Statement by Heather Ridout
The Australian Industry Group is calling on all employers to lead by example by taking part, and encouraging their staff to take part, in national Walk to Work Day this Friday, 7 October 2005.
Participation is as simple as walking all or part of the way to work. This could include getting off the bus or train a few stops early and walking the rest of the way, walking up stairs where possible throughout the day, or even taking a half-hour walk at lunchtime.
Walk to Work Day aims to promote regular walking as a healthy activity; to reduce our reliance on cars; to promote and improve the use of public transport; and to improve our air quality by reducing unnecessary vehicle emissions (thus reducing global warming).
Apart from the many other obvious social and economic benefits derived from having healthy employees, active transport (walking and cycling) and workplace physical activity programs have been shown to greatly reduce sick leave and increase productivity.
Poor health is a major factor in people stopping work and taking extended sick leave, as well as decisions around early retirement.
Time off due to illness often means that not only is the output of the individual employee diminished, but the productivity of the entire workplace is affected due to the need to duplicate skills and knowledge so that others can fill the gap.
Deteriorating health has also been said to strongly influence the retirement expectations and decisions of employees, far stronger perhaps than income or wealth.
Ai Group encourages all Australian employers to get involved in Walk To Work Day this Friday and to reap the benefits of a healthy workforce.
Heather Ridout, Chief Executive, Ai Group: 02 9466 5504
Stephanie Witts, Ai Group: 02 9466 5420