Wellness at work
Cityfit General Manager, Alisha Pollard and Marketing Coordinator, Lisa Ditchfield presented to the Bathurst Chamber of Commerce during August on the impact of ‘Wellness at Work’.
They demonstrated how introducing simple forms of exercise and healthy initiatives will have a positive impact on the profitability of a business.
“Research has shown that a healthy employee will take on average 2 days sick leave per year, compared to 18 days of absence from an unhealthy employee” said Alisha. (1)
“Based on these figures a healthy employee takes 85% less sick leave,” she added.
“Anyone that has or manages a business understands the impact of an employee being unwell, the pressure it puts on other team members and your ability to meet deadlines or manage your day.”
“We are not suggesting that people should feel guilty for being unwell and the last thing we want is people to go to work when they are sick – what we are focussed on is helping an employee become healthier and minimising their risk of getting sick to start with.
In addition to reduced absenteeism a healthy employee performs better, is more effective and has an improved ability to handle stress in the work place. (1)
“A lot of this relates back to the impact that exercise will have on your brain and emotions,” said Alisha.
“Exercise promotes the production of some heavy hitting hormones, Serotonin, the happy hormone, Dopamine, which affects learning and attention and Norepinephrine which impacts attention, perception, motivation and arousal.”
A recent 8 week clinical trial run with employees of a Melbourne software company showed, “that there is a clear link between physical fitness and brain function, and reduced stress levels at work,” according to Professor Paul Taylor of Swinburne University’s Brain Sciences Institute, who lead the trial. (2)
During the trial 50 employees were divided into two groups. One group was instructed to walk 10,000 steps a day and head to the gym for three resistance training sessions per week. The other group was directed to walk the 2,000-3,000 steps (the average distance for an office worker).
The exercise group showed a 4% increase in overall brain function. Brain function was measured in terms of ability to plan, remember, make decisions, and stay alert, as well as stress and anger levels. Productivity increases were calculated at $2,500 per employee per year.
“The interesting part of the study is that these participants were doing a short, simple exercise program, they were walking and doing resistance exercises and still felt a positive effect,” said Alisha.
“Which nullifies one of the biggest reasons why people don’t exercise, they believe they don’t have the time.”
“In our presentation we demonstrated how exercise will actually create time in your day, through increased efficiency and better health,” said Alisha.
Alisha and Lisa also addressed the two other biggest hurdles to exercise, lack of motivation and affordability.
Alisha said that motivation comes from understanding exercise, the stages of change and planning for hurdles.
Lisa said there is a strong case for business people to invest in exercise both for themselves and their employees; because the greater levels of productivity, creativity and positive work culture is a competitive edge that every business should strive for.
1. The Health of Australia’s workforce, November 2015, Medibank Private Study.
2. Swinburne Brain Science Institute June 2015 Clinical Trial.