Royal Mail launches health assessment service to tackle absence

The Royal Mail Group has launched a range of health and lifestyle assessment services for its staff as part of its ongoing efforts to combat employee absence.

An online health checking and assessment service will enable the 180,000 people working for Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide and the Post Office to examine their lifestyles and take measures to improve their health. Staff will have access to information on a number of different areas, including nutrition, stress and exercise.

A team of health trainers is also being recruited to offer practical advice and support for the group’s workers across the UK. Royal Mail worked with the Department of Health to develop the Health Trainer Scheme.

Dr Steve Boorman, director of corporate responsibility, said: “Investing in the health and wellbeing of our people has been crucial in helping respond to the challenges of the modern market place.

“As the government increasingly looks to employers to promote and sustain the health and wellbeing of UK workers, our experience provides a useful benchmark for organisations and businesses looking to reduce the impact of absence on their operations.”

Ben Willmott, employee relations advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “These two initiatives show that Royal Mail is serious about proactively supporting employee health rather than simply managing employee absence. As an increasingly important political and economic consideration, driving down absence and sustaining the health and wellbeing of workers is something organisations cannot afford to ignore.”

Employee absence at Royal Mail has fallen from 7% to 5% in the last three years. Measures to tackle absence have included a group-wide programme focused on management training and HR support to reduce absence and awareness-raising programmes to help people quit smoking and deal with back pain. Efforts have also been made to improve staff access to occupational health services.