South Africa & Australia

The link between employee wellness and productivity

The link between employee wellness and productivity
Connecting Human Potential | Enablers of agile, focused and skilled workforces for the future
3 mins

It makes sense that happy employees are better employees. But what about healthy employees? While many companies spend millions on perks and benefits that make them attractive employers, many neglect an area that costs them hugely in many ways: employee health. Let’s look into some of the ways that the health of employees (or lack thereof) affects a business.

The impact of employee health in the workplace

When employee health is poor, productivity is negatively impacted by a combination of absenteeism and presenteeism. Absenteeism is a known challenger of productivity, and companies have systems in place to keep track of it, but presenteeism is much more insidious and almost impossible to track. Presenteeism refers to the lost productivity that occurs when an employee does not do their job as they should because of illness, injury or other issues such as depression and anxiety. Even though the employee is physically at work, they do not fully perform their duties and are more likely to make mistakes. Presenteeism, particularly as a result of chronic health conditions, can actually have much more of a devastating effect on a company’s productivity than absenteeism because of its long-term effects. 

Chronic illness is on the rise worldwide, creating major challenges for both employees and employers. In South Africa, apart from communicable diseases such as TB and HIV, the largest contributors to death by natural causes are chronic conditions. South Africa has one of the highest rates of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that there are approximately 4.6 million diabetic South African adults. But even more frighteningly, at least half of these are undiagnosed cases – people who are unaware that they are and living with a potentially lethal condition, especially when unmanaged.

In a study by the SA Journal of Human Resource Management, it was shown that the more presenteeism-related health conditions an employee suffers from, the lower the level of work engagement. It should come as no surprise, then, that the opposite was also found to be true: employees with no presenteeism-related health conditions had the highest level of work engagement. The evidence is clear: employee health and wellbeing directly correlate to a company’s bottom line. It’s time for companies to start looking at employee wellness as not just a tick-the-box corporate responsibility, but also as an essential business performance strategy.

The role of a business in the wellness of its staff

We have established that there is a clear link between the health of a workforce and its productivity – one cannot exist independently of the other. So what can businesses do not only to inform and educate their employees about their own health but also to ensure that they are as healthy and productive as they can be? A company wellness day is a great – and very simple – way to start. 

Though wellness days can incorporate any number of things, based on the needs (and budget) of a business, the core basics comprise of a number of essential health checks designed to pick up certain common (and potentially serious) underlying issues. The first step in empowering an individual in the management of their health, after all, is to provide information and education. If someone is unaware that they are living with a chronic condition, they can’t manage it, meaning they are more likely to miss work or be unproductive.

What is a wellness day?

A typical wellness day would include professional medical staff taking basic measurements such as weight, height and BMI, vision screening, checking blood pressure and pulse, and a finger-prick glucose test. While these are not in-depth medical screening procedures, they give a good overall picture of an individual’s state of health and serve as a good early-warning system to pinpoint potential problem areas – or even an existing underlying condition.

Knowledge is power; an individual who is aware that they have a chronic condition is then able to take the necessary steps to ensure that their condition is properly managed. Changes in lifestyle are often an integral part of any wellness regimen, and education on the importance of a healthy diet, beneficial supplements, exercise and management of stress should be made available to employees. 

Prevention – and management – is better than cure

This is why we at Charisma are so passionate about what we do. As one of the leading staffing and solutions providers in the South African healthcare industry, Charisma conducts wellness days where employees are assessed and referred for health issues when necessary. Where any abnormalities are found, referral letters are supplied. 

We all know that modern life and the stresses of work take their toll on even the healthiest people, so we offer an added service which can help support and boost the health and immunity of your staff, particularly in these Covid times. Vitamin B injections assist in boosting energy levels and immunity and our jet fuel drip, a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and glucose, will recharge those tired batteries. Contact us for more information on how we can help boost the health of your business. 

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Connecting Human Potential | Enablers of agile, focused and skilled workforces for the future

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