68% of employees suffer from health problems at work

health problems at workAlmost seven in 10 (68%) employees have reported suffering from health problems at work, according to research by Simplyhealth.

The employee health plan provider, which surveyed 4,000 UK adults about their workplace health and wellbeing, and employer practice, also found that a total of almost 19 million days are taken off for physical health problems alone, while 25% of respondents who experienced a health problem said their workplace was not supportive in managing their pain.

Two-fifths (42%) said that not having access to physiotherapy support through their workplace has contributed to back pain issues. One-fifth (20%) believe that workplace benefits that offered access to physio would make them happier and 17% said it would improve their productivity.

Almost three-quarters (70%) think that employee health support schemes should be offered by every employer. Despite this, 36% of employers do not offer health schemes such as a health cash plan, employee assistance programmes or private medical insurance.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of employees who have experienced mental health challenges would like their manager to be able to direct them to mental health support. A quarter (24%) said access to counselling would make them happier and 21% thought it would make them more productive.

Almost half (46%) of managers have had no training to support employees around health problems, while 39% do not know how to signpost to health services or benefits offered by their employer.

Claudia Nicholls, chief customer officer at Simplyhealth, said: “We all need to do more to support people to stay well at work, particularly when getting access to healthcare remains a key issue for many. We are seeing record numbers of workers on long-term sick leave and billions lost to the economy through sick days each year. These new findings also demonstrate that every industry has different health concerns. A one-size-fits-all solution is no longer appropriate. Whatever the sector, employers need the right services to keep their employees healthy, happy and productive.”