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Workplace Wellness – how were we doing and where to now?

Back in 2013, we wrote about the first Wellness in the Workplace report, put together by Southern Cross and Business NZ. Today we’re reviewing the 4th in depth report to be completed- https://www.southerncross.co.nz/-/media/Files/Corporate/Comms-and-Brand-Media-Releases/Workplace-Wellness-Survey-2019-Final_with-updated-infographic.pdf?la=en&hash=A955874C28D670A2BCCD89851F8869B10A62C98E.

This represents more than 121,000 employees or 6.21% of New Zealand’s workforce, the largest since the survey began.


The challenge for businesses is that it reveals that the true price of absenteeism continues to rise at the cost of $1.79bn. In 2013, the figure was $238m.

At the same time, 23.5% of businesses report an increase in stress and anxiety, and this was pre Covid! On the plus side, the report shows that employers invested an estimated 2.37bn into workplace wellness.


On average, the businesses surveyed were spending $1500 per staff member annually to improve their wellbeing. Four years’ worth of data suggest that an absent employee typically costs their employer $600- $1000/year. However, having people at work and feeling supported has a much wider positive effect on that workplace.


The next survey is due to be completed this year, so it will make for interesting reading when it is published.


Meantime, it is important for everyone in a workplace to have strategies available to help keep well in a workplace, whether it is home based, in an office, in a factory, or working outside. Here in New Zealand, many businesses have been lucky enough to be able to continue to operate, compared with overseas businesses. We are also lucky to have an organisation like the Mental Health Foundation to create accessible and positive guidelines to support workplace wellness. You can download resources from them here- https://mentalhealth.org.nz/getting-through-together/workplace-wellbeing-during-covid-19


So, as we come to a close of the second quarter of the year, have a think about how you can improve wellness in your workplace. Small steps such as a once a week morning tea with all staff together can be an easy way to start off.


Randa Abbasi is a New Zealand trained Occupational Therapist and owner / operator of WorkSpace IQ. Randa has over 25 years experience in leading and managing teams in the health sector and specializes in ergonomics, wellbeing, personal and professional development and clinical supervision.

Randa can be reached at WorkSpace IQ | Home

Mobile: 021 1971 060




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