Australia: Most staff health programs are missing the mark

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Only 50% of employees actually participate in the health programs on offer to them at work – and misfired health initiatives are costing employer’s millions.

New research compiled by Medibank found that out of 5,000 Australian employees from 13 industries, the top reasons people gave for not participating in workplace health programs included being too busy, that they exercise outside of work hours, and that the sessions are run at inconvenient times.

Dr Melissa Lehmann from Medibank Health Solutions said the low rate of participation is not because people aren’t interested; it’s that the time and place doesn’t always suit them.

Importantly, 72% of workers who participate in workplace health initiatives think that their health and productivity improves as a result. “This key finding tells us that employers can take steps to invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees, to ensure their workplace is safe, positive and – in turn – productive,” Lehmann said. “We’d suggest employers examine all of their options.”

So what sorts of programs would Aussie employees prefer like to see on offer?

  • 64% of respondents said they would prefer their employer to subsidise their private health insurance
  • 36% said they would like to see on-site health and wellbeing classes and services
  • 35% wanted exercise/physical activity’ programs, and
  • 35% said regular health screenings would be beneficial to them.

Do your staff take advantage of what's on offer?

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