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National campaign launched to boost employee wellbeing

A worryingly high section of the workforce don’t don’t feel as if they have enough energy to go to work each day.

In the latest Randstad Workmonitor report, it was found that one fifth (21 per cent) of Australian workers admit to lacking energy to complete tasks.

Conversely, the latest OECD Better Life Index shows that 85 per cent of Australians believe they are in good health – a higher proportion than most other nations.

Although 61 per cent of Australian workers say their work benefits from increased productivity when they are in shape, the vast majority view staying fit as primarily a personal responsibility, with 93% saying maintaining a healthy lifestyle is their own prerogative.

Around 68 per cent of employees noted they were not allowed to play in a sporting team during office hours, and 32 per cent said their employer currently subsidises gym or fitness group memberships.

Steve Shepherd, employment analyst at Randstad, commented that workplaces have much to gain by developing proactive health programs.

“Employees who are fit both mentally and physically will have more energy, be more effective and efficient, and enjoy their work more. A fit, healthy and happy workforce can have a surprising impact on workplace productivity as well as retention rates, so creating a strong work-life culture in your office, along with actively implementing healthy living programs, should be a focus for businesses in every industry.

“The good news is these programs can be easily implemented, require minimal investment and can be a great way to not only improve performance, but also build engagement and camaraderie amongst staff.

The research coincides with the launch of a landmark national campaign by beyondblue, to encourage Australian business leaders to take action on mental health.

Run in conjunction with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and backed by PwC research, the Heads Up campaign highlights that Australian businesses receive an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies.

The impact that poor mental health has on national productivity is very costly, totaling at least $10.9 billion a year.

Chairman of beyondblue The Hon Jeff Kennett AC said the new campaign and their associated report provides a compelling case for big and small business alike to implement Heads Up.

“One in five Australian workers are experiencing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety right now, but sadly too many workplaces still do not realise the importance of their employees’ mental health,” Mr Kennett said.

“This report shows that employers have a responsibility not only to their workers, but also to their businesses’ profitability, to tackle these conditions at work. Heads Up will provide them with a tailor-made Action Plan to do this and helps ensure that Australia’s 11.5 million workers receive the support they need to be mentally healthy and productive.”

PwC partner Jeremy Thorpe said the report reveals how investing in mental health benefits businesses of different sizes within different industries, and small business often benefits the most.

“For example, small mining businesses that invest in effective mental health programs receive an average return on investment (ROI) of 15, meaning they get $15 out of every $1 they spend. Small essential service providers receive an average ROI of 14.5. This is because employee participation is vital in implementing a successful program. Any positive ROI is something business should strive for. This is why I would urge all employers, regardless of what industry you’re in or your business size, to read this report and learn what economic benefits you can gain from investing in mental health.”

The campaign’s centrepiece is the Heads Up website where business leaders can find out why they are losing money if they are not investing in employees’ mental health and sign up to learn how to make their workplace more mentally healthy and profitable.

In mid-June, a first-of-its kind Action Plan will be unveiled on the website to allow businesses to create tailor-made mental health plans to implement in their workplaces to ensure they are progressing towards workplaces that are as mentally healthy as possible.

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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