Fostering Wellness: A Priority for NZ Employers of Migrant Workers

Explore the importance of fostering a healthy lifestyle among migrant workers for New Zealand employers.
Written by
Last Updated On June 14, 2023
Contributors: Denise Renshaw. Edited By Inder Singh & Reviewed by Simar Singh.

New Zealand, a land of stunning landscapes and vibrant multiculturalism, draws a large number of migrant workers each year. These individuals are indispensable, contributing significantly to the country's social and economic framework. However, they may face unique challenges in maintaining a healthy lifestyle due to their migrant status. As an employer in New Zealand, it's crucial to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst your migrant workers. Not only is this the right thing to do ethically, but it also benefits your business in numerous ways.

The Unique Challenges Faced by Migrant Workers

Migrant workers often grapple with language barriers, cultural differences, unfamiliarity with health care systems, and social isolation, which can potentially hinder their ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, their long working hours and physically demanding tasks further exacerbate the situation, leading to both physical and mental health challenges. It is imperative for employers to acknowledge these obstacles and work towards solutions that encourage a healthy lifestyle among their migrant workers.

The Connection Between Health, Wellbeing, and Productivity

Here is what you need to know.

Health Equals Productivity

Healthy employees are invariably more productive. According to a study by Health Enhancement Research Organization, employees who eat healthily are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, and physically active employees have 27% higher job performance. Furthermore, organizations promoting a culture of health see a range of improvements, including increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.

Mental Health and Employee Retention

Promoting a healthy lifestyle doesn't just revolve around physical health; mental health is equally important. Migrant workers, being far away from their homes, can be more susceptible to mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. By providing access to mental health resources and fostering a supportive work environment, you can help to increase job satisfaction and loyalty, improving retention rates.

The Benefits of Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle for Migrant Workers

Enhanced Employee Engagement

Investing in the health and wellbeing of your workers sends a clear message that you value their contribution and care about their lives beyond their work. This leads to higher levels of employee engagement, resulting in increased morale, improved collaboration, and a greater sense of loyalty to the organization.

Improved Workplace Safety

Migrant workers often find themselves in high-risk occupations. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle can lead to better physical condition, improved attention and alertness, and reduced risk of accidents, ensuring a safer work environment for everyone involved.

The Power of Diversity

A diverse workforce brings in a range of perspectives, promoting innovation and problem-solving. By addressing the unique health and wellbeing needs of your migrant workers, you empower them to bring their full selves to work. This enhances their ability to contribute their unique ideas and perspectives, enriching the company culture and driving business success.

Strategies to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle Among Migrant Workers

Some strategies that will help you prosper.

Health Education

Providing health education in a language and format that your migrant workers can understand is crucial. Regular workshops on nutrition, exercise, and mental health can be extremely beneficial.

Accessible Healthcare

Providing comprehensive health insurance and ensuring that migrant workers have easy access to healthcare facilities is a must. Help them navigate the health care system if needed.

Exercise and Physical Activities

Encourage physical activities by providing gym memberships, organizing group exercises, or creating spaces for physical activities within the workspace.

Mental Health Resources

Make mental health resources accessible and ensure that your workers know how to use them. Provide counselling services, mindfulness training, and stress management workshops.

Healthy Workplace Culture

Promote a culture that encourages work-life balance. Flexible working hours and proper breaks can help prevent burnout and contribute to overall health.

Social Support

Create opportunities for social interaction to help migrant workers feel more connected. Organize regular team-building activities and celebrate cultural diversity within the workplace.


Promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst migrant workers is not merely an act of corporate social responsibility; it is a strategic investment that can yield significant returns for your business. By creating a healthy, inclusive and supportive environment, you can ensure not only the wellbeing of your workers but also the long-term success of your organization. In the globalized world, we live in, understanding and addressing the unique needs of our diverse workforce is not optional—it is a necessity.