How is Chronic Disease impacting our workforce?
The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long-lasting and have persistent effects. Chronic diseases have a range of potential impacts on a person’s individual circumstances, including quality of life, social, professional and financial.
Chronic Diseases such as type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers are becoming more prevalent in Australia’s culture. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare stated that “more than 11 million (50%) of Australians reported having at least 1 of 8 chronic diseases in 2014-2015.” This number is growing.
So what puts you at RISK and how is this impacting the workforce?
There are several RISK factors that contribute to chronic disease. Some are considered to be non-modifiable. We can’t change or do anything about them.
• Family History
• Cultural background
Then there are the risk factors that are modifiable that we have control over and can change. These include:
• Waist circumference
• Blood pressure
• Cholesterol levels
There are more RISK factors that we can modify and change than RISK factors we can’t!
If over half of the population is suffering from chronic disease then this will be effecting our workforce. We have a duty of care as employers to manage our staff through education, support and motivation to help reduce their risk of chronic disease and help employee’s lead a disease free and healthy life.
The benefits of having healthy staff are commonsensical. Think about it if just 1 staff member has developed a chronic disease let’s say Type 2 Diabetes. How will this be impacting their work performance? Days taken off due to sickness? Their ability to make important decisions because they feel tired or stressed due to the disease? Their productivity and efficiency on the job carrying the weight of this disease?
So now imagine if half of your staff were affected by a chronic disease? How will this impact upon the rest of the staff? How will this affect your business? How will this be reflected in the profit margins? It’s going to have a significant impact, right? This issue needs to be addressed and managed before it has a significantly negative and detrimental impact upon the health of your employee as well as the health of your business.
Why create a healthy workplace?
Promoting and supporting health in the workplace makes good business sense. By creating a healthy workplace environment you can:
• Increase productivity
• Increase workplace morale and engagement
• Lower insurance premiums and workers compensation claims
• Improve workforce retention
• Demonstrate your commitment to the health and wellbeing of your employees
What can you do?
My recommendation is to have a healthcare professional come into your workplace. Diagnose who is at RISK through assessment and data collection of your team. Determining blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels and an AUSDRISK score of chronic disease. Then medicate the team through a systemized approach that is tailored to the needs of your employees and the health of your business.
How can I make this happen?
Book a free Healthy Lifestyle Session for your organisation. Healthy lifestyle sessions are a free service offered by the Life! Program and organised at a time and location that best suit your staff. Sessions run for approximately 30 – 45 minutes and are delivered by a trained health professional and cover topics such as:
• What is diabetes, heart disease and stroke?
• Healthy eating and weight control;
• Physical activity;
• Reducing stress in daily life; and
• An introduction to Life! — A free healthy lifestyle program.
Contact Christine for a Free Healthy Life! Session in your workplace today.