Improving employee health can contribute to better business performance, helping to lower absence, increase productivity and engage employees better.
A report by the CBI and Medicash outlines the clear business benefits of supporting employee health and wellbeing.
The direct costs of employee absence to the economy are estimated at over £14bn per year, and the CBI’s latest absence survey found that the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975.
These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism – staff attending work despite being unwell – was included as well.
“Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business,” says Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills.
“Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits. It’s time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace.”
Key actions that businesses can take to improve employee health include:
- Develop joined-up health and wellbeing programmes which factor in emerging public health trends
- Take a proactive and preventative approach to health and wellbeing to influence employee behaviour
- Equip managers with the knowledge and support to handle health conditions as swiftly as possible
- Ensure robust systems are in place to effectively manage absence and the return to work.
In addition, the CBI proposes that the government ensure that the Health and Work Service is the default option for employees absent from work for over four weeks; use tax relief and incentives to encourage employer-funded interventions; and promote the benefits of flexible working.
“Developing and implementing a targeted healthcare strategy can help business avoid costly absenteeism and ensure their workforce is a happy, healthy and committed one,” adds Sue Weir, CEO of Medicash.
“That’s why more and more businesses looking to increase output and maximise business performance are putting into place robust health and wellbeing strategies. Offering a health and wellbeing package is an affordable and beneficial means of doing this and of attracting, motivating, rewarding and retaining staff.”
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