“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally, it can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.” – Jay Winner, 2008, Take the Stress Out of Your Life: A Medical Doctor’s Proven Program to Minimize Stress and Maximize Health

I bet we can all agree that we don’t need anything else to be stressed out about. Unfortunately, new research shows that being stressed can affect your health.

Stress & Health

We’ve known for a long time that stress and health are closely correlated and it’s easy to put one above the other, but now it seems that they are both of equal importance for day-to-day health.

Eye strain, back problems and tension neck injuries – not to mention the extra calories that can easily be added to your daily diet from sitting at your desk for too long. Add to that list heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even close links to Alzheimer’s in later life – it’s important to take the bull by the horns when it comes to your employees’ health and their stress levels.

The NSW Healthy Workers Initiative Discussion Paper recently stated that:

  • Unhealthy employees take up to 9 times more sick leave
  • Promoting a healthy workplace sends a message that employees are valued
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, poor diet, inactivity and excess body weight all contribute to time away from work
  • Preventable disease and workplace injury resulting from unhealthy living is a major cause of workplace absence or disruption
  • Loss in productivity due to an unhealthy workforce is estimated to cost $6.4 billion a year. To calculate your own ROI from having a healthy workplace you can use the Workplace Health Savings Calculator
  • For every dollar spent on workplace health and wellbeing programs, there is an estimated return on investment of between three and six dollars

Short-Term Benefits

Healthy and relatively stress free employees work better together, are more engaged in their jobs and tend to enjoy their work more than their unhealthy and stressed counterparts.

Long-Term Benefits

Healthy workplaces see gains in staff attraction and retention, improved productivity, enhanced corporate image and are shown to reduce workplace absenteeism by around 30%.

A Few Ways to Change

At Employment Innovations we’re taking a pro-active approach to employee health, which has been shown to positively reflect in the engagement and work ethic of staff.

Providing the platform for employees to make that change has such a positive effect on health and team building that we’ve even found colleagues starting up exercise dates outside of office time.

A few of the initiatives we’re running right now are open to everyone, and participation is openly welcomed. Remember the ROI I mentioned above.

  • Group Personal Training – Our local park acts as a great lunch spot, and also our own outside gym every Wednesday. (AU$140 per class)
  • Team Sports – We invite employees to take part in football and netball leagues hosted by Sydney City and regularly hold table tennis competitions in house. (AU$91 per week)
  • Yoga Tuesdays – The leotards come out and the yoga mats go down in the staff café. (AU$140 per class)
  • Healthy Catering – Each week we get stocked up on fruits for everyone in the office. (AU$126.77 across 3 states per week)
  • Standing Desk Options

Look into a HR system that allows for personal goal setting, and review of those goals over time. It’s really easy to implement any of these initiatives in your own office, and I can honestly tell you that your employees are going to thank you for it.

Right now, NSW Health are running Get Healthy at Work; a free service that gives you all the tools you need to develop a simple and effective workplace health program. There’s free support from qualified providers and the chance to provide health checks with your staff. If you’re interested go and check out gethealthyatwork.com.au