By Dr Graeme Hodges
Companies across Australia are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of having a structured wellness program in place.
In the past these would typically sit within the responsibility of the OH&S or HR departments, but in the more recent past “wellness” has come to be something that goes beyond the duty of care employer responsibilities such as employee safety, injury prevention and rehabilitation, to encompass an individual’s overall wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional.
The Workplace Health Association of Australia – the peak association of workplace health providers in Australia has found that “preventable health risks are widespread across all occupational sectors with the average employee exhibiting 4 risk factors” – with physical inactivity and stress being the most likely risks.
The Health Profile of Australian Employees (produced in conjunction with the University of Wollongong), examined the workplace health assessments of nearly 30,000 Australian workers and “found that 65% of employees reported moderate to high stress levels, and 41% had psychological distress levels considered to be “at-risk”. Women were at greater likelihood of experiencing high psychological distress than men.”
The report also found that “the majority of the workforce is not performing sufficient exercise to prevent health risks. Half the participants were found to be physically inactive.”
Clearly, an unhealthy population also results in an unhealthy workforce – which in turn results in poor productivity, increased chronic diseases and reduced engagement and resulting happiness. Preventative measures need to be considered and introduced to the workplace, so as to stem the flow of staff turnover, absenteeism, disability and workers’ compensation claims.
According to a 2013 report by Comcare “workplace health and wellbeing programs can significantly improve the health of employees”.
Some of the findings from related research has found that:
- Strong evidence that smoking cessation interventions directed towards individual smokers increase the likelihood smokers will quit.
- Strong evidence that multi-component interventions addressing physical activity and/or nutrition are effective in increasing physical activity levels, promoting healthy eating and preventing obesity.
- Interventions targeting physical activity are effective in preventing musculoskeletal disorders, such as low back pain.
- Measures addressing organisational culture are effective in improving musculoskeletal health.
- Interventions utilising a systems or comprehensive approach are effective in preventing and controlling job stress at an organisational level.
At Wellnation Clinics we are able to tailor complementary health wellness packages to meet the needs of both employees and employers and offer prepaid or user-pays models.
With our professionally supervised student teaching clinics based in most Australian capital cities, you are assured of receiving consistent and affordable natural health care that provides measurable benefits and outcomes for employees and businesses alike.