New research this week from Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study, which is developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, found that British businesses lost the equivalent of £81bn as a result of ill-health related absence and presenteeism in 2018 overall. This equates to a £4bn increase on 2017.
According to the research, three-quarters of ill-health related absence and presenteeism in 2018, equating to £61bn, came from factors such as depression, poor lifestyle choices, and stress, all of which are can be targeted by businesses through a robust wellbeing strategy and through health and wellbeing initiatives.
What impact does this have on businesses?
The study also revealed that employers lose, on average, 35.6 working days per employee per year due to health-related absence and presenteeism. If we use the CIPD average employee cost for lost days of £522, this equates to £18,583 per employee per year.
Mental health was found to be a significant driver of productivity loss, accounting for £38bn of the total cost to businesses last year. Of this, £17.2bn stems specifically from workplace stress, a driver which businesses can address through various interventions and initiatives.
Clearly the data shows that the huge cost of absence and presenteeism to British businesses is significant. Combine this with the data showing that employees lose, on average, over 35 days each a year and it is becoming impossible for businesses to ignore the link between ill-health and productivity.
What can be done?
Interventions from business were shown to have a marked effect on employees’ health and these top performing companies all showed common characteristics such as embedding a culture of health, having capable line managers who supported employees and having high awareness and participation in their health and wellbeing programmes.
However, the research demonstrated that awareness of and engagement with such interventions was low. For instance, while 67% of employees have access to interventions in the mental health space, only 26% of them claim to have knowledge and awareness of the interventions on offer. Additionally, once aware, only 18% of employees actually participate in any of the programmes. This demonstrates to us that not only do employers need to increase awareness, but employees need to engage with the interventions available to maximise impact. Simply implementing intervention programmes is no longer enough, rather we need to prioiritse and elevate employee engagement in wellbeing.
If you would like to discuss how to create a strategic whole organisation approach to wellbeing, we can help you develop and enhance your wellbeing strategy, to help your employees thrive. Contact us to find out more.
Get In Touch