21/08/2014 - 11:16

Business and health: Surprisingly, a marriage made in heaven

21/08/2014 - 11:16


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The words health and business rarely find comfort in each others’ company. Think about any election campaign, health is often spruiked as a necessary investment but when the question arises about how much it might cost the economy, you can be confident the divorce will occur quicker than a Las Vegas wedding.

The reason these two love birds can’t appear in the same place at the same time is because health is often framed as a cost rather than an investment, or something that might be viewed as the responsibility of the individual rather than a collective action issue.

Business, on the other hand, is predominately concerned about growth, development and shareholders. The need to satisfy investors is priority number one. Health? Well, only if it doesn’t cost too much!

It’s not a criticism but it does highlight the difference between the two. When health has to ‘jump’ it asks business, “how high?”

Now that’s not to say health and business don’t like to hang out from time to time – without business there would be no health and vice versa – but suffice to say the relationship can be tenuous.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Health and business can often coexist, even in the same workplace.

In fact, research shows that workplaces that invest in health can and do prosper. Usually all this takes is the development of an effective workplace health program and your business could see the following:

  • A 29% increase in worker productivity
  • A 21% reduction in staff absenteeism due to sickness
  • Healthier and safer workers

A variety of studies have shown that for every dollar employers invest in health promotion over a three-year-period, return on investment ranges from $1.40 to $4.70.

Sick leave alone can have a big impact on a business’ bottom line.

Think about this. If you lose 60 days of work due to staff sick leave over a year and your staff daily hours (8) and hourly wage (30) are factored into this, you could be looking at significant costs.

60 x 8 x 30 = $14,400

And that’s just for sick leave. When you consider the effect of staff turnover on your business that can be in itself a big cost.

Combine the effects of staff turnover and sick leave on your business and you have a hefty bill that could have been reduced significantly had your workplace implemented a workplace health plan.

Ok, so the business case for a workplace health program is compelling but where do you start?

Healthier Workplace WA can guide you through the maze and support you to establish a workplace health program of your own. The service is free of charge and all the resources are available online at healthierworkplacewa.com.au. While you’re there check out the Healthier Workplace WA Health Savings Calculator. This handy tool will show you just how much sick leave and staff turnover could be costing your business.

Get in touch: 1300 550 271




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