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Workplace wellness – 7 key considerations

September 23, 2019

Workplace wellness in Australia is on the rise and more often becoming a recruitment and retention strategy for business, with one in five workers willing to sacrifice a promotion in order to obtain better wellbeing in the workplace. A culture of wellness drives results by helping to create an engaged workforce.

Here are seven important considerations for workplace wellness programs to take into account:

  1. 48% of Australian workers believe unrealistic workload expectations have the greatest negative impact on wellbeing in the workplace. “If workers are drowning in more deadlines than there are hours in the day, taking any time to talk about workplace wellbeing is going to sound incredibly tone-deaf” says Dr Lindsay McMillian, the author of Workplace Wellbeing – A future that Works.
  2. Senior leadership support is critical to building and sustaining successful workplace health programs. This goes beyond simple endorsement of programs and involves active and visible participation. Management-related factors have been shown to contribute more to success than the content of the workplace wellness intervention. If the key leaders are not on board, then prepare a business case.
  3. 44% of Australian workers believe a pleasant working environment would contribute most to wellbeing in the workplace. If employees enjoy their time at work, they will be less likely to take long breaks or go on sick leave. This could include décor, lunch areas, friendliness, staff meetings and staff feeling valued.
  4. Share the design and planning to gain employee support. For a workplace wellness program to be successful, it is essential to engage all employees in the program. The best way to achieve this is to ensure your program is relevant to the needs of your organisation and its employees.
  5. 75% of Australian workers believe workplace wellbeing includes both physical and mental wellbeing. It is important to encourage both physical and mental health side by side. Workplace wellness becomes the integration of workplace health and safety and human resources management.
  6. Measurement and being results-orientated. One of the biggest ongoing debates surrounding workplace wellness is whether it works. It’s important to remember that numbers can’t always capture the benefits of an employee wellness program. When evaluating the success of a wellness program, employers should not only take a return on investment into consideration, but a value on investment as well.
  7. Leadership is very strongly linked to wellbeing. "A person's relationship with their immediate supervisor was a key driver of that individual's wellbeing. In fact, the relationship with the boss is more important to a person's wellbeing than their relationships with their other colleagues," says Christina Boedker, from UNSW Business School.


Dr Lindsay McMillan Workplace Wellbeing – A Future that Works
SA Healthy Workers - Healthy Futures
Workplace Health Association of Australia ROI White Paper – Employee Health

The Workplace Wellbeing information and resources are provided as part of the Water Industry Alliance's Healthy Workplace Awareness in the Water Industry project. This prioject is funded by SA Health in partnership with Business SA and the Water Industry Alliance.