Healthy and wiseIn 2013, Marrickville Council commenced an innovative and ambitious 12-month calendar of health and wellbeing events. The Health & Wellbeing Program includes health checks (blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes etc), skin cancer checks, demystifying mental health, Global Corporate Challenge, workplace ethics and conflict, fruit drop, manual handling, flu immunisations, and podiatry assessment (as outdoor workers are constantly on their feet).
To engage staff, the official launch in October featured free massages and smoothies, cooking demonstrations, and Wii Fit downhill skiing and ‘strong man’ competitions. As well, 12 ‘Health & Wellbeing Champions’ – staff who help promote the benefits of activities and seminars available each month – “inject a great deal of enthusiasm and motivation into the workplace,” according to Work Health & Safety and Workers’ Compensation Coordinator Jennifer Cash.
In November, as part of the program, Council invited staff to join the Quit Smoking Program, which ran over six weeks with a 1.5 hours session each week. In February, the Health & Wellbeing Program will launch a Five Week Lifestyle Challenge for those who want to overhaul their health and fitness using goal-setting techniques.
Manager People and Workforce Danny Groth said there were benefits for all involved.
“We have employees who know management cares about their well-being. There’s more positive thinking about how to avoid sickness and stress and more awareness about diet, exercise and staying safe in the sun. But this is not a frivolous expenditure of rates – in fact we fund this from special incentives we have received from our insurer for having top class Work Health and Safety systems.
“Healthy workers take less sick leave so the residents benefit from a more efficient and cost-effective council. We don’t try to take over our employees’ personal health needs and responsibilities. We simply aim to educate and guide so staff are more inclined to follow up with their own medical professionals.
“The Health & Wellbeing Program sends a clear message to our staff, but also to our whole community – that Marrickville Council supports its workforce, and takes its social responsibilities very seriously.”