Business vitality – How a healthy workplace can lead to a better bottom line

Business vitality - How a healthy workplace can lead to a better bottom line


A tired, unmotivated workforce is an expensive liability for companies of any size. We are faced with two expensive issues – employees being at work and not being productive or not being at work at all. A 2013 study found that:

Over 88 million days are lost to the Australian economy due to absenteeism, at a cost of $27.5 billion per annum in sick leave costs and lost productivity. Organisations who responded to the survey reveal the cost to their business was $2741 per employee per annum. 

The total cost of presenteeism to the Australian economy was estimated to be $34.1 billion.   

According to a KPMG report, anxiety and depression became the primary burden for disease for Australian women in 2003. 

It’s time to get back to basics and give staff a reason to step up personally and professionally, with accountability and a shared sense of purpose. 

There are 3 key pillars on how you can build business vitality for your people and your bottom line:


Be Relevant: Identify Your Core Culture [don’t just adopt someone else’s]


Understand the real culture versus the promoted one: Not what is on the mission statement but actually happening on a day to day basis. Do a quick chemistry check via your leadership teams.

Ask your managers to consider what the real roadblocks are, based on your organisation’s structure, location and way of interacting with employees.  Keep it simple and don’t bury this process in paperwork

For example: 

  • Personal approach: do you know the names of most of the people who work for you, do their managers know more about them than just their skills and expertise?
  • Engagement: lack of connection to the job and the company – are they proud to work for you?
  • Fear of speaking up: Is it safe for employees to share personal wins/challenges and road-blocks with their direct management? Are they suffering from fear of showing weakness or asking for help outside of the role description?
  • Highly trained yet underperforming: Why…? If this is common in your workplace, then the reason is not your employees.
  • The silo effect: shift work and procedure overload – do you employees feel like a number, not part of a team?
  • Exhaustion: are they under resourced and overworked? Do they think they are? Why?
  • Guilt: Do they feel that they can’t ever be away from their desk?

Start understanding your people off paper. It’s no use given someone a gym membership for a year at lunchtimes if the culture is not there to support them leaving their desk and using it.


Reinforce The Culture:


Encourage and display the importance of work / life choices, not just work / life balance, and reinforce that everyone inside the organisation is part of the company’s success. 

  • Bring business and personal performance together on one sheet for reviews. Do employees share their personal goals on wellbeing and development with you and how can you support them?
  • Are leaders connected to and respected by their teams. If leadership can’t demonstrate by example then don’t expect their staff to do it without them.
  • Start referring to winning weeks rather than winning years. A winning week is crucial for an incredible year – in order to be productive individuals must plan health and fitness, friends/family responsibilities, ME time, as well as admin and productivity.
  • It’s not about over-sharing every personal detail, but taking into account the hours at work, school pick-ups, planning fitness into the day, and making time for personal development and space to be creative. Are your staff being accountable for managing their own time?
  • Be transparent. Start with senior and middle managers – often this level in the organisation do not want to show vulnerability, and lack productivity. Encourage your leaders to be more authentic, share challenges and come up with examples on how they can run their own weeks more efficiently.

It’s all connected. Choose your common language and keep using it. 


Reward the change


Said by some, done by none. The biggest challenge most organisations have is creating personal goals for your organisation that can be applied to everyone and maintained in the long-term. For many people, being at work takes up the majority of their waking time, they’re often spending more time with clients and colleagues than with their own families.

Engage your teams to step up, look at their weeks differently and actually be motivated to perform in all areas of life. Identify how will you reward your staff for stepping up and participating – keep it simple and make it frequent:

  • Start with VERY simple milestones that make it OK for people to trust sharing personal wellbeing goals and challenges. Build in health and wellbeing, positive mindset shares into Weekly team reviews – I call these “vitality shares”.
  • Identify workplace vitality elements – access to fresh air, filtered water, personal connectivity – even if they’re working from home or off site, healthy food choices, and the use of basic language in team meetings, such as health and fitness goals, alongside admin and productivity.
  • Be Consistent: Less grand gestures, more daily attention to the cause.  Understand the timing required to build trust, and implement effectively.
  • Identify Wellness or Vitality Champions in each team who will manage and own the process as part of their role profile, and keep reviewing and reminding everyone of the pillars.
  • Review stretch goals and milestones on productivity in KPIS sessions. Share the results across the organisation. 

As you lead a company, you are not only able to make a positive impact on your bottom line but also create a positive impact on the lives of those who work with you, and for you. Eliminate convoluted wellness programs and think how you can create a vitality program that is relevant to your company, it’s demographic, workplace behaviours and management. If it’s truly important to your bottom line you need to make personal vitality a part of your business plan and create a workforce that is healthy, wealthy and wise. 


Nikki Fogden-Moore specialises in private coaching for high achievers to bring business and personal vitality to life.She runs tailored corporate vitality programs, writes regularly for several business magazines and has been running leadership and private retreats and workshops for over a decade internationally. Visit


Article originally published by Women’s Agenda.


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