3 Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs November 18th, 2010, by Ken Buckley

Compelling evidence is continuing to emerge in support of the benefits of worksite wellness programs, so let’s examine some of the statistics and discuss how improving the health status of employees is becoming an indispensible business practice.

#1. Corporate Wellness Programs Reduce Absenteeism

Data collected by the Australian bureau of statistics shows that absenteeism costs Australian employers billions of dollars each year. Furthermore, in 2005 a study by Medibank Private found that unhealthy employees take nine times more sick leave than healthy employees.

Obviously this correlation between poor health and absenteeism is a no-brainer, but many organisations fail to see the far reaching effects of absenteeism in the workplace and its ability to disrupt operations.

While direct costs such as the hiring of a temporary replacement worker may be tallied up, indirect costs of unplanned sick days such as delays in project completion, co-workers having to take on extra responsibilities and the ineffectiveness of a temporary replacement often fall by the wayside.

The good news is that absenteeism is measurable and addressable through corporate wellness programs and can be a telling indicator of company health and morale across the board.

#2. Corporate Wellness Programs Reduce Presenteeism

Presenteeism is more complicated than absenteeism, and more difficult to measure, because while employees may be turning up for work each day, their performance may be hampered by a range of physical and mental health issues. It has been estimated that presenteeism costs companies up to four times as much as absenteeism through loss of productivity on the job.

A study in 2006 by Medibank Private showed that presenteeism costs the Australian economy over 25 billion dollars annually, averaging the loss of six working days per employee per year. An assortment of preventable health problems contribute to such losses in productivity.

For instance research has shown that inactivity can reduce productivity by 7%, excessive alcohol consumption by 4%, smoking by 10%, stress by 13%, neck and back pain by 20% and lack of sleep by a whopping 30% per employee. In contrast, in 2009 Australian statistics showed that companies effectively running corporate wellness programs had 2.5 times improved employee performance, 8 times higher employee engagement and 3.5 times higher creativity and innovation on the job.

#3. Corporate Wellness Programs Retain and Attract Talent

A further interesting statistic that came up in the same 2009 study showed that companies failing to manage health and wellness within their organisation were 4 times more likely to lose talent over a 12 month period. Like presenteeism, the attraction and retainment of quality staff has extensive effects on profits and productivity but can be overlooked when weighing up the benefits of company health and wellness programs.

When looking to secure the best and brightest for your company it’s important to objectively ask what your organisation is doing to distinguish itself as an employer of choice.

With sufficient investment, a best practice approach and some appropriate employee wellness program ideas, all companies large or small can realise these key benefits and increase their chances of thriving in the competitive marketplace.

For more information on Corporate Wellness Programs, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post648” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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