Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Why a Healthy Workplace?

image of fruit bowl

What is a workplace health program?

A workplace health program is an activity or range of activities that aim to support and promote the health of employees.

A workplace health program can be something simple and low cost, like providing fruit at work or providing opportunities for physical activity at lunchtimes, or it can be used to describe something more complex, like developing a healthy catering policy.

This web site contains a range of Australian and international resources that can be drawn on to create a healthier workplace. For more information on how to create a healthier workplace, see the ‘Creating Your Own Healthier Workplace’ section.

What are the benefits of a healthy workplace?

Healthy workplaces can help to make businesses more productive and employees more engaged. Therefore, promoting and supporting health in the workplace is not only common sense, but it makes good business sense too.

Here are some facts and figures about the positive benefits a workplace health program could have in the workplace:
  • It has been estimated that the healthiest Australian employees are three times more productive at work than their colleagues1
  • The increase in preventable disease and workplace injury resulting from unhealthy living is a major cause of workplace absence or disruption2
  • Lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, inactivity and excess body weight can contribute to time away from work .
  • Loss in productivity due to obesity through absenteeism, attending work when sick and premature death is estimated to cost $6.4 billion a year.

Benefits of a healthy workplace for employers:

  • Improved work performance and productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism and sick leave
  • Decreased incidence of attending work when sick (presenteeism)
  • Decreased frequency and cost of workers’ compensation
  • Improved staff morale, satisfaction and motivation
  • Improved corporate image and attraction/retention of employees
  • Increased return on training and development investment
  • Improved employee engagement and employee relationships

Benefits of a healthy workplace for employees:

  • Increase in health awareness and knowledge
  • Increase in physical health and mental wellbeing
  • Improved morale, job satisfaction and motivation
  • Improved opportunities for a healthier lifestyle
  • Greater capacity to enjoy life both in and outside the workplace

Creating your own Healthy Workplace

Find out more about creating your own healthy workplace.

1 Medibank Private (2005) The Health of Australia’s Workforce,
2 Medibank Private (2005) The Health of Australia’s Workforce,