Takeaways for the US from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study

April 26, 2019

You may have seen the global coverage in the Financial Times and BBC on the findings from Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study. The call to action from Vitality is for business leaders to do more to help their employees engage with the health and well-being initiatives available to them at work.

The study, developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, found that British businesses lost the equivalent of £81bn (more than $104 billion) as a result of health-related absence and presenteeism in 2018 overall, a £4bn ($5+ billion) increase from 2017.

Employers can no longer afford to ignore the impact of depression, poor lifestyle choices and stress on their workforce. The research found that businesses lose, on average, 35.6 working days per employee per year due to health-related absence and presenteeism.

All is not lost however, as some companies in the study were able to realize a 30-40% reduction in productivity loss linked to ill-health. To help employers improve the health and well-being of their workforces, here are several recommendations that should be considered:

  • Measure and report on the health of employees including mental health and workplace stress, since it is only by understanding these unique risks that effective changes will be implemented, and it is only through reporting that those programs can be held accountable.
  • Introduce appropriate programs based on the measurements – targeted interventions should reflect the varied and unique needs of employees.
  • Ensure that there is broad and clear communication around the programs – these should be easily accessible, relevant, visible, and – ideally – tied to meaningful incentives. It is only by creating this wellness ecosystem that one can hope to see successful outcomes.
  • Embed all of this in an environment in which a culture of health is championed by all levels of management. Health and wellness programs can’t exist in a vacuum.

A wealth of additional information can be found in the Financial Times Report.

We’ll continue to help employers improve the health and well-being of their employees and their communities. Not only can these efforts bring about a competitive advantage for companies, but it will ultimately build a stronger and healthier society for us all.

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