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Healthy worker

Understand the relationship between work, health and productivity

The circumstances in which people grow, live, work and age; and the systems put in place to deal with illness; all determine how healthy we are.

Work is the most effective means to improve the wellbeing of individuals, their families and communities. Employers have opportunities to influence the health of their workers, with the potential to improve quality of life, maximise workforce participation and worker productivity and support healthy, thriving organisations.

Work is also a means to support and improve health. People in work are generally healthier and those that return to work after illness or injury have better long term health outcomes. Workplaces need to help workers to realise the health benefits of work.

Work that is healthy, safe and well designed is generally good for physical and mental wellbeing. Having a healthy, productive workforce is an essential ingredient for achieving organisational success. 

Make the business case for investing in health and wellbeing and invest in the health of your workers

Organisations can mitigate the risks of poor health by developing workplaces conducive to health and wellbeing and by encouraging staff to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Research shows good worker health and wellbeing boosts organisational health, including financial health.

Investments in employee health and wellbeing need to be strategically targeted to ensure they are effective.

Organisations must first understand the:

  • demographics of their employees
  • key risks to the organisation
  • how to tailor a program to their needs.

Risk factors that may be targeted by health and wellbeing interventions include:

  • physical inactivity such as increasing sedentary work
  • poor psychosocial work environment
  • smoking
  • alcohol use
  • poor nutrition.

Workplace health and wellbeing programs  provides further guidance on how to design, implement and evaluate effective programs that promote and support the health of workers.

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Page last updated: 14 May 2014