Unhealthy employees costing British firms more than one month a year in lost productivity

New study shows

British employers are losing on average 27.5 days of productive time per employee each year as staff take time off sick and underperform in the office as a result of ill-health (otherwise known as presenteeism).

This is equivalent to each worker losing more than an entire working month of productive time annually.

When translated into monetary terms the combination of this absence and presenteeism is costing the UK economy £73bn a year in lost productivity.

The study, which measures health in terms of exposure to risk factors, which occur when an individual is outside the healthy range for a lifestyle factor such as exercise or diet, or a clinical factor, such as blood pressure or cholesterol, found that 68% of respondents have at least two risk factors, while a third are suffering from three or more.

Shaun Subel, strategy director at VitalityHealth, commented: “The findings of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace not only demonstrate the scale of the UK’s productivity challenge, but point to an exciting alternative in the ways employers can manage this problem. Traditionally, we have seen that employers looking to boost the productivity of their business often focus on measures such as the automation of human tasks or process re-engineering to pursue efficiencies. While these measures are important they have definite trade-offs in terms of cost, sustainability, and potentially being perceived negatively by employees. Health and wellbeing, on the other hand, is an area where this trade-off does not exist – while wellbeing interventions can be of relatively low cost compared to the alternatives, they deliver tangible improvements in employee engagement and productivity, and are typically viewed positively by employees. Together, these ultimately lead to improvements in a business’s bottom line.”

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