Workplace Wellness Report 2019

The Southern Cross Health Society -Business NZ Wellness Survey has tried to provide a picture of health and wellbeing in the NZ workplace.

ANA takes a brief look at a workplace wellness report published on New Zealand (NZ) workplaces on 22 August 2019. This new report released on 22 August 2019 provides a broad overview of workplace wellness in Aotearoa.

‘We spend 1,900 hours a year at work so it’s important to invest in wellbeing’ says the CEO of Southern Cross Health Society one of the sponsors of the report. The report aims to rebalance the attention from a focus on workplace safety to equal attention on improving staff wellbeing. While this is a worthy aim this report shows there is clearly a long way to go.

With a world-first wellbeing budget this year its great to see this wellbeing report and this report raises issues and confirms that we need to do more in Aotearoa.

Unfortunately, there is an emphasis in the report on absence and sick days which is sickness, not wellness and this sets the tone for the rest of the information presented.   Wellbeing encompasses the physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. This concept is known as Hauora and its clearly missing from this report.

It is pleasing to see data collected on stress, fatigue and mental health in the workplace mainly in larger workplaces, although more than 45 % of workplaces with less than 50 employees have no practice in place to identify mental wellbeing/stress and that’s a concern given NZ is dominated by small businesses with less than 20 employees.

Education and training are highlighted as the larger benefit provided to improve the wellbeing of staff, yet it is a well-known education alone in the absence of supportive environments doesn’t result in long term behaviour change.  ANA would like to see a switch in the figures in the future with an increase in subsided public transport (5%) compared to carparks(40%).

In future surveys, ANA recommends a  greater emphasis on a holistic view of wellness that incorporates a cultural aspect that gives a much richer picture than sick days. Taking a look at enablers such as how many workplaces provide showers, bike parks and encourage active transport to and from meetings as well as healthy catering policies at workplace functions to mention only a few. These types of initiatives have well-researched evidence to clearly demonstrate a benefit to wellness.

ANA encourages you to read the report and make your own judgement on the findings.