The health of Australia’s workforce November 2005

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The health of Australia’s workforce

November 2005

Healthy employees are nearly three times more productive than unhealthy employees

Unhealthy employees take up to nine times more sick leave than their healthy colleagues

Poor employee health and absenteeism is costing Australian business $7 billion annually1
Healthy employees make a healthy business

A Medibank Private study has found that the healthiest Australian employees are almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues.

Employers have a unique opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their staff. Employers can better understand and potentially influence the health problems and unhealthy lifestyles that can result in reduced worker performance and increased sickness absence.

Research commissioned by Medibank Private, in conjunction with vielife, found a measurable link between a person’s health and lifestyle and how productive they are at work.

The results found that employees with poor overall health status are far more likely to be absent from work, and are nine times more likely to have sick days, compared to healthy employees.

Lifestyle ‘risk’ factors such as smoking, drinking, lack of physical activity and excess weight contribute to this time away from work.

Employee morale and stress in the workforce contributed significantly to absenteeism and sick leave.

The study also found that a worker’s health status impacts upon their productivity at work. The healthiest Australian employees are almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues.

An ageing workforce, and a skills shortage faced by many industries, is making the issue of employee health more pressing for employers. Many employers are becoming increasingly engaged in the health of their employees not only to be socially responsible, but to improve company performance.

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