Every year in the UK 200 million days are lost through sickness absence – an average of 8.5 days lost per annum – at an estimated cost of £13 billion, according to the CBI. And each week, one million people (almost 4 per cent of the workforce averaged out over a year) take time off work due to illness, and 3000 people move from Statutory Sick Pay onto Incapacity Benefit.
As a healthy workforce has lower sickness absence, it is clear that employers can achieve significant cost savings if they can reduce their absence by improving employee health and well-being at work.
As in so many other realms, employers – and especially SMEs – want guidance and support, but with a light touch. They want this support to go ‘with the grain’ of business, and not to interfere with the natural rhythm of the way they conduct themselves.
So we have a very big (and growing) national issue, which we must tackle with subtlety and sensitivity if we are to get businesses to engage. We think it is possible to argue that Workplace Health represents – both now and over the next decade or two – as big a threat to the UK’s productivity and competitiveness as our skills and training deficit. Health at work cannot be a ‘sideline’ which supplements its existing good work to promote the adoption of best people management practices among UK employers.
It must come into the mainstream.
See what we’re doing about it at mojow.dev
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