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The growing prevalence of chronic physical and mental disease in Australia has been linked to an increase in modifiable risk factors such as poor diet, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, stress and difficulty in dealing with the demands of the workplace (conflict between work and home, longer business hours, higher organizational expectations and less secure terms of employment) (Workplace Wellness in Australia, 2010).
The workplace not only plays a role in the development of chronic disease, but is also heavily burdened with the costs. The cost of absenteeism in Australia is estimated at $7 billion each year, while the cost of presenteeism (not fully functioning at work and loss of productivity because of physical or mental health conditions) is nearly four times more, estimated at almost $26 billion in 2005–06 (Workplace Wellness in Australia, 2010). Experiencing depression was found to result in 5.6 hours of lost productivity time per week, compared to 1.5 hours for non-depressed workers (Stewart et al., 2003). Although presenteeism can be helped somewhat by managers being more aware of the problem and by educating employees, the most important variable is spending to save by providing effective treatment procedures (Hemp, 2004).
In this current state, it is more critical than ever that a key organisational objective is optimising health-related behaviours and wellbeing in the workplace. Individuals can achieve the behaviour change required to address chronic disease if they are supported with the right environment, education and tools.
Mounting evidence demonstrates that Employee Assistance and Wellness Programs represent a solid business investment, making a unique contribution to an organisation’s overall performance across the broad spectrum of today’s workplaces.
Our Employee Assistance and Wellness Programs offer multi-dimensional benefits
In assisting employees to manage psychological issues and the demands of increasingly stressful lives, EAPs have consistently demonstrated provision of the following organisational benefits:
EAPs also play a preventative role, addressing problems before they become so significant that they result in absenteeism, presenteeism, significant accidents, injuries and OH&S issues. Research also indicates that EAP users build coping strategies that may be applied to future issues, and that elements of EAP treatment contributes to better overall job functioning.
Return on Investment
To assess an employer’s financial return on investment, the ‘EAP Business Value Model’ (Attridge & Amaral, 2002) identified three types of potential, financial benefits from EAPs:
Overwhelmingly, current research involving rigorous economic analysis demonstrates that EAPs are highly cost-effective, in terms of savings generated for employers. Some recent data on Return on Investment from EAPs:
The true value of EAP is likely to be underestimated by the Return on Investment data, given the preventative implications of effective EAPs.
Why choose us?
There are a number of EAP providers to choose from. Not all EAPs offer an equal benefit to each workplace and their needs.
Most offer phone and face-to-face counselling. However, there is no guarantee that this service will be provided by a specialised, highly trained health professional who is a member of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Many EAP providers target emotional health and mental resilience. Few acknowledge the relationship between the mind and body or provide services targeting the whole person. Most EAP providers fail to address workplace risk factors for physical ill-health and the drain of physical ill-health to employers. We are passionate about caring for the whole person and the environment in which they work.
The type of professional providing EAP services can impact ROI for the employer and effective outcomes for the employee. All our service providers are highly qualified Health Professionals who only work with evidence-based principles and techniques; increasing the benefit to the employee and employer.
Many big EAPs provide an impersonal, one-size fits all model and service. We offer reasonable costs, low upfront fees and individualised programs that allow small-medium businesses in Sydney city and eastern suburbs to access the plethora of benefits of using an EAP. We care for each individual
We structure comprehensive behavioral health and wellness programs that meet the unique needs and expectations of the organisation. We are dedicated to total employee wellbeing and performance.
There are some clearly identifiable key characteristics of high-performing EAPs.
Organisations should seek and expect their EAP to provide the following best-practice deliverables to maximise their Return on Investment:
We are proud to offer these best practice services.
Just some of our total wellbeing services:
Our Psychology and counselling services are lead by Sydney based Clinical Psychologist, Alysha Casey
Attridge, M. & Amaral T.M. (2002) Making the business case for EAPs with Core Technology. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, Boston, MA, USA.
George E. Hargrave, G. E., Hiatt, D, Alexander, R., & Shaffer, I. A. (2008) EAP Treatment Impact on Presenteeism and Absenteeism: Implications for Return on Investment, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 23:3, 283-293, DOI: 10.1080/15555240802242999. To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15555240802242999
Hemp, P. (2004, October). Presenteeism: At work – but out of it. Harvard Business Review, 1–10.
Hilton, M. Assisting the return on investment of good mental health practices. As cited in Cowan, G., Best practice in managing mental health in the workplace.
Jorgensen, D.G. (2007) Demonstrating EAP value. Journal of Employee Assistance, 37(3), 24-26.
Phillips, S. B. (2004). Client satisfaction with university employee assistance programs, Employee Assistance Quarterly, 19(4), 59–70.
Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2010). Workplace wellness in Australia: Aligning action with aims – optimising the benefits of workplace wellness. Retrieved from: http://www.usc.edu.au/media/3121/WorkplaceWellnessinAustralia.pdf.
Stewart, W. F., Ricci, J. A., Chee, E., Hahn, S. R., & Morganstein, D. (2003). Cost of lost productive work time among US workers with depression. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(23), 3135–3144.
Maher, C. G. (2000) A Systemic review of workplace interventions to prevent low back pain. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 46: 259-269
We are all very aware of the importance of breathing. We need to adequately breathe in order for our bodies to function througout the day, exchange gases and, so we are able to blow someone a kiss (in the spirit of Valentine’s day – a little late, I know)
It never ceases to amaze me when treating a patient, (for example shoulder pain) on how muscle weakness, tightness and compensatory muscle tone can be a result of inadequate breathing patterns and posture.
While texting, people hold their breath. Think of the amount of texts you send and receive every day… Holy moly it’s a lot, right?
This results in your poor neck muscles, such as your sternocleidomastoid and scalenes increasing in muscle tension to compensate. So when you think about it, texting, tindering and trawling through your news feed is a huge contributor to poor breathing and those tight shoulders or yours.
Having your hands on the keyboard and typing results in a dramatic decrease in abdominal expansion when breathing and an increase in scalene and trapezius activity. This is compared to the same sitting posture but with your hands on your lap.
– Lin Apply Psychophysiology, 2009
Holding your breath subconsciously and breathing with your neck and shoulders is very common in our tech-savvy society. I certainly catch myself doing this a lot throughout the day when I am at the desk.
In order to reduce the hyperactivity and hypertonicity of our neck and shoulder muscles we need to be aware when we are doing this.
Breathing exercises aren’t just for the yoga types – they should be a common element of your wellbeing, just like stretching.
Deep breathing benefits:
– decrease in your sympathetic state
– decrease in muscle tone
– decrease in anxiety
Lying on your back with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Taking in a deep breath and feeling for symmetry in the rise of both hands. (your chest and stomach hands should rise at the same time). Try 10 deep breaths
Slow and controlled deep breaths with a pause at exhalation. This helps to train the endurance of your breathing and increase your awareness of any states of short shallow breaths throughout your busy day.
1) Stretching your mid-back: On the floor, lying on your back with a rolled up towel at your shoulder-blade level, taking deep breaths.
2) Bow and arrow stretches: lying on your side, knees bent and arms out straight infront. Pull top arm over and back (like you’re pulling an arrow) and try and get that top shoulder blade to get in contact with the floor. Keeping knees in the same position, this torso twist helps aid your thoracic rotation. Deep breathing throughout the movement is extremely beneficial. Slow and controlled and 1×10 each side.
So next time you’re having a stretch at home or at the gym, counting down the seconds on the microwave or waiting for the ad-breaks to be over; utilise this time to try and counteract that build up of tension your neck and shoulders have endured but doing some of these simple deep breathing exercises.
Hey, you can even throw in a sly ‘Om’ in there at the end for some extra zen.
We are never too busy to look after ourselves, so give it a try and it will amaze you how much you hold your breath and breathe incorrectly throughout the day.
Let me know how you go.