Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Synergetic

Managers lead by example at this small software company in Victoria by allowing flexible work hours for physical activity at lunchtime and provide exercise equipment and weekly fruit bowls at work.

Why did Synergetic implement a workplace health program?

  • To achieve better health outcomes for its employees;
  • To reduce overall sick leave and absenteeism; and
  • To boost employee morale and thereby improve retention and productivity.

Synergetic’s workplace health activities include;

  • Promotes physical activity at lunch times and outside of work hours through activities such as walking, running, swimming, football, cycling and tennis;
  • Allows time flexibility so staff can exercise at lunch time;
  • Purchased exercise balls for back stretching and mild exercises;
  • Seminars on eating well, exercise and stress management;
  • Fruit provided every week;
  • Subsidised Synergetic cycling and running tops; and
  • Web-based portal with accessible health information.

Synergetic’s Strategy

Synergetic has offered health checks and flu shots to its employees for a number of years. In early 2011, the Chief Operating Officer at Synergetic saw an opportunity to broaden the scope of the company’s workplace health program and applied for a WorkSafe Victoria grant.

Like many office workers in Australia, most of Synergetic’s employees spend long periods of time at their desk in front of the computer. One of the goals of the program was therefore to promote organised physical activity at lunch time and outside of work hours. Activities include walking, running, swimming (at the local swim centre which is a five minute drive away), kicking the football, cycling and tennis. This is encouraged formally by allowing staff time to exercise at lunch time and informally by some managers leading by example.

The company is investigating ways to provide shower facilities. This has been problematic due to the cost and available space in the building. For the time being, employees are able to use showers across the road in the tennis club where Synergetic has a corporate membership.
Another aspect of the program was the introduction of a web-based portal. The portal had included an ‘ask the doctor’ function, where employees could confidentially send an email and request professional medical advice. The portal also contained useful information about health, nutrition and exercise. However after 12 months of usage staff were surveyed and most staff advised that they did not use the portal, theportal is still offered to key HR, work health and safety staff.

Benefits

Although the program is still in the early stages of implementation, employee feedback has been positive. In the future, Synergetic has and will continue to obtain structured feedback from staff on how the program is functioning and hopes that it will demonstrate a happier and healthier workforce.

About Synergetic

Synergetic is a small software company, situated in Victoria, with 39 employees that develops and implements administration software for schools and colleges, primarily in Australia and New Zealand but with a growing international presence. The company also provides helpdesk support and training for users of the software.