People spend a third of their waking lives at work; for many, this can mean sitting indoors at a desk for long periods of time, staring at a computer screen, and having few proper breaks. This can have a detrimental effect on physical and mental health, negatively impacting productivity and increasing the likelihood of both presenteeism and absenteeism.
It is paramount that employers make a conscious effort to keep staff happy and healthy by doing what they can to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace. After all, employees are an organisation’s most important asset.
A great way to implement a healthy and nurturing culture is to offer health screenings to employees as part of their benefits package. These are usually carried out by a doctor or healthcare professional and involve a number of tests and checks aimed at the early detection of potential health risks.
Whereas there has previously been a misconception that screenings like these are expensive and time consuming, they are increasingly being introduced as a benefit due to the advantages they can offer both employees and employers.
Ongoing health problems can be discussed and potentially resolved, and the array of tests may result in serious health issues being detected early, making them easier to treat. Health screenings also give the employee a chance to receive expert advice about their lifestyle choices, encouraging them to take an active interest in their personal health and wellbeing.
Ultimately, one of the key benefits of health screening services is that absenteeism and presenteeism are reduced, while wellbeing and morale are increased. A vast amount of research has revealed that staff sickness is the largest cost most organisations have to absorb; Health and wellbeing at work, for example, published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in May 2018, found that the average level of employee absence is 6.6 days per year.
It goes without saying that employees missing work can negatively affect the entire workforce. Presenteeism, where employees continue to work while sick or unhappy, can also have a detrimental financial impact. Britain’s healthiest workplace, published by Vitality in January 2019, estimated that UK businesses are losing more than £77 billion per year, due to productivity losses arising from the extra mental and physical pressure being placed on employees.
Identifying underlying issues and diagnosing illnesses early could ultimately reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism.
Introducing workplace health screenings also demonstrates to the employee that they are a vital asset, and shows that a commitment is being made to their wellbeing. This factor alone can boost productivity; MetLife published Work redefined: A new age of benefits in the summer of 2017, revealing that 59% of employees agree that health benefits can increase loyalty.
Health screens are conducted in a private room within the workplace or at a separate location of convenience, and in most cases offer immediate results thanks to the technology available. With increasing reports of patients struggling to get appointments with doctors, this is hugely convenient and requires minimal effort and cost from the employer.
Workplace health screenings, whether employers are using a basic or a premium service, are designed to help employers look after the long-term wellbeing of their staff, but also to encourage employees to make healthier lifestyle choices.
As well as individuals receiving detailed results and advice, employers can use the results to develop and shape their health and wellbeing strategy, ultimately benefiting the workforce the and organisation as a whole.
Jennie Doyle is head of marketing at Health Shield