Encouraging personal health goals
Kempsey Shire Council in New South Wales has launched a health and wellbeing program as a way to encourage its staff to lead healthy lifestyles and set personal health goals.
The program ‘Wellbeing – It starts with you’ covers the importance of physical activity, healthy eating, healthy weight, mental health and wellbeing, smoking, alcohol consumption, general health awareness and volunteering.
Team Leader Human Resources, Jennifer Smith, said the program complements Council’s existing Work Health and Safety Management System.
“The program was launched in June during Men’s Health Week where male employees had the opportunity to enjoy a barbecue breakfast and connect with a range of local health providers such as physiotherapists, dieticians, personal trainers and local sporting clubs,” she said.
“Female employees had a similar opportunity during Women’s Health Week in September, where a healthy buffet lunch was provided.”
Employees were surveyed to gauge what they wanted in their program. As a result, employees have the ability to sign up to a range of services such as a Fitness Passport which allows staff to access a wide range of their local health and fitness suppliers such as gyms and aquatic centres, at an affordable price.
Other initiatives include “Let’s move to start our day” with a core conditioning program to strengthen core muscles targeted at improving strength for operational staff, “Kilometre club” staff walking groups and lunchtime swimming groups.
“We understand that our employees lead busy lives and prioritising exercise and healthy eating can often be challenging,” Ms Smith said.
“Having a wellness program is a great way for councils to encourage their staff and to provide them with the skills and contact points to set personal health goals, identify health and wellbeing problem areas and provide them with solutions for successful lifestyle change.”
Ms Smith said councils should acknowledge that the wellbeing of their staff is an important factor in the success of the organisation.
“Having a healthy and vibrant workplace improves council’s bottom line in relation to increasing staff productivity and decreasing sick leave and absenteeism,” she said.
“It is hoped that overall the program we have introduced will provide positive benefits not only for our employees but will result in better health outcomes for their families and the wider community.”