Newsflash: Healthy employees are more productive

Healthy EmployeesMore than 78 percent of small to medium enterprises in Victoria see employee health and fitness as directly affecting their bottom line, a recent poll has found. The results of the Executive Connection survey are unsurprising, but concerning in the face of disturbing health reports from the Victorian state government following 100,000 government funded health checks last year. The program found that almost half of males and one in three females have elevated, high or very high risks of developing heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.

More than 20 percent of surveyed small to medium enterprises in Victoria do not believe employee fitness and health has a direct impact on the bottom line of their business success, a recent poll has found. This could be good news for Victorian employees, as health issues are on the rise in the southern state. Last year, the Victorian State government funded 100,000 health checks which found nearly half of men and one third of women surveyed had elevated, high or very high risks of developing heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.

While many CEOs expressed concern over the health and fitness of their employees, most showed little awareness of simple steps SMEs can take to improve employee health and reduce the potential impact health issues could have on their business. If the results of the Victorian state governments health checks are accurate, SMEs should be implementing measures now to reduce the future cost of severe health problems on their busienss.

Harvey Martin, Victorian chairman of The Executive Connection, believes the solution is simple. “I urge all businesses to get behind workforce health and fitness programs. The small investment of time and money will pay dividends and have a positive impact on workplace culture.”

The incentives for SMEs are clear, according to Martin. “If as many as half of a SME’s workforce develops diabetes or a serious health problem, it could have a devastating effect not only on their business, but on the Victorian economy”.

To mitigate the risk, Martin suggests SMEs encourage their workers to get involved in the Global Corporate Challenge, a World Health Organisation initiative which last year helped participants reduce their blood pressure and lose an average of 5.5kg of fat. Participants took an average of 41% less sick days than their less active colleagues, with obvious positive impact on bottom line and productivity.