Economics means one thing to the specialist and another to the general public. When most people hear the word “economics”, they think it has to do with the management of money. In particular, “the economics of occupational health” suggests for many little more than “how can better working conditions be made profitable for business?”
In a recent study called “Health and the Economy: The Impact of Wellness on Workforce Productivity in Global Markets,” the economic cost of productivity losses due to ill health around the world, is estimated. That report is the first of its kind to examine productivity losses that arise from absenteeism, presenteeism, and early retirement. It finds that, in developed and developing economies alike, economic costs related to lost productivity are high and projected to increase, threatening to impose heavy burdens on businesses, governments, and individuals now and in the coming years.
According to leading experts, “This report is a wake-up call. It shows that the costs related to lost productivity due to ill health are significant and rising” and suggests that if we were to succeed in combating the real challenges posed by modern disease, governments, civil societies, and businesses across the globe must integrate their expertise and resources in support of health and wellness, both in- and outside of the workplace.
The RMI is the indisputable leading voice for the retail motor industry and played, amongst others, a key role in the establishment and propagation of occupational health and wellness in the Industry. It was the pivotal driver in the establishment of the MotoHealth Care Fund back in 2007, and through a number of Trustees serving on the Board of the Fund, continues to promote the concept of “Taking care of our own”.
MotoHealth Care represents the pinnacle of layered medcare initiatives, focussed on benefit options tailor-made for the specific demands and needs of employers and employees in the Industry, alike. For less than R2 000.00 per month (income dependent), MotoHealth Care can provide excellent medical aid cover for a principle member, adult dependent and two minor dependents (with a tax credit of R1,014.00 per month) – which represents exceptional value for money, when one considers the value that good health represents to business and the economy.
Businesses that implement workplace health and wellbeing programs, including medical aid cover, are known to have:
- increased employee morale and engagement;
- improved corporate image;
- reduced workplace injuries and associated expenses;
- increased attraction and retention of employees; and
- increased productivity.
When one considers these benefits, it’s tempting to think that workplace health will be the answer to all business problems. Of course, that’s not the case. Changing workplace culture takes time and persistence, and you can’t expect all of these benefits in the short term. A more realistic scenario might look like the following:
Putting employee health and wellbeing at the forefront of your agenda however, is one of the smartest moves you can make for your business, and I would urge every one of the RMI’s Members that have not already done so, to seriously consider providing good health care benefits for their employees. It makes business sense.