Health and wellness in the workplace

Healthy staff is a great asset to any organisation and one that can easily have a positive impact on productivity in the workplace.

But failure to act on this issue could cost your business money and have a negative impact on productivity.

Recent reports on work-related injury, illness and disease show that the total cost of these workplace issues to businesses is more than $60 billion.

To put this figure into perspective, the estimated sum is roughly 4.3 per cent of the country’s total gross domestic product.

The studies titled Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2009-10 and The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2008-09 were released earlier this year.

And while they show that the number of work-related deaths is improving, the commonwealth government and industry leaders are keen to see a shift in attitude among employers about workplace wellness.

Minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten said: “Workplace safety is not just about avoiding human tragedy it is also about reducing economic cost for the nation.”

According to the minister, the human cost of work-related incidents can include everything from loss of earnings to human capital and staff turnover.

Having to cover additional medical and training costs are also considered to be an expense to businesses.

While the future earning capacity of employees and the potential for wealth creation they would have otherwise generated at their place or employment falls within the parameters of the $60 billion estimate, the study does not examine the amount that would need to be outlaid to prevent these problems from occurring.

Reports from as early as 2005 tell a similar story where healthy employees are often three times more productive than their peers and take significantly less sick days.

With this in mind, it may be a good idea to speak with an employment expert about staff health and wellness for your business.

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