REWARDSCO LAUNCHES NEW ONSITE CLINIC
South Africa’s economy is losing billions of rands due to absenteeism and poor productivity – and a large portion of this is due to illness and lack of adequate healthcare facilities. As a result, leading KwaZulu-Natal Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider, Rewardsco, has begun the roll out of investments to boost the wellness of its employees.
In addition to introducing hybrid employment models and reduced working hours on select campaigns, Rewardsco has now launched an onsite clinic at its recently expanded campus on the Umhlanga Ridge.
This new, fully equipped on-site staff clinic has a fulltime doctor, sick bay and cold storage and is accessible by all staff every day during office hours at no charge.
Group commercial director, Dylan Koen, said that, for a company positioning itself as an employer of choice in a sector where skills were in short supply and retention of talent difficult, investment in staff wellness was paramount.
A struggling economy and the impact of load shedding meant there was a lack of funds to improve public health care facilities as well escalating costs in the private healthcare space. Businesses such as Rewardsco need to assist, he said.
“Our goal is to ensure that our employees have access to the best possible care, while minimising out-of-pocket expenses associated with their health care needs. If you look after your people, it goes a long way in creating a relationship that is built on care and mutual respect,” he explained.
Current statistics paint a disturbing picture of the impact of poor healthcare on South African companies. Research by Top 500 Elite puts the annual loss to South Africa’s economy due to absenteeism at R15 billion. In 2019, this accounted for 4.8% of Gross Operating profit (GOP). An average of 15% of South Africa’s workforce – and estimated six million people – takes sick leave each day. ¹
According to the most recent Discovery Healthy Company Index survey, conducted by Discovery Vitality in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town, approximately half of the South African workforce is unhealthy. This study noted that the average employee takes eight days of sick leave annually, costing an employer R10 000 a year. ²
This doesn’t account for an even bigger problem – presenteeism. This refers to employees who are present but working below par often because they are sick. Stats SA has put the cost of presenteeism at R89 billion for South African companies. This is 5% of GOP (based on GDP for 2017). ³
Although this is a worldwide phenomenon with British employees losing an average 35.6 days of productive time to being sick on the job according to a study by Vitality³, South Africa has its own extenuating circumstances, according to Koen.
Again, according to Stats SA, over 71,5% of households go to public hospitals or clinics where patients wait in long lines for long hours to be attended to in over-crowded facilities that are often in adequately equipped.
It is not uncommon for South Africans to take off a whole day off from work for basic healthcare procedures or for check-ups associated with chronic health conditions such as hypertension, raised cholesterol, cardiac disease and diabetes, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in South Africa.
“We know that taking a day off to see a doctor if you fall sick at work is not ideal. The additional transport costs involved can also become a burden. We looked at that and saw a gap where we could help ease the stress on our people. We want to allow staff to prioritise their health and ultimately help them save money in the long run while creating a healthier work environment for everyone involved,” Koen said.
He added that an investment in assisting staff to improve their health, financial security and peace of mind included both health education and proactive healthcare, which have proved to have a major impact on reducing both communicable and lifestyle diseases by researchers both in South Africa and abroad.
The clinic’s in-house Doctor, Sirini Singh, said the workplace was an ideal space to achieve this. “It is a very rewarding experience. When you work in a demanding environment, it can become easy to ignore your health. That’s why this is a great opportunity for me to be able to help patients reprioritise this.”
Staff who are not on their own medical aid are added to Rewardsco’s Health Insurance after they have been at the company for three months.
Rewardsco’s new facilities, combined with the optional Health Insurance offered to every employee, will promote overall wellbeing through preventive care initiatives such as family planning, pap smear tests and more.
For more information, visit www.rewardsco.com