He huffed and he puffed and he…took less sick days?

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Accumulate’s HR Coordinator and ‘white line fever’ sufferer Lizzy Taylor shares her thoughts on the commercial and cultural benefits of a structured corporate health and wellbeing program.

A wise woman once said, “Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands…they just don’t!” This was of course Elle Woods played by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Here at Accumulate we couldn’t agree more. Not only are healthy, active employees less likely to sit at home and watch chick flicks on their days off, but they are also more productive and take less sick leave days.

You want the truth? You can handle the truth!
• Employees with poor overall health take up to 9 times more sick leave than their healthy colleagues. Healthy employees are nearly 3 times more productive than employees with poor health.
• A survey conducted by Medibank Private shows 10% of Australian workers surveyed are inactive, 40% engage in minimal exercise and 12% do less than one hour per week.
• A 2009 survey of 13,908 Australian workers reported half those who believed they were in excellent health were at high risk.
• The financial cost of poor health and wellbeing in Australia is estimated at over A$7 billion per annum.

This is why Accumulate has implemented a company-wide Health and Wellbeing program. To date, this program has included flu shots, on-site massages, weekly Pilates classes, beach volleyball, health checks, the 10,000 Steps pedometer challenge, subsidised fun runs, weekly fruit deliveries and corporate mixed netball. Our team, the Frequent Flyers, take it very seriously led by the expertise of Coach Yours Truly, (we won the Grand Final against Allianz Eagles – what of it?!).

No, not every one in our company now looks like Michelle Bridges and Arnold Schwarzenegger because of this program. And no, not everyone gets involved in every activity. But yes, we offer activities to every one no matter their fitness levels and yes we have a whole lot of puffed out, sweaty, red faced fun.

Health and Wellbeing programs can have a great impact on your company socially as well. When simultaneously squealing in pain during one of our gruelling Pilates session that tortures each individual muscle in the body, special bonds are formed and facilitated.

Want to start small? Encourage employees to get fit by subsidising a membership to a nearby gym.

Want to start big? At the start of the year, pull together a Health and Wellbeing calendar that has an activity running at least once every month. Your employees will feel like there is always something happening that they can get involved in, and that a genuine effort is being made to improve their health. Activities that run over several weeks like pedometer challenges and weekly Pilates classes encourage people into a routine and running them back to back ensures there’s always an activity on the go. Replace Friday night drinks with a one off volleyball session for another fun way to impact your company socially and culturally. Or better yet, enter a team in a lunch time mixed netball competition.

But beware the ferocious and fearless Frequent Flyers.

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Sources: A Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, ACT Occupational Health and Safety Commission,, A Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, ACT Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Australian Financial Review, A Guide to Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, ACT Occupational Health and Safety Commission