How Incorporating Wellness Activities Boosts Staff Productivity

Qantas Assure, a health insurance and wellness company, takes a dive into the benefits of incorporating wellness activities within a workplace and the positive impact this can have on staff performance.

 

Stress and poor health and wellbeing cost the Australian economy billions every year. Introducing wellness activities at your workplace can turn this around, improving employee motivation and productivity.

Wellness programs have proven successful at cutting down on sick days, stress and fatigue across all industries.

Initiatives such as office gyms or workout sessions, free breakfasts and health insurance to help sick employees get back to work faster are well worth the investment if they make your staff more productive and boost your bottom line.

 

What does poor health and wellbeing cost your business?

If your workers are prone to getting sick, or they often feel tired or stressed at work, this affects their ability to do their jobs.

Absenteeism is steadily on the rise in Australia. The average employee takes 9.5 ‘sickies’ a year, compared to 9.1 days in the UK and Canada, 4.9 in the US and just 4.5 days in New Zealand (PwC). This costs the Australian economy a total of 92 million lost work days and $33 billion per year.

Not taking time off can sometimes be worse. If a sick employee struggles through the working day, their own productivity will suffer, their recovery period can lengthen and they might pass on their sickness to other workers. This type of ‘presenteeism’ costs the economy more than $34 billion a year, according to a recent report from Pathology Awareness Australia (PAA).

With Australia’s workforce ageing in many industries, employees are also becoming more prone to chronic disease, disability and work accidents. A simulation by the BMJ predicts that Australians aged 45 to 64 will cost the economy $20.5 billion in lost productivity by 2030, a 62.7% increase compared to losses in 2015.

And don’t forget about stress. The latest findings from Safe Work Australia reveal that stress and fatigue cost Australian businesses more than $10 billion a year, with work and money worries being among the biggest contributing factors.

Introducing health and wellness activities at your workplace can tackle all of these problems, helping your staff to feel better both mentally and physically as well as preventing serious health problems.

 

How can wellness activities help?

Healthy body, healthy mind. Promoting exercise and healthy eating at your workplace can reduce lost work hours, improve concentration and create an overall more positive environment.

You can’t control what your staff get up to outside of work hours, but by encouraging healthy habits and showing people how to better look after themselves, you can sometimes make sweeping changes through their whole life. Even by showing your staff that you care about their health and wellbeing, you’re helping them to feel valued. Talking to your employees before you introduce a wellness program will make sure they understand how it benefits them and could give you ideas for the types of activities to include.

 

What does a wellness program involve?

Your wellness program should be tailored to suit the needs of your employees and your business, but here are some tried and tested ideas to consider:

Set up a fitness centre – Do you have a meeting room going spare? Turn it into a makeshift gym for early morning exercise, complete with a few fitness machines if you can afford it.

Offer gym discounts – If you’re lucky enough to have a gym nearby, they should be happy to offer a discounted rate if you encourage your staff to sign up.

Take a morning class – If you or someone on your team has what it takes to be a fitness instructor, lead your colleagues in a morning walk, stretching session, even a Zumba class.

Provide free breakfasts – Do you want your staff to eat something healthy in the morning? Make sure they do by providing healthy cereal, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt.

Install a water cooler – Don’t forget to provide cool water throughout the day to make sure everyone is well hydrated.

Hire a chef – If your workplace has a functioning kitchen, bring in a professional chef to teach your staff some simple, healthy recipes they can prepare at work or at home.

Hire a nutritionist – Are your employees getting the nutrition they need? Call in a health expert to give a talk to your team or one-on-one healthy eating tutorials.

Offer health checks – Arranging routine health checks at your office means your staff will stay on top of their health without having to take time off to do it. Health checks only take a few minutes, and you’ll usually get the results on the same day.

Offer flu shots – If there’s a nasty bug going around, don’t wait for your team to find time in their schedules for a flu jab. When it comes to sickness, prevention is always better than cure.

Offer massages – Whether it’s soothing aching joints or creating feelings of contentment, on-site massage therapy works wonders for physical and mental wellbeing.

Encourage meditation – It’s not for everyone, but spending your break in a state of calm can eliminate stress and anxiety and improve mindfulness throughout the work day.

Flexible work conditions – Help your employees find their ideal work/life balance by giving them the freedom to organise their schedules. In return, you’ll have a happier, more productive team.

Flexible annual leave – A number of Australian companies now offer unlimited annual leave to their staff. By putting trust in your employees, you’re encouraging them to take responsibility and better appreciate how your team works together.

 

Offering your staff an array of wellness activities will ensure the corporate culture of your workplace is a healthy one, with staff mood and productivity being positive all-round.