Vitality has called on businesses to talk to employees about health and wellbeing initiatives available to them.
Research from Vitality has revealed that three-quarters of ill-health related absence and presenteeism in 2018 came from factors such as depression, poor lifestyle choices, and stress. This equated to losses of £61bn ($79.9bn) and can be targeted through health and wellbeing initiatives said Vitality.
The data, developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, found that British businesses lost the equivalent of £81bn due to this. This is also an increase of £4bn from 2017.
Employers lose, on average, 35.6 working days per employee per year due to health-related absence and presenteeism.
Mental health and wellbeing
Mental health was found to be a significant driver of productivity loss. It accounted for £38bn of the total cost to businesses last year. Furthermore, £17.2bn came specifically from workplace stress.
However, initiatives can help employees with thees issues. For example, Vitality saw that 83% of people who used one-on-one coaching to support mental health and wellbeing found it impactful.
In addition, 78% of people said the same for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and 83% of employees found massage or relaxation classes to have a positive effect on their mental health at work.
Neville Koopowitz, CEO at VitalityHealth, said: “For the sixth year in a row, Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace data illustrates the huge cost of absence and presenteeism to British businesses. With this data showing that employees lose, on average, over 35 days each a year, it is becoming impossible for businesses to ignore the link between ill-health and productivity.
“Simply implementing intervention programmes is no longer enough. By prioritising and elevating employee engagement in health and wellbeing within the business, ideally to Board level, we can make a significant difference to productivity and the overall success of the business. Not only can this bring about a competitive advantage for companies, but it will ultimately build a stronger and healthier society for us all. With this being such an important and compelling ambition, we will be developing a number of initiatives that will support a healthier corporate Britain in 2019 and beyond.”
Christian van Stolk, Vice President, RAND Europe, said: “Although it is encouraging to see an increase in the number of employees that have access to health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, the data from this year’s study also shows that businesses are still failing to properly engage employees, and get their participation, with such initiatives. We know from the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace findings that employees report a significant improvement to physical and mental health as a result of workplace interventions year on year. As such, businesses need to do more to drive effective employee engagement – this is critical to addressing the issue of productivity loss across our nation.”