There has been a collaboration of efforts and expertise from the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Sagicor Life and Wellness & Lifestyle Empowerment Coach, Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, to create an agenda for “Wellness in the Workplace.” The agenda was announced on Wednesday 27th March, at a seminar held in the Bougainvillea Conference Room of the Bay Gardens Hotel. Invited guests included business owners, employees, and members of the press.
The objective of the seminar was to encourage businesses to implement a wellness plan for their employees as a way of maximizing productivity and profits. Dr. Destang-Beaubrun who was also the featured speaker gave a detailed feature presentation on the impact of wellness on the workplace. She stressed on the negative effects that poor lifestyle habits of employers and employees can have on companies. The presentation comprised of health statistics and their relation to the national mortality rate. Dr. Destang-Beaubrun stressed that a wellness programme can dramatically reduce the financial burden of health insurance costs.
The seminar was conceptualized by Sagicor as the first in a series of events for supporting St Lucians to achieve financial and physical fitness goals. Dr. Destang-Beaubrun stated that “healthy people are happy people, and that happy people are more productive in their work.” The overall purpose of the agenda was to get companies more involved in enhancing the general health of the nation by taking an interest in the health of employees. Dr. Destang-Beaubrun quoted findings from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) report for 2014, which listed heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension as the leading causes of death in St. Lucia. She further stressed on the health issues of the country and revealed that approximately 65 per cent of the St Lucia population is considered to be overweight or obese. She stated that unhealthy persons cannot work at their optimum, which hinders the financial growth of businesses. She further added that illness prevention costs less than illness correction.
The rising cost in health care and the tremendous strain that it places on employees was also emphasized. Eon Phillips, Branch Manager and Principal Representative for Sagicor Life St Lucia, stressed that Wellness in the Workplace programmes in collaboration with a group health insurance policy will greatly reduce the burden of health care costs for both employers and employees. He stated that the financial benefits of a team effort in the interests of health can greatly inspire individuals to take the necessary health precautions. He advised that “the large majority of St Lucians, almost three-quarters of the population – do not have access to any type of health insurance whether as an individual or accessible through the workplace. This is problematic because if there is such a high incidence of these non-communicable diseases it means that many don’t have access to opportunities to manage the issue before it becomes serious. Insurance is important on two levels. Insurance within the workplace setting means that an individual has support to manage his health costs and individual insurance means that there is a pool of money available if a critical incident happens. That’s where Sagicor can help”
Sagicor Life will be hosting more seminars of this nature in the other Eastern Caribbean countries in which Sagicor operates. The seminars are aimed at spreading health and wellness awareness so as to inspire persons to take on a more holistic approach to their overall health. Eon Phillips continues to urge business owners to take the initiative to implement a wellness in the workplace programme. He stated that wellness in the workplace is something that is always relevant, and should not be spoken of as just a seminar or an agenda, but should be a way of life for all employers and employees.