Employee health costs businesses one month a year in lost productivity

New research reveals the impact of employee ill health on business, with many businesses losing up to one month a year in lost productivity.

UK employers are losing 27.5 days of productive work per employee each year, because of poor health, according to new research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) – commissioned by Vitality Health Insurance. The company also suggests employee absence and presenteeism is a problem that is costing the UK economy £73 billion a year.

The research measured employee health in terms of exposure to risk factors associated with a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet or medical issues such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents report they had at least two of these risk factors, with a third suffering from three or more risk factors. The research also highlighted that 63 per cent of those who had three or more health risk factors believed they were in good or very good health, so they are unlikely to change their behaviour.

Adrian Lewis, director of ActiveAbsence, says, ‘Businesses in the UK are losing almost a month’s productivity due to employee absenteeism and presenteeism every year, which is a startling statistic. The findings also showed that many employees aren’t aware of the health risks associated with their sedentary lifestyles. This should be a call to action for employers to prioritise the health of their workforce and promote exercise and wellbeing initiatives that encourage staff to be fitter and healthier.

‘In our experience, absenteeism is exacerbated by poor absence management practices, and too many companies are still failing to track absence management and in the dark about the extent of their absence issues, unable to identity and address issues early on.

‘Using absence management software alongside best HR practices is the only way employers can manage absence effectively with an evidence-led approach to both staff management and wellness initiatives. People spend a great deal of time at work and employers are in a unique position to tackle these risk factors and develop appropriate wellbeing strategies that will encourage employees to become healthier, happier and more engaged.’

Further reading on productivity

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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