Among the many unknowns to emerge from the pandemic, the working from home phenomenon has plagued executive management but questions as to whether it would become the norm have been categorically answered with a resounding YES.
Surveys have shown that working from home improves productivity and contributes to a better work life balance. Not having to bolt for the train every morning and the lack of distracting water cooler talk that flexible working arrangements bring are considered an attractive perk by 60% of employees, a Seek survey found.
Global companies such as Google, Facebook and Spotify are amongst those recognising the increased job satisfaction that comes from the shortened commute from bedroom to desk.
With companies moving towards ‘hybrid’ working arrangements, public health bodies have expressed concern about the new breed of office worker and potential health risks of working from home.
While employers can advise people on, and loan equipment to set up appropriate, ergonomic desk spaces, the reality is that space constraints and a propensity for home-based workers to spend more time at their desks mean that more backs and necks are becoming stiff and sore.
Eye strain is another very real issue with people who look at computers frequently and for more than two three hours per day are more likely to experience symptoms such as eye discomfort, blurred vision, headaches and changes in colour perception. This isn’t new, but again, with people working longer hours, sometimes with less than ideal lighting, the emergence of more vision based issues may be imminent.
It turns out that time guzzling office water cooler talk could actually be benefitting workers. People who work from home are more likely to be sedentary for longer periods opening them up to mental health issues due to the lack of physical exercise and social interaction.
Intent on supporting the diverse health needs of the home based worker population, one ASX-listed company is adapting to provide optimum care for desk bound individuals. Healthia (ASX:HLA) is a leading provider of allied health services in Australia with a multitude of brands under their banner.
Last year, foreseeing the multitude of issues that come with working from home, Healthia expanded its services into optometry via the $43 million acquisition of The Optical Company’s 41 clinics and frames distribution business.
Healthia CEO, Wesley Coote said, “Since expanding Healthia’s services into optometry, we have begun to capitalise on opportunities where patients have been spending more time in front of screens during the pandemic.”
Savvy to the demands of our busy twenty first century lives, the Company is expanding its existing clinics into more multidisciplinary sites. The time saving hubs allow patients to access multiple services, be it physios, podiatrists or pilates classes all under the one roof.
“Multi-disciplinary sites is something we’ve actively been developing to optimise floorspace and deliver greater levels of care for our patients. It’s certainly something we will continue to explore as part of Healthia’s strategy to spend at least $20 million on strategic acquisitions annually.” Mr Coote said.
The Company operates a four tiered strategy focusing on patient outcomes, organic growth, future accretive acquisitions and vertically integrated business units. The strategy is obviously working, with their Half Year results delivering 39% increase in revenue to $61.5m and 91% increase in underlying EBITDA to $11m which was driven by 14.5% organic growth across the business.
All of this is reflected in Healthia’s share price. A year ago, shares were at $0.86. Today, they’re trading at $1.99.
Healthia is proving to their investors and the country that putting patients first and adapting to the health needs of the community propels a company forward. With their effective growth strategy and expanding profile Healthia is carving out their own market niche, and solidifying their presence as Australia’s fastest growing allied healthcare provider.