Corporate wellness remains a strong contributor to productivity levels

Bestmed Medical Scheme hosted its inaugural Workplace Wellness Conference today, which aims to provide fresh perspectives on employee well-being in the workplace. The conference focuses on the current health conditions of the South African workforce and how employers can address these conditions through the design and implementation of programmes that support a healthy culture.

According to a research study conducted by Occupational Care South Africa, the leaders in workplace health and wellness in Southern Africa, absenteeism costs the South African economy around R12 -16 billion per annum. An estimated 65% of a company’s health-related costs can be attributed to absenteeism and “presenteeism”.  A strategic, well designed workplace wellness programme can reduce both.

It has become imperative for employers, along with the healthcare fraternity, to design workplace wellness strategies and programmes that create a culture of well-being and assist employees in taking charge of their health and lifestyles. More importantly, employers need to create an environment wherein employees can sustain healthy choices.

“The establishment of a healthy culture requires more than simply convincing people to take better care of themselves. It requires that the organisation – where individuals spend a large portion of their waking hours – creates an environment where leading a healthy lifestyle is the “default” option. The well-being of employees is not only about their physical health, but also about their lifestyle choices and therefore employers are encouraged to ensure that they sufficient wellness programmes are in place”, says Elmarie Jooste, Bestmed Executive Manager: Client Relations and Wellness.

The conference hosted an audience of approximately 200 guests consisting of industry leaders, key stakeholders, employer groups, financial advisers, senior management and employees from various organisations. The speakers included the likes of Zoleka Limakwe (SA Federation for Mental Health); Dr Gerhard Dippenaar (HaloCare) and; Zella Young (LifeSense) who delved into the impact that chronic conditions have on employees and the importance of the creating programmes to assist employees.

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