Supporting staff to live well

Article image - Supporting staff to live well Yoga and pilates are encouraged and further programs may soon be available.

In March 2017, Northern Beaches Council in New South Wales introduced a Health and Wellbeing policy to support its people and enhance productivity, support an ageing workforce, and lower stress and absenteeism.

Council Chief Executive Mark Ferguson said the initiative offers financial and fitness incentives to counter the effects of occupational sitting time and improve employee health, happiness and relationships.

“By nurturing the wellbeing of our people, many of whom are local residents, we hope to lead other employers by example and ensure an active, healthy community.

“Happy employees are more likely to be healthy and effective workers, which means increased output and even better service for the public,” Mr Ferguson said.

Key features of the program include: reimbursement for physical wellness initiatives: such as club memberships or sports events entry fees such as fun runs; free swimming pool access; two onsite gyms; and a free, confidential counselling service for employees and their immediate families.

Over 320 Wellness claims have been processed in 2017, demonstrating a great uptake of the reimbursement for physical wellness initiative.

In addition, Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton and Warringah Aquatic Centres records show between 100-120 visits by Council employees per month, equating to many hours of physical activity and kilometres swum.

Under the policy, Council is also considering a number of other programs such as routine health checks, influenza vaccinations, yoga and pilates classes and team-based activities.