Meet South Africa’s Workplace Wellness Champions

R15 billion: the annual cost to our national economy from absenteeism.

Every day, 15% of our workforce takes sick leave –  more than 6 million people. Even though our beautiful country offers a healthy climate, access to nutritious food and an environment designed for the active lifestyle, empty workstations continue to plague top companies .

Well, not all of them. The seven companies just confirmed as Finalists for the inaugural Top 500 Bestmed Workplace Wellness Award have in place holistic employee wellness initiatives that have seen a drop in absenteeism together with increased productivity, staff retention and even frequency of promotions. These companies choose diverse ways to encourage a healthier, happier workforce including mobile clinics, on-site gyms, pause areas, healthy catering, wellness lectures and sports days, flexitime/remote-work options, and more – and the positive impact hasn’t just been internal – these companies have positioned themselves as employers of choice which top candidates actively seek out. So, who’s in line to win the trophy, when the Top 500 Awards happen on Thursday evening? The finalists are:


  • • Vital Health Foods
  • • Nestle South Africa (Pty) Ltd
  • • GetSmarter
  • • Life Healthcare
  • • W-Tech Manufacturing )Pty) Ltd
  • • E-Waste Africa
  • • Aegis South Africa


According to some of the Judging panel’s assessments, Vital Health Foods demonstrated a “good programme extending to the family” and a commendable “holistic approach”. Nestle South Africa put forward a “broad spectrum of wellness activities, focused for a company of (its) size” and helping to “target day-to-day problems that most people struggle with as a result of their work environment.” GetSmarter drew praise for its multi-faceted approach to wellness, the evident enthusiasm behind that approach, and its state-of-the-art cafeteria. LIFE Healthcare, SA’s 2nd-largest private hospital operator, demonstrated “very good programmes, incorporating a focused EAP (Employee Assistance Plan)”. The judges noted W-Tech’s involvement of the community in their efforts, and e-Waste Africa’s eco-friendly, caring and safety-driven approach. Rounding out the Finalists, Aegis South Africa was commended for its long-term commitment to enhancing workplace wellness for its employees – the company has an on-site medical facility for use by employees free of charge and also offers an EAP.

The gleaming winner’s trophy will be waiting on-stage at the Top 500 Awards on 10 May, to be handed over by Award Sponsor BestMed Medical Scheme – itself a passionate driver of national workplace wellness. To attend the Awards, book one of the last few seats: e-mail (and if you happen to be reading this in bed, during a sick day off from work, why not bring several copies of your CV with you and seek out a healthy career change).