Workplace physical activity/wellbeing

Position

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries encourages workplaces to have an appropriate corporate health and wellbeing program available for their staff. The benefits to the employer of implementing a successful workplace health and wellbeing program cannot be undervalued.

Purpose

Over 10 million Australians spend an average of eight hours per day in the workplace. The Department recognises that initiatives targeted at the workplace provide a unique opportunity to access a large portion of the adult population (in particular high risk groups), achieve improved physical activity levels and health outcomes, provide participation and lifestyle change opportunities in a supportive environment and ultimately enhance the quality of life of Western Australians.

Key factors

There has been significant increases in the prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity and lifestyle disease in Australia and worldwide. Over the past 50 years, the nature of work and the work-life balance have changed. Today’s working environment contributes to the inactive lifestyles and high levels of stress. The workplace is a key setting to promote and enhance the health and wellbeing of Western Australians and improving the wellness of workers is a vital social and economic priority.

Effective workplace health programs have been shown to improve the health and wellbeing of employees and facilitate organisational changes, such as reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Further benefits include

  • Increased worker morale and engagement
  • Increased team cohesion
  • Improved corporate and recruitment image
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Decrease in workplace injuries and associated expenses.

Implementation

Workplaces require a comprehensive, integrated approach to health promotion in the workplace that enhances the workplace culture and environment and is supported by strong leadership and vision. In today’s workplaces, in order to promote and improve health and wellbeing, the focus should be on the individual, the workplace environment and the people management practices of the organisation.

When implementing a workplace health and well-being program one should:

  • Ensure senior and middle management are committed to the program;
  • Integrate the program with the organisation’s goals and policies;
  • Consult with staff for program planning;
  • Promote safe environments; and
  • Provide participation opportunities and activity sessions.

Implementing workplace health and wellbeing programs can be easy and inexpensive. Examples include;

  • Physical health – organised walks at lunchtime, promoting active travel to meetings and implementing healthy eating policies and food choices;
  • Mental health – yoga, massages, reflexology and meditation; and
  • Educational workshops – exercise and nutrition, mental health, equity and diversity management, resilience and stress management.

Contacts

Manager Human Resources
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Sport and Recreation
Telephone 08 9492 9700

Useful Websites

Healthier Workplace WA

Endorsed      

01 February 2015

Review

01 February 2017