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Homepage > Business > Workplace health > About workplace health

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About workplace health

Most adults spend a large proportion of their lives at work. This means that employers can play a key role in improving their staff's health and wellbeing.  Having a healthy and productive workforce can help business success.

What is the cost of doing nothing?

Having an unhealthy and unhappy workforce costs businesses:

  • In the UK, 140 million working days are lost every year to sickness absence.  This costs UK businesses an estimated £29 billion.

  • Presenteeism (attending work while sick) has been called the biggest threat to UK workplace productivity.  This costs employers an estimated £15.1billion per year (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2016).

  • Musculoskeletal problems (including back pain and neck pain) are a leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, second only to minor illnesses (such as coughs and colds) (Office for National Statistics, 2016).

  • Mental health is also a major cause of sickness absence in the UK.  More than 17 million absence days were due to stress, anxiety and depression in 2015 (Office for National Statistics).

  • Mental health issues also account for a significant percentage of presenteeism. 

  • High staff turnover can lead to huge recruitment and training costs.

Save money by investing in staff health and wellbeing

Use the Department for Health and Pension’s detailed Workplace Wellbeing Tool to work out how much your business could save.

Deciding where to invest in staff health and wellbeing? 

The Workplace Health Needs Assessment Tool can help!

Public Health England have designed this tool for employers of all types and sizes.  It is a simple way to gather anonymous information about the health of your workforce, via a staff survey.  It also provides a baseline of data, that you can use to track your progress on health and wellbeing against.

The benefits of a healthy workforce

Workplace health initiatives can benefit both employers and staff:

Benefits for employers:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work while sick)
  • Greater staff retention
  • Reduced costs to train new staff
  • A more positive corporate image
  • Lower rates of early retirement due to ill health
  • Fewer workplace accidents and injuries

Benefits for staff:

  • Improved physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Increased motivation
  • Less sickness and quicker recovery
  • Less stress and back pain
  • Improved staff morale
  • Greater work satisfaction

Health of UK employees

The infographic below gives more statistics on the health of UK employees:

Further information

Take a look at the sections on the left for more information on a range of workplace health topics.

Get in touch

Let us know the great things that your business is doing on workplace health by emailing Workplace Health

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