Thousands of people in the Australian work force have either been, or are currently affected by cancer. It is now very common for employers to have staff members who have cancer, or are caring for a loved one with cancer.
More than half a million people (2.4% of the Australian population) have been diagnosed with cancer in the past five year according to the Cancer Council. And each year, 108,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed across the country.
These alarming statistics are a clear evidence that cancer is a health topic companies can’t ignore anymore. Not to mention the financial cost cancer can have on your organisation. In the US for example, the estimated cost of cancer to American companies is nearly US$264 billion per year in both health care costs and lost productivity. And with an aging population, the costs are expected to rise 25% by 2030.
We’ve recently surveyed our huge database of clients asking them which Health & Safety events they are currently participating in or would be willing to participate in and, not surprisingly, Daffodil Day was at the top of the list, closely followed by Movember, National Safe Work Week and Earth Hour. So Australian companies seem to have already made the switch and joined the fight against cancer.
So what can you do as an organisation to support the cause and help improve your employee wellness:
1. Promote healthy habits through a corporate wellness program
Include educational seminars as part of the program. Cancer education is the best prevention strategy and your workplace offers a captive audience ready to be informed. Also include seminars or motivational challenges about healthy eating, the advantages of exercise, how to reduce stress at work, and smoking cessation campaigns, all havie a positive impact on cancer prevention.
2. Organise Skin Cancer Checks for your staff
Early detection is the greatest weapon against skin cancer, especially in Australia. Lasting 10 minutes and involving individual examination for signs of potential skin cancers, skin cancer checks are conducted by fully qualified professionals, with referral given for those participants requiring further attention. Skin cancer checks can be delivered as a one-off wellness initiative or as part of an annual corporate health program.
3. Look after your staff currently suffering from cancer or caring for a loved one with cancer
Most employers are willing to make changes to duties and working hours to enable their employees with cancer to continue working if they want to. Think about workplace health programs promoting flexible working arrangements, reduced hours, unpaid leave, return-to-work options after a long absence, and most importantly, stay in touch with your staff while they are away. Supporting employees so that they can remain in or return to work easily benefits your business, as well as your staff.
4. Get involved in Daffodil Day on 26th August and raise funds for cancer research
By simply holding a “yellow” event, such as a breakfast with a raffle, and offering a cancer awareness booklet to raise awareness on the disease, you can help raise much needed funds for cancer research. You can also allow a volunteer day for your staff to give back to the community. It will help increase your employee engagement and strengthen your role as an employer of choice.
Your company has a great opportunity to make a huge impact in your employee wellness. Remember that small things can make a big difference in the prevention of cancer and other illnesses.
For more information on Corporate Health Program, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888) or contact us.