Staff health issues leave businesses counting the cost

Firms are losing one month of productive work every year as a result of employee health issues, according to new research.

The study from Vitality Health Insurance claims the average business loses 27.5 days of productive work per employee on an annual basis – which costs the UK economy in the region of £73 billion.

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace focuses on health and the exposure to factors associated with an inactive lifestyle, poor diet and medical problems such as cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Two thirds of staff reported at least two of these risk factors, while a third reported three or more, meaning they were deemed more likely to require time away from the workplace.

Of those displaying three or more risks, 63% reported that they were in good health, suggesting they do not see a problem with their behaviour, or that they will change it.

Given that businesses are losing productivity through absenteeism, the report suggests that more must be done to support employees.

Adrian Lewis, Director of Active Absence, believes the figures should act as “a call to action” for employees to consider wellbeing initiatives and to promote exercise so staff are both fitter and healthier.

It is suggested that raising awareness could support businesses, as staff that are more productive can have a positive impact on bottom line finances.

Not only are sales likely to increase, but engaged staff can provide more innovative approaches and ideas.

Management is key when it comes to tacking absenteeism, as long-term or persistence absence can cause a business to lose finances – for small businesses, this something many can ill-afford to do.

For those businesses fearing financial loss, it’s important to consider how using alternative finance options could help a business to grow or consolidate its existing position.

Such an approach can ensure that insolvency risks are reduced and that a business has a source of working capital in order to operate effectively.

Tracking absence is an essential part of the process, as it means a firm can use evidence when making any decisions.

This discourages absence while wellbeing initiatives can act to encourage people to be happier and healthier in their daily lives.


By Phil Smith


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