A few sick days a year might not seem like too much of an issue for a single employee, but combined sick leave from all employees can cause staggering costs and have a huge impact on the bottom line of a business.
Absence from work might seem inevitable, but if businesses take the time to understand the causes of absence, they will realise that more often than not it can be drastically reduced.
One major contributor to absence is work-related stress, depression and anxiety. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the total number of working days lost due to these conditions in 2015/16 was 11.7 million. This high level of absence is costing businesses money. In 2016, the CIPD Absence Management Survey reported a median cost of £522 per employee per year due to absences. However, this figure is unlikely to capture the full impact of employee absence because many indirect costs (such as lost productivity, impaired customer service and lower employee morale) are very difficult to quantify.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that, in order to reduce these absence costs, businesses need to reduce stress in the workplace. The workplace can and should be able to work hand in hand with health and wellbeing, not only for the sake of employees, but for the sake of the company.
So how can organisations implement health and wellbeing in the workplace?
People’s work and domestic lives have become more entwined so it’s important to ensure a substantial focus on work-life balance. Businesses should try to stay clear of the increasing long-hours culture. According recent findings from the TUC, the number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15% since 2010. This is a worrying trend given that workload is the most common cause of stress related absence and that long working hours are associated with increased mental health problems.
A wellbeing culture requires the commitment of senior leaders and managers. It’s important to ensure that management within the company are trained in effective people skills and are equipped with the confidence and competence to recognise and manage signs of health problems.
The workforce should be viewed as the starting point of the value chain. It’s important to maximise employee engagement and ensure their values are considered. If staff are given more control and flexibility over how they do their job they will feel more valued, thus helping to raise self-esteem. Employees are a company’s most important asset and if employees are happier and more empowered in their roles, absence due to health issues can be greatly reduced.
A Wellbeing Core:
Health and well-being does not have to be treated as an ‘add-on’ or ‘nice-to-have’ activity by organisations. If employers place employee wellbeing at the core of their business model and view it as the vital source of value creation, organisational health can be significant increased.
The simple fact is that well-motivated and healthy employees within the workplace will be more productive and effective. If businesses look after the health and wellbeing of their employees, the employees will look after the health and wellbeing of the business.