Keeping Corporate Wellbeing in Balance January 4th, 2011, by Ken Buckley

In today’s competitive market, maintaining corporate wellbeing and achieving a sensible work life balance is becoming even more pressing.

With so much recognition and understanding of the relationship between employee wellbeing and business, and so many terrific resources available, many companies are making positive changes and managing to break the trend.

However a recent study by the University of South Australia’s Centre for Work and Life suggests that Australian employees are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the balance between work and life.

The results of the report show that the number of full time Australian employees unhappy with their working situation has increased over the past three years, and that over a fifth of workers clock up over 48 hours in the office weekly with 60 percent failing to take regular holidays.

In addition to this high rate of staff dissatisfaction, the study found that these long hours are significantly affecting mental balance and wellbeing with overworked employees showing higher rates of serious illnesses such as depression and cardiovascular disease.

In an interview with ABC News, Professor Barbara Pocock from the Centre for Work and Life discussed the effects of this poor corporate wellbeing balance on Australian businesses.

“There’s also some interesting new research which tells us that productivity is lower for people who do long hours of work, and absenteeism is higher” she said. She also noted that three quarters of employees surveyed said they would prefer to work fewer hours despite a reduction in pay.

“I think we should be talking more about how to curb long hours in workplaces where they are negative for productivity and worker well-being,” she went on to say, “but also I think the cultures of workplaces, improved supervision and more support for workers to get flexibility makes a very big difference.”

Encouraging employees to take some time out for not only rest and exercise, but also personal interests and commitments is crucial to maintaining a healthy corporate wellbeing balance and reducing stress and other associated corporate health risks. Developing a policy for flexible working arrangements is a great idea, and can take the form of flexible working hours, a reduction in hours or temporary leave.

Some employees may only need a temporary arrangement due to a personal situation such as the birth of a child, or a reduction in hours may be more permanent for employees who desire to pursue a personal interest such as volunteer work one day a week or a hobby. Either way, the benefits of making time for corporate wellbeing and the coordination of flexible working arrangements will mean that employees are better able to manage their workload and therefore be happier, more motivated and more productive.

For more information on Corporate Wellbeing Program, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post678” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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