by Kathy Malherbe

Workplace wellness

The return on Investment on Wellness Initiatives

workplace wellness
Making employee health a priority
According to a World Economic Forum Working towards Wellness Report: ‘Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, causing 60% of deaths and is expected to increase by 17% over the next ten years. Not only in low income countries but more and more in middle and high income populations.’

It is surprising then that only 3% of corporate health expenditure is devoted to preventative strategies considering almost 50% of corporate profits go on health care costs. Sue Zanninello, Healthcare Practice Owner with PSG Konsult Corporate (PSGK Corporate) says, “Many corporates not only suffer absenteeism but employees are not performing properly because of ill health.”

The realisation that the return on Investment for Wellness initiatives in the workplace is substantial has resulted in many companies implementing wellness programmes, screening and exercise programmes for their employees. 

The Report says that the workplace is, ‘an important location for successful prevention strategies because employees spend a growing amount of time at work and employers can influence behaviour by providing a supportive environment and leveraging existing infrastructure to offer low-cost but effective interventions.’ 

This same Report notes that the main motivating factors for employers to implement wellbeing programmes are ‘productivity improvements, staff turnover reduction, and image/brand enhancement’.

“A review of corporate wellness programs conducted by Goetzel et al. is that a comprehensive preventative and wellness programme in the work place gives the highest return on investment,” says Zanninello.

These included education, early detection, treatment and the identification of risk employees. Costly diseases include heart and lung disease and cancer. It has been shown that changes in behaviour have had a major effect in reducing the incidence of these diseases.

We will have an in-depth discussion on this within the next edition of Leaders in Wellness
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Issue 16


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