The Importance of Corporate Health in the 21st Century December 21st, 2010, by Ken Buckley

During the industrial revolution of the 1980’s the time we used to spend at work increased and our lifestyles were changed forever. A rapid decrease of leisure time was clear and organisations began to outsource services to maintain the health of their employees. Thus, Corporate Health was born.

Corporate Health 21st Century

However, workplace health in the 20th century focused on acute care rather than on preventing disease or controlling chronic conditions.

It’s time for corporate health in this century to embrace a fundamental shift: A view of health as an investment rather than an expense. The ROI of the 21st century workplace health should see employers in search of avoiding costs, not just controlling them.

Many studies have shown the economic benefits of health promotion or corporate health programs to improve health development. Corporate Health Management in the 21st century should provide benefits that support a wellness-focused culture of health rather than treatment-focused culture of sickness.

There are four successful steps on the road to the 21st century corporate wellbeing:

 1. Nurture a culture of Health
Health or workplace health can not be launched as a company-imposed dictate. It should be part of an overall corporate culture that would emphasize the employee’s crucial role in the organisation’s success and his or her responsibility to reduce health risks.

A culture of health is the foundation for a successful corporate health management program; it incorporates corporate wellness programs into staff’s benefit suite. Managers and leaders should act as role models with top executives embracing and supporting workplace health programs. This concept represents a shift from the old employer program-centric thinking to an employee-focused mindset

2. Prevent as is cheaper than cure
Research shows that what is spent on corporate health initiatives returns its investment three to five times over. A study by Medibank Private showed the number of productive work hours contributed by a unhealthy full-time employee was 49 hours per month, compared to 140 hours for those full-timers considered healthy. Any investment in health prevention and promotion is relatively insignificant in terms of the value it gives back to the organisation and its staff.

3. Commit to the long term
Although the short term results from a well-managed corporate health program can sometimes be outstanding, the improved overall health of the staff is determined by how well the health and wellness program is integrated into the organisation’s long term strategy.
It is also vital to highlight that developing corporate health in an organisation requires foresight and a willingness to increase sustainable and long-term solutions rather than quick fixes.

4. Incorporate all aspects of corporate health and wellness programs
Effective corporate health management works best when human resources leaders, physician of corporate health, risk and strategy managers and those responsible for corporate health programming work together.  The integration should focus on health behavior change, productivity, engagement and motivation, and education.

For more information on Corporate Health, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post660” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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