The “True Cost” of ignoring Wellness

12 August 2020 Giles Keay

Edit True Cost Ignoring Wellness

5 Statistics showing the “True Cost” of ignoring Wellness in the Workplace

For those of you who have read my previous articles you would know that I have a very personal passion for wellbeing and mental health and ensuring that the conversation around it continues to happen both in the work place, schools and at home. I recently published an article on LinkedIn on behalf of my 15-year-old daughter, focused on Mental Health and the feedback was incredible once again with over 6500 views.It also highlighted the fact to me that most younger generations are so far ahead in their understanding of the impact and devastation that it can have on individuals and families.It is impressive how advanced and transparent conversations are within this age group and how schools have such massive support for this key issue.

So back to the workplace…… and how we are dealing with it.

Have you ever considered the actual cost of ignoring wellbeing as a key issue?

What is great about the fact that it is now at the forefront of people’s mind is that the research available and hard statistics are now visible to back up what has often in the past been considered the “nice to have” or the
“fluffy” part of getting business done.We can now prove in hard dollars what impact it can have.

I have outlined five statistics which I believe are most alarming from the research undertaken. In many cases it appears that the emphasis is on the business itself and of course that is often the case and the culture should always be driven from the top.However, I also believe that every employee has a responsibility in ensuring a commitment to wellbeing and in fact at Constructive we have made it a tangible part of every employee’s professional development program.


Stat No. 1

Organisations Implementing Health and Wellbeing Strategies report increases of 12-30%, (1,2) in productivity let’s take this key fact and think about what that means for dollars! In a sales business you could simply multiply your sales by this and see a dramatic rise in results, in an engineering firm multiply the hours worked by this number to see the increase in billable hours or efficiency of completing projects and being able to take on more. The result to the bottom line would be incredible!

Stat No 2

Employees stress and health factors increase by up to 56% if ignored (3),imagine your workforce having half the days off sick that they currently have and multiply that across the whole business in relation to the productive hours that can be achieved. In a company of 100 staff taking an average of 10 days a year each this would create an extra 440 days which is equivalent to having 1.5 additional staff members on board without having to pay any extra wages!

Stat No 3

In poorly run businesses where wellbeing is not addressed the number of disengaged employees is twice as high (2,5)which is seriously hitting the bottom line in relation to productivity but also with simple absenteeism. In Australia alone the cost of both these key issues to organisations has been estimated at a staggering $34 billion a year! (4)How present are employees in your company if you look around the office or site? How often
do you see the same people calling in sick? It is often the same people and the key issue is that unfortunately, both the employer and colleagues who all share a responsibility to each other for wellbeing, often don’t address what is causing that disengagement and merely just resent it or reprimand them.

Stat No 4

Creativity and Innovation is increased by over 50% (5) with employees who are engaged and looked after at work. For engineering and construction firms where slight design changes and decisions can make the difference between millions of dollars on a project, focusing on increasing the innovation of staff and the team could have ground-breaking impacts throughout.

The human brain is still the most powerful computer in the world and when combined with the ability for creating new ideas and concepts and solving issues and problems through innovation the impact is substantial.So next time you are sat around the table trying to come up with a solution to an issue the project team is facing, look around and consider if everyone is in the right mind frame, free of stress … full of capacity… to be able to think….

Stat No 5

One of the greatest costs to a business is having a high staff turnover, this is one of the most direct costs of poor investment by a business in staff wellbeing. The current estimates are that you are 4 times more likely to lose talent (5,6)and if you consider the cost of rehiring (estimated somewhere between $5-10,000), training and on boarding (estimated at 3 months’ pay of the new employee before they are up to speed and 1 month of other personnel to help train). This statistic on its own forms an extremely scary proposition and it is almost madness not to have it at the forefront of any organisation to immediately attempt to quarter the cost of rehiring which comes straight off the bottom line.

So, there are my top 5 reasons for why we all need to consider well being and what the true impact and cost of ignoring it can be. Imagine these 5 simple points being addressed and improved in your workplace and what difference it could make between being average or GREAT!




1 The future@work health report: Employees and their workplace. Leighton Properties and Grosvenor Australia. Wesley Corporate Health (2008).

2 Business Case for Well-Being: The ‘Why’ Behind Well-being. Building a strong and strategic business case for employee well-being programs. Benz Communications and Virgin Pulse (2015)

3 McCarthy, G.,Almeida, S., & Ahrens, J. (2011). Understanding employee well-being practices in Australian organizations. International Journal of Health, Wellness & Society, 1 (1), 181-198

4 Sick at Work The cost of presenteeism to your business and the economy. Medibank (2011)

5 Wellness and Productivity Management. Sims, J. (2010). Health and Productivity Congress.

6 The Wellness Imperative: Creating More Effective Organizations. The World Economic Forum in partnership with Right Management (2010)