Seqwater's wellbeing program, Be Healthy Be Wealthy is a planned, structured and holistic program enabling all staff to access information and initiatives to improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Seqwater recognised that it could help prevent lifestyle-related disease by managing risk factors, and that business benefits could be achieved by having a healthier workforce.
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Work health – strengthens your business
Healthier. Happier. Workplaces
Tracy Co and Joseph Meissner
My name is Tracy Co. I'm the Injury Management and Health Programme Coordinator at Seqwater. Seqwater is the Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority providing drinking water to South East Queensland meaning we manage the catchments, dams and water treatment plants.
Some of the facilities available to staff at Seqwater is that there are bike racks, shower facilities. At our head office we do aim to have healthy food options available and – and we have visual prompts about wellness, nutrition and physical activity in our lunch rooms and work environment.
We've seen significant benefits from our programme. We've seen that our insurance premium rates are the lowest they've ever been and they're actually defying market trend and CPI as well. So we're really proud of that and that tells us that we're certainly not injuring our staff and we're looking after them. We're also very proud of our absenteeism rate is very, very low in Seqwater which means everybody's available to do their job, to come to – to work healthy and leave work in – in a better condition if possible than they arrived in.
One of the key initiatives that we have at Seqwater is our annual health and wellbeing assessments. This is where we derive our health and wellbeing data and information about where our health risks hotspots lie so we can strategically develop initiatives which are targeted and specific to the health risks identified.
Some examples of our initiatives include our annual 10,000 Steps Challenge, the free Quit Smoking programme available through the Queensland Government, our annual skin checks and flu vaccination programme, a nutrition cooking workshop as well as a range of other programmes which target the SNAPO Risk Factors.
Because health and wellbeing is part of Seqwater's Safety Management System it is integrated in the way we manage health and safety at work and it is easier to keep wellness on the agenda through visible CEO, Board and management commitment.
I would fully support any business introducing a health and wellbeing programme into their management system and making it a crucial part of that system. The good part about integration is in tough economic times that programmes like these aren't able to be cut, they're not considered nice to have or an add on. If they're embedded into your programmes and the fruits of the programmes are being seen by senior levels of management and boards they show how easy it is to integrate it and how important they are as part of an overall holistic work health and safety and wellbeing programme.
I think strong leadership is fundamental in establishing a wellness programme, having leaders who are wellness role models but also having that visible commitment to work health and wellbeing. Also being passionate about wellness and being persistent is also really important.
We're looking at expanding and growing our health and wellbeing programme in Seqwater as well. We're not only just going to expand our frontline services like our skin checks and flu vacs and things like that, but we're actually going to initiate new programmes and try and tackle mental health in the workplace as well as feedback from our annual health surveys concentrating on new risk factors that may come along and then developing strategies to be able to deal with those and tackle those in the workplace as well, allowing people to take those benefits back to their families as well.
Some of the unexpected benefits that we've got as a result of our programme is simple things like our skin check programme now saving two people's lives. You know, they had melanomas removed from that programme. The weight loss achieved by our staff members has been incredible as well and the uptake of our programme has really surprised me and it's really a self-moving machine now. We've got momentum and we really want to keep it going.
A piece of advice I'd offer to workplaces looking to establish a work health and wellbeing programme is to use the Healthy Worker Initiative website and the Five Steps to Workplace Wellness Guide which will really provide a structured and useful approach in developing a wellness programme. Also there are a range of free existing resources and community groups and agencies out there to tap into.
On a personal level for me it's been an amazing journey to be a part of our transformation. I now have realised that you know, as even a senior manager in the business you can affect people's lives every day.
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