Why work­ing is healthy

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OC­CU­PA­TIONAL physi­cians have joined forces to high­light the pos­i­tive ef­fect work can have on an in­di­vid­ual’s phys­i­cal and emo­tional well­be­ing.

The Royal Aus­tralasian Col­lege of Physi­cians and Aus­tralasian Fac­ulty of Oc­cu­pa­tional and En­vi­ron­men­tal Medicine’s Aus­tralasian Con­sen­sus State­ment also re­veals the health ben­e­fits of work on the com­mu­nity.

AFOEM pres­i­dent Dr Robin Chase says the state­ment is ‘‘only a step­ping stone in the jour­ney’’ to achiev­ing the health ben­e­fits of work.

‘‘We have a shared de­sire to im­prove the wel­fare of in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties and strong con­vic­tions that we all play our part. We hope the con­sen­sus state­ment will fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther dis­cus­sion about how this is best achieved in Aus­tralia,’’ Dr Chase says.

‘‘This is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant at a time when we are strug­gling to close the gap be­tween in­dige­nous and non-in­dige­nous Aus­tralians.’’

The con­sen­sus state­ment pro­vides sup­port to re­search that has found long-term work ab­sence, work dis­abil­ity and un­em­ploy­ment have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on a worker’s health and well­be­ing and work is an ef­fec­tive means of re­duc­ing poverty and so­cial ex­clu­sion.

It also sup­ports re­search that work prac­tices, work­place cul­ture and work-life bal­ance are key to health, well­be­ing and pro­duc­tiv­ity and good out­comes are more likely when an in­di­vid­ual un­der­stands the health ben­e­fits of work and are em­pow­ered to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own sit­u­a­tion.

The state­ment has been sup­ported by the Busi­ness Coun­cil of Aus­tralia, the Na­tional Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­nity Con­trolled Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Royal Aus­tralian Col­lege of Gen­eral Prac­ti­tion­ers, state work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion authorities as well as many med­i­cal and al­lied health or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Work has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on em­ploy­ees’ phys­i­cal and emo­tional well­be­ing.

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