What Is The First Step to Mitigating Emotional and Financial Costs of Strokes in the Workforce?

A company’s employee—let’s call him John—has a stroke. The poor bloke collapses at work and within the hour is in intensive care. 

The incident is traumatic for John’s family, colleagues, and the larger community. To support those affected, the company rolls out several initiatives. It promises short-term financial security for the family, counselling for colleagues, education and psychological services for employees at large. 

The result is emotional and financial drain as the company attends to the crisis while continuing to carry out the necessary day-to-day operations. A mighty task, indeed. 

Identifying risk of stroke in the workplace

The ordeal is often termed a shock incident. But the truth is, it’s usually not a surprise. Here’s what we mean. John’s in his 60s, has a high-stress job, has high blood pressure, is overweight and is inactive.

In the field of stroke research, he’s in what is called the high-risk category. When one is in such a category, it isn’t a matter of if he’ll have a stroke. Rather, a matter of when

Unfortunately, John’s not an isolated case. 

The cost of strokes for employers and society at large

John represents a fair chunk of workers in Australia’s mining services industry. In 2020 alone, strokes cost: 

  • Individuals and families 1.93 billion
  • Society and community 1.02 billion.
  • Governments 2.83 billion
  • Employers 247 million

The productivity costs of strokes in men over 55 alone total 1.5 billion annually. What’s more, the endemic is preventable. According to Deloitte’s 2020 report on the economic impact of stroke in Australia, more than 80% of strokes in Australia are preventable by managing modifiable risk factors such as hypertension, overweight and obesity.

The opportunity to create better preventable strategies is great. But how do we implement the right strategies?

A simple tool to lower risk of strokes in the workplace

At Optimum, we’ve found companies that are lowering their risk and getting the best results have one thing in common—Data. Each workforce is different. So there’s no one size fits all. Amassing the right data allows companies to know who’s susceptible to strokes and other health-related incidents. It leads to targeted strategies that are cost-effective, yield results, and ultimately create a happier, more productive community and workforce. 

Without data, it’s easier to apply a cookie cutter approach, but one size doesn’t fit all.  In turn, companies go around in circles, unable to pinpoint root problems. On the other hand, asking the right questions and amassing data allows CEOs and managers to identify early signs of risk and put in place measures that better employees like John.

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