With employee absenteeism costing South African businesses between R12 – R16 billion each year due to reduced productivity, implementing employee wellness programmes can have significant financial benefits for businesses.
The role of management is vital with regard to employee wellness, with influence that reaches far beyond just instituting and implementing wellness policies. Management’s influence in the workplace also includes supporting and even participating in the wellness programme. When management participates in a wellness programme their employees feel more comfortable to follow suit and derive the benefits of the programme.
A press release put out by UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in March 2016 states, “A new study by UK company Business in the Community shows that managers are even more important to employee’s wellness in the workplace than was previously thought – able to reduce stress and mental distress among their employees, thus leading to a reduction in absenteeism at work. This study says that managers play a vital role in spotting signs of employee stress, anxiety and depression. The report demonstrates a clear link between employee wellbeing and business performance and promotes tools for developing mental health literacy in managers within the workplace.”2
Whatever the root cause, absenteeism is costing South African business and the economy heavily and needs to be addressed. Employers need to take an honest look at some of the reasons why their company may be experiencing a loss in productivity or increased absenteeism, particularly as this may be due to an unhappy workforce or an ailing company.
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