Healthy employees increase productivity

November 2009 Security Services & Risk Management, Healthcare (Industry)

Does your employee’s poor health pose a threat to your business?

The recession has severely hit businesses the world over. Companies are increasingly concerned about their finances leading to retrenchments, salary cutting and stringent budgeting in many industries. What is seldom taken into account is the considerable impact that these financial adjustments have on the employees of those businesses.

Employees, who many companies believe are their greatest asset, are not only affected by readjustments at work but experience similar, if not more difficult times at home. An employee experiencing stress in his or her home environment will naturally be unable to be entirely productive in the workplace.

Stress and ill-health are the greatest contributors to absenteeism. Statistics show that healthy employees take up to nine times fewer sick days than their unhealthy colleagues. They also make up to 60% fewer errors. Recent statistics reveal that employee absenteeism in South Africa costs businesses approximately R19 billion a year yet only 15% of staff in South Africa have some form of medical aid cover.

According to an American study, the following diseases are believed to cause an astonishing amount of unproductive work hours per day:

* Heart disease – 4,3 hours/day.

* Respiratory infection – 4,1 hours/day.

* Diabetes – 4 hours/day.

* Blood pressure – 3,4 hours/day.

* Migraine – 3,4 hours/day.

* Arthritis – 3,2 hours/day.

* Allergies – 2,8 hours/day.

* Stress – 2,3 hours/day.

* Depression – 2,2 hours/day.

* Anxiety – 2,2 hours/day.

The stress of dealing with the ill-health is compounded by the stress of paying for or receiving good medical treatment. This stress impacts heavily on productivity.

It is more cost-effective in the long-term to take care of employees’ mental and physical health than to make alternative arrangements for low levels of productivity, incomplete work or excessive sick leave.

Estimates say that sick leave costs South African employers in the region of R12 billion per annum. It is being said that one in three South Africans will be taking sick leave during the FIFA World Cup in 2010 just to watch a game.

We firmly believe that companies need to take responsibility and offer assistance to ensure employees are healthier.

For more information contact Jenny Reid, The Orange, +27 (0)82 600 8225,


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