Even the most diligent employees have to take the odd sick day. Absenteeism – genuine absenteeism, as a result of sickness – is an unavoidable part of life for businesses.
Or is it? Could employers do more to prevent illness in the first place?
Understanding the impact of sickness on businesses
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2017, UK businesses lost more than 131 million working days due to sickness. Whether it’s the result of injury, physical illness or mental health issues, there’s no doubt that this level of absenteeism has a serious impact on productivity and the bottom line.
Businesses must also contend with the issue of ‘presenteeism’, where employees continue to come to work even when they’re ill, stressed or injured – and are often less productive as a result.
In one 2018 CIPD survey, a shocking 86% of respondents said they had directly witnessed presenteeism at work in the past 12 months.
One thing is clear from these statistics: employers need to take a more proactive role in the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Preventative healthcare in the workplace
Many businesses are combating absenteeism and presenteeism through wellness programmes that motivate employees to live healthier lives and take better care of themselves.
Here are just a few examples of the exciting initiatives companies are already offering:
Subsidised fitness trackers for employees
Onsite gym equipment or discounts for the local gym
Onsite yoga classes
Sports and activity clubs, such as a lunchtime running group
Smoking cessation support
Healthier food options in the staff canteen (or removing the junk food from the vending machine)
Fitness and weight-loss challenges
Mental health support through employee assistance programmes
Whatever approach you take, there’s no doubt that creating a culture of vitality and wellbeing at work can do wonders for employee health and morale – in turn, helping to boost productivity, cut sickness, and reduce the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism.
Whether you’re starting a wellness programme from scratch or are looking to improve your current offering, ForrestHR will guide you on the best approach for you and your people.
Find out more on how our flexible HR support can deliver real value for money for your business.