PHYSICAL INACTIVITY is costing the Australian economy $13.8 billion a year, recent research has found.
Commissioned by Medibank Private and conducted by KPMG-Econtech, the research found that physical inactivity can impact on employee productivity by causing increased absenteeism and presenteeism, which impose direct economic costs on employers.
Specifically, the overall average labour productivity loss caused by physical inactivity corresponds to a direct loss of 1.8 working days per worker per year for an average Australian worker, or a cost of about $458 per employee per year.
“Like other health risk factors,physical inactivity can have an adverse effect on organisations as well as individuals,” said Craig Bosworth, industry affairs manager for Medibank Private.
“There are over 7 million Australians in full-time employment, each of whom spends over half of their waking hours in the workplace, so there can be no doubt the workplace has a role to play in employee health.”
In recent years, he said this simple fact has led to the realisation among business leaders that by helping their employees manage and reduce health risks within the organisation, the business will realise tangible benefits.
“This trend will likely increase in the future,” said Craig Bosworth. “Organisations that are proactive in their support for employee health and wellbeing by adopting a workplace health and wellbeing program will enjoy lower rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, and therefore increased productivity. This improved performance flows directly through to the bottom line.”