It's an established fact that a healthier workforce is a happier and more productive workforce. Keeping your staff able-bodied translates directly to better business outcomes in everyday operations, but we still have a problem when it comes to health in Australia.
Many companies are taking steps to ensure that the impact of these issues is minimal, but they could be ignoring one of the most useful tools that the average worker has right in their pockets: the smartphone application. According to one Deloitte survey from 2015, almost 80 per cent of the population of Australia has a smartphone: The infrastructure is already in place, all your business needs to do is capitalise on some of the useful health-based apps that are already on the market, many of them free to use.
Healthier behaviour could have better outcomes for your corporate health insurance too. Let's take a look at how some of the major issues plaguing Australian employees could be solved with an application.
1) Promoting healthy habits: Habitica
When you think of video games or other electronic entertainment, you might immediately start imagining a teenager sitting in their bedroom with controller in hand. While that demographic is certainly represented heavily in the video game industry, you might be surprised to learn that the average age of a "gamer" in Australia is 33, according to a survey from Bond University and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association.
Video games aren't just being played by young people any more, and the likelihood is that a lot of your coworkers enjoy a pixelated jaunt now and then. The free app Habitica takes advantage of this shared pass time, and uses common video game mechanics to encourage player-defined good behaviour – including healthy activity. What's more, this app can be used in conjunction with other players, meaning everyone in the office can get involved: something that studies have shown increases success rates in healthy behaviour such as exercise.
2) Tackling obesity: MyFitnessPal
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that almost two thirds of the adult population is overweight or obese. Considering the sedentary lifestyle of many people, particularly those who work in offices, its understandable why the workplace could be considered the primary battlefield when it comes to fight back against obesity.
Diet and exercise are the keys here. Standing desks can certainly help with the latter part, as can a company-sponsored gym membership, but some people may find it easier to control their calorie intake than to increase the amount of exercise they are doing. MyFitnessPal provides comprehensive calorie-tracking as well as nutritional information for a large amount of different foods across a variety of Australian brands. Once again, it is free to use and can also be shared with other people in the office.
3) Defeating RSI: Stand Up! Work Break Timer
Regular breaks at work aren't just important for mental health and concentration, but also integral for anyone who wants to avoid widespread repetitive strain injury among their workforce.
Rather than having to rely on therapeutic cover on your business health insurance, a simple app that reminds people to take a break, have a walk, stretch, get a drink of water and so on could be enough to reduce the number of frequent issues you have to deal with. It's a small adjustment that could result in a happier, healthier workforce. The app just makes it easier.
However, there are some healthcare problems that not even the most advanced app could help you deal with. For those instances, it's best to focus on quality business health insurance cover. You can find out your options at HICA by calling us on 1300 44 22 01.