What is a workplace health program and what does it involve? What are work health checks?
Workplace health programs focus on improving staff health and can involve a range of activities such as work health checks, workplace health promotion, seminars, online wellness services, flu vaccinations and exercise programs.
Staff health checks are confidential health assessments conducted in the workplace. Health checks look at a number of lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption, along with biometric measures such as weight, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. This information allows the staff member to be provided with information regarding risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Immediate information and advice is given based on the health check results, and recommendations are made to assist the staff member to improve their health.
Who is a good provider of workplace health programs?
The Health and Productivity Institute of Australia (HAPIA) recommends choosing a workplace health provider that:
- Has a track record in the provision of services they intend to deploy;
- Provides testimonials/references in support of this;
- Is a member of the relevant industry body (e.g. HAPIA, Australian Association of Exercise and Sports Science);
- Holds the required professional indemnity/liability insurances;
- Uses only degree qualified health professionals;
- Ensures responsible management, referral and follow up of high risk participants;
- Has recognised accreditation;
- Uses valid and reliable equipment or instruments;
- Provides comprehensive reporting and/or evaluation;
- Practices in accordance with an industry body code of ethics.
Approximately 20 providers in Australia agree to meet these standards. Some recommended providers include:
- FitSense Australia
- Springboard Health and Performance
- Health Futures
- Ford Health
Based on feedback from our clients, we would recommend avoiding the large providers.
What are the benefits of workplace health programs and staff health checks?
The benefits your organisation will reap from providing workplace health programs and health checks include:
- Increasing employee productivity
- Improving employee engagement and morale
- Increasing retention of staff
- Reducing absenteeism
- Reduced workplace injury and workers compensation costs
- Improved corporate image
This ultimately leads to higher profits for your organisation through both cost savings and more productive staff. Your employees can also look forward to:
- Improved health awareness and knowledge
- Improved physical and mental wellbeing
- Increased energy and vitality
- Increased work enjoyment and fulfillment Improved concentration and productivity
- Improved team relationships
Are workplace health programs during work hours or outside work hours?
Most organisations choose to conduct their workplace health programs during work hours, however the recommendations and advice provided within the staff health checks will ultimately be taken onboard to make lifelong changes (in and out of work!)
How many other organisations are doing workplace health programs?
Workplace health programs are now very popular and it has been shown that 96% of ‘Best Practice’ Australian organisations implemented health and wellbeing initiatives during the last 12 months. A selection of case studies from organisations currently conducting staff health programs can be found on the FitSense blog at blog.fitsense.com.au
How much does a workplace health program cost?
The price of a workplace health program can vary. It is dependant on the location and size of your organisation as well as the activities you want to implement. You can use the following FitSense prices as a guide:
- Healthy Heart Health Check - 15 minutes - ~$42 (inc. GST) per person
- Health Audit Health Check - 30 minutes - ~80 (inc. GST) per person
- Onsite seminars - $495 (inc. GST) per hour
- Health Coaching - 8 weeks of telephone coaching - $176 (inc. GST) per person
Note, that these prices are probably lower than most providers as FitSense has a focus on efficient administration and systems that help minimise costs to our clients.
How long do workplace health programs go for?
Best results from staff health programs are seen when they are delivered in an ongoing manner over time. The longer the program runs for, the more successfully the message is received by staff and thus the greater their health improvement. Therefore, it is recommended you take a long term approach with the goal of including a different health initiative every month or every quarter. These activities do not need to be expensive and from an external provider, as annual health checks can be supported by a range of free (or cheap) activities run internally.
Are the workplace health programs and health checks voluntary for staff or mandatory?
We recommendation that all workplace health program activities, including health checks be offered to staff on a voluntary basis. It is unlikely that compulsory activities will be received well from staff and thus this may make the program less effective.
Will management get feedback on individual’s work health checks results?
No. The standard practice is that all results are private and confidential. Only the individual staff member will receive feedback on their health check results. However, management will receive a deidentified summary report which provides an overview of the results, allowing staff health profile to be tracking annually and the organisation to identify key health risks within the group. This information can then be used to customise your health program.