Wellbeing or just well-meaning? When work and health collide

What’s the general mood in your lunchroom? Are we talking shiny, happy people or hunched, miserable corporate drones? A recent survey by Medibank suggests it’s probably a pretty even split.

According to Medibank’s survey of thirteen industries, 44% of employees felt work compromised their physical or mental health in one way or another. Of the respondents, 54% said work impacted their physical health while 40% said it affected their mental health. The survey spanned health workers, government employees and transport staff as well as employees in finance, hospitality, power services, mining and construction, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, education and professional services.

What does it all mean? The survey showed generally poor participation in workplace health programs (52%) – but it’s unclear whether this is because of lack of awareness or lack of interest. The good news is that, of those who participated in a workplace health and wellbeing program, 77% cited a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

The challenge for employers, then, appears to be engagement. As with any staff programs, they’re only as successful as their promotion. If you have something in place, make sure you raise the profile of your workplace health program – it’s clear they can have a significant effect on how staff perceive their working life and its impact on their health and wellbeing.