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How increasing your focus on employee wellness benefits your business

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Every employer should want to enjoy the overall holistic health, safety and wellbeing of their employees, which is why companies should be looking to integrate company wellness with occupational health and safety standards.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has always been a key priority for big industry, not just to meet legislative demand, but also to ensure that employees show up at work physically fit and able to fulfil their duties.

But a workforce comprises individuals who are more than simple worker bees. Each employee faces their own personal battles, which is why taking care of your employees’ mental health and wellbeing is as important as taking care of their physical fitness.

This is especially important in a post-Covid environment. Studies show that employees are struggling mentally and emotionally, more so than before the pandemic, and more so in South Africa than in the rest of the world, according to The Mental State of the World Report 2022.

The report, which recorded a 25% increase in anxiety and depressive disorders in the first year post-Covid, ranked South Africa’s mental health among the poorest performing in a list of 64 participating countries. This is indicative of a largely unaffirmed and untreated mental health crisis in South Africa, which has been a key contributor to our struggling workforce and crumbling economy.

The pandemic was a catalyst for the current scourge of mental illness that we’re seeing in the workplace, spurred by work-from-home stress and the financial impact of Covid-19 on individual households.

“Three years down the line, people are still suffering from the anxiety they faced during the pandemic,” says Rodney Premlall, Corporate Sales Manager at Altron HealthTech.

Against this backdrop, there’s never been a better time for companies to integrate employee wellness into their occupational health and safety (OHS) strategy.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) engineering team

Best-in-practice OHS

Premlall believes that there’s always significant advantage when a company prioritises the wellbeing of their employees. Not only does it  result in positive work satisfaction and a healthy-minded workforce, it also improves the overall reputation of an organisation.

“Any organisation that prioritise employee wellbeing is seen as a responsible company that cares for the health and safety of their employees. From a reputation perspective, that’s a big advantage, but it also  helps to retain and attract new skills within an organisation,” notes Premlall.

He adds that, while legislation requires most industries to have occupational health and safety measures in place, best practice would be to integrate a framework for a company wellness solution, like an employee assistance programme (EAP), with the company’s OHS strategy.

“Firstly, we should not be separating OHS and primary health care (PHC). Together, they’re actually very closely linked and part of the same solution. What every company needs from there is an application or platform that facilitates primary healthcare, employee health and safety and corporate wellbeing at one central point,” notes Premlall.

Taking a holistic approach to employee health, Altron HealthTech’s corporate wellness solution (in the form of an EAP) can integrate with its OHS offering, HealthONE Connect. This means that every employee’s holistic health profile, including their mental health information and primary health care information, can be stored, accessed and managed centrally, from one location.

HealthONE Connect is Altron HealthTech’s flagship enterprise electronic health records system that manages the administrative and clinical processes of a company’s OHS and PHC. This solution integrates with internal and external systems, like HR systems, time and attendance systems, medical devices, or pathology and radiology systems. This is especially useful for PHC providers aiming to offer best-in-practice holistic healthcare, especially on behalf of labour-intensive industries. But what about privacy and security? For employees’ whose personal information is on digital record, are electronic health records safe, secure and confidential?

corporate wellness diverse student working on project

Built-in user access rights

From an IT infrastructure perspective, HealthONE Connect boasts state-of-the-art security and data encryption, which ensures that data cannot be leaked or accessed from outside. It’s a secure, web-based, feature rich application that can be customised to specific requirements.

“We take all the necessary precautions when it comes to securing patient data. Moreover, the application itself features different user access rights. This means, for instance, that an admin person who books an appointment on behalf of a patient will only have access to the appointment booking interface, whereas a medical professional (like a nurse or doctor) will have access to the medical records of a patient. The HR department, on the other hand, will have access to an entirely different data set,” explains Premlall.

This is helpful for individuals who may feel hesitant or embarrassed to approach HR or their managers with personal concerns. Integrating corporate wellness, like Altron HealthTech’s EAP solution, into your company’s OHS and PHC platform can bridge the gap for employees, providing a platform that minimises personal contact while addressing individual needs.

“At Altron HealthTech, we believe in the power of corporate wellness. If you invest in the wellbeing of your employees, you’re going to get the right productivity levels, you’re going to get the most out of people in terms of output and collaboration, and you’re going to get a happy staff complement. You can secure the overall general wellbeing of your company in a way that continues to respect your employees’ privacy,” concludes Premlall.

About The Author

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Altron HealthTech, a division of Altron (Pty) Ltd, was founded when MedeMass, MediSwitch, and MedeServe consolidated their offerings to the market in 2016. Collectively, the company has provided innovative solutions to the healthcare industry for over 30 years.

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