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It is fair to say that the emphasis and interest in workplace wellbeing across Australia is on the rise. Organisations are keen to implement programs that not only look after the wellness of workers but also in return create productive and happy working environments.

Dr Lindsay McMillan is the managing director of Reventure Limited who recently published their sixth report, Workplace Wellbeing, as part of their national campaign a future that works. The report surveyed over 1000 Australian workers and shed some light on what the expectations are and the effectiveness of wellness programs.

In an exclusive interview with OHS.com.au, Dr McMillan discusses what bought about the need for the focus on wellbeing in workplaces and what the expectations are from employees. 

OHS: Why is the focus on wellbeing in the workplace increasing and what bought about the need for this focus?

Dr McMillan: The focus on wellbeing is increasing, with one-quarter of Australian workers noticing this uptake in the last year alone. This is because workplaces are undergoing rapid periods of change and are realising that they should be actively pursuing renewal agendas and addressing these changes.

As technology continues to impact how work is conducted, with work following us home in our pocket, the amount of time people work is increasing. More and more we are seeing that people view work as a calling rather than an occupation.

There is a real risk that employee wellbeing is becoming secondary to work output, which can lead to disengagement, increased stress and other worrying results. It is important to focus on wellbeing and make sure employees are not being disregarded as these changes take place, because ultimately employees are the most important asset an organisation has.

OHS: What expectations do people have from organisations and wellness programs?

Dr McMillan: Our most recent research report, Workplace Wellbeing shows that employees have higher expectations than employers when it comes to what should be done to foster wellbeing.

85% say that employers should proactively address stress; 75% say they should foster a community feeling; 74% say that they should provide access to a counselor and 66% say that they should provide opportunity for physical activity like gym memberships and team sports.

Employees are sending a strong message here that workplace wellbeing is important to them and is a factor in choosing whether to stay or go. Ten per cent of Australian workers will not apply for a job without a wellbeing program.

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