five year period than businesses with unhealthy staff’ 1
In another survey of small businesses2 ‘businesses classified as experiencing ‘high rates of absenteeism’ cost around $50,000 more to run over five years, when compared to businesses who experience ‘low rates of absenteeism’.
Bernadette Bisseling, founder of The Food You Eat, is one of the growing number of professionals in this field, who are offering practical advice and programs for businesses to implement an employee wellness and workplace health program.
“Many businesses realise that employee wellness manifest as reduced energy levels is a key contributing factor to reduced productivity and lost earnings but feel powerless to fully address the issue with a practical, accessible approach,” Bernadette said.
Bernadette quotes recent Harvard Medical School analysis results, which indicate a return on investment of $3.27 for every $1.00 spent on workplace wellness.3
“60% – 85% of the world lead sedentary lifestyles, we spend over a third of our lives at work and it is widely accepted that workplaces are a key contributor to obesity and chronic disease,” Bernadette said. “So it is only logical that businesses address workplace health and employee wellness as good business practice.”
“I challenge businesses to take a critical observation of their workplace and how their employees are performing over the entire work day. With that image in mind, close your eyes and imagine a refreshed, inspired, productive workforce with sustained energy, heightened wellness and the ability and initiative to engage and contribute,” Bernadette said. “This imagined scenario can be reality.”
Another motivating factor for business is the study results recently published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which reveal that Australia has an alarming rate of obesity – not a world title any of us really want.
Looking closer to home, with the layout and design of the Macarthur region, large distances between home and work and growing traffic, all of us are spending even more time in the sedentary state of travelling to work each day. With getting exercise by walking to work not usually an option.
Getting Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
So healthy employees can save you money and increase productivity, so how can you easily and affordably address the issue of workplace health and wellness?
This is an issue which goes beyond the usual WH&S policies and practices but can also be incorporated into your HR policy and as a part of your corporate mission statement to foster a culture of wellness throughout your business.
Workplace and employee health and wellbeing programs can be implemented in a number of ways with a range of resources available to businesses.
The NSW Government Initiative is easily accessed at www.gethealthyatwork.com.au and is promoted as a comprehensive shop for everything that businesses need to improve workplace health. One of the great aspects of this site is that it truly caters for SMEs with resources for sole traders, micro businesses with 1-4 employees and small businesses with over 5 staff.
The site includes case studies, the latest statistics, a health savings calculator and tools to get started. You do need to register with your ABN to get access to the resources but it is a free so may be worth considering.
Bernadette Bisseling of The Food You Eat, has developed her ‘Focus You’ program based on the belief that in order to thrive in life, we must acknowledge, embrace and accept the power of land and food.
“Human performance drives business performance, energy drives human performance and the food you eat drives energy. Our objective is to optimise the body’s natural intelligence to significantly improve performance,” Bernadette explained.
Bernadette customises Focus You programs to suit the individual requirements of each business to provide a practical, easily implemented, accessible and highly workable employee enrichment program.
The Focus You program is implemented in a small group environment, in weekly or monthly sessions over an optimum annual period to allow for measurable results and outcomes to be achieved and uses nutritional building blocks to significantly increase employee performance and productivity.
Topics include Understanding of the role of Body Cells, How the Body Functions, Assessing Your Own Energy Level and appreciating that Everything is Energy, How to energise the body and soul naturally, without the need for artificial stimulants such as sugar or coffee and nutritional building blocks to assist employees in the process of complex problem-solving and enabling with the capability for quick adaptability.
Getting Started NOW
If you’re not quite ready to embark on a formal program there are positive steps you can make today to get started on improving productivity through employee health.
Here’s a few ideas:-
• Encourage staff to get active by promoting lunch time group walks, have walking meetings, offer gym memberships as staff incentives in place of other treats.
• Replace those biscuits in the lunch room with a selection of interesting seasonal fruits and other healthy options.
• Provide ‘end of journey’ facilities – shower and change room, to encourage and support those who can cycle or walk to work and/or exercise throughout the day. And make sure these facilities are kept clean and inviting.
• Provide plenty of drinking water stations throughout the workplace and don’t provide complimentary sugary drinks.
• Ensure the workplace is kept clean, with regular steam cleaning of carpets and maintenance of air conditioning systems.
• Provide hand sanitiser dispensers throughout the workplace to promote clean hands policy and assist with the prevention of spreading illness.
• The Christmas season is approaching so consider the work party menu options carefully – go for the healthier alternatives and ditch the party pies!
Get wise to getting your employees healthy and reap the rewards of getting your business wealthy!