Mr Samuel Awuku Okudzeto, a Member of the Council of State, has attributed low level of business productivity to high employee burn-out, and called for urgent redress to prevent an explosion.
He said most employees were both physically and psychologically stressed out and unable to give off their best.
He cited factors such as poor remuneration and motivation, inadequate working tools and equipment, unhealthy working environment for wellness and, lately, the COVID-19 pandemic as some of the causes.
Mr Okudzeto, who is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Administrators and Management Consultants (CIAMC), Ghana, encouraged employers to improve the working environment and review structures for improving the holistic wellbeing of workers.
Chairing the opening ceremony of the Third Annual Administration Professionals Conference of the CIAMC in Accra, he said Ghana was endowed with rich natural resources and it was important for employers to factor into their management programmes and strategies the psycho-social needs of their employees for the efficient delivery of their functions.
The Conference, on the theme: “Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in the Workplace,” would engage the wide range of participants both physically and virtually, in discussions to chart a better course for improving the total wellbeing of workers for enhanced output.
Mr Paul Kwatei Hammond, the Board Chairman of the CIAMC, also admitted the fact that the COVID-19 had impacted negatively on the physical and mental health, as well as economic statuses of workers globally, leading to massive stress of individuals.
While persons who had underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and stroke were anxious about their fate with the virus, others had lost their jobs, with the few hands left overburdened with work that should have been done by many, he said.
The situation, he said, was negatively affecting the lives of many families with available statistics indicating widespread malnutrition and high cost of doing business due to regular staff absenteeism resulting from to ill-health.
Mr Hammond said the COVID-19 pandemic had presented serious challenges to how workplaces operated due to lack of structured technology supported systems to enable workers to operate from home like those in the developed world.
He said the Conference would reflect on the importance of building a strong human resource capacity with the assurance of occupational safety, wellbeing and inclusiveness of workers to enhance productivity as an engine of growth and national development.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, who spoke on the topic: “Physical Health and Productivity in the Workplace,” said the current state of health of workers was not encouraging, citing the absence of health and safety structures for protection.
He said the workplace had become a crucial target for curtailing the spread of the virus as Ghana was experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 cases due to the vast potential of infections, and gave some statistics detailing the huge cost incurred by governments in managing the pandemic.
He said the workplace exposed workers to widespread illnesses, including Non-Communicable Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancers, heart and kidney failures and stroke, some of which were results from sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, stress and lack of proper sleep, due to enhanced globalisation.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said a large number of road traffic and workplace accidents were also as a result of fatigue or absent mindedness of persons, leading to high costs of damage, injuries, hospitalisation and deaths.
He urged employers to conduct periodic health assessment of their staff to inform their development of policies and programmes such as pre-retirement counselling and encouraged employees to actively participate in periodic physical exercises to keep them healthy.
Mr Fred Aryeetey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Directors-Ghana, in a solidarity message, commended the organisers of the conference and the advocacy to build a strong human capital critical for organisational turn-around.
He called for continuous professional education and upgrading, as well as mentor-mentee focused programmes to support others who were weak in some areas.
He urged management of institutions to put their human resource needs above machines, saying even the most complex of machines must be operated by humans.