Workplace wellbeing: a problem for all employers…

“Health and wellbeing is still too often viewed as an individual issue, to be dealt with by the employee themselves through support outside of the workplace, rather than one that is central to business success and therefore a necessary concern of the business owner-manager.”

The above text is taken directly from a recent post by The Work Foundation – in support of their recently published report This won’t hurt a bit: how we can support small business to be healthy, wealthy and wise?

Over the last 24 hours I have been reading through the above report that has many useful snippets of information as to why employers of all sizes – and those with less than 250 staff in particular – should recognise the business case of workplace wellbeing.

I won’t be able to do the report justice here – so please visit it directly via this link. Yet I think it is worth highlighting a few of the more eye-catching points. According to the report:

  • Recent data suggests that almost one in every three employees have at least one mental or physical health condition. This is across all sectors and sizes of organisations, indicating that employee health is an issue that all employers potentially need to be concerned about.
  • Work overload, job insecurity and poor career progression, quality of work and poor communication had a stronger influence on employee stress levels in SMEs than in larger firms.
  • Presenteeism – attending work while sick – has the potential to spread illness among the workforce and has been shown to increase the likelihood of long-term sick leave at a later date. For example, Presenteeism related to mental health conditions alone is estimated to be 1.5 times the cost of absence.

There is one more killer fact that has the potential to drive engagement with health and wellbeing in the workplace for employers of all sizes:

  • The Health and Safety Executive estimated the average direct financial cost to business (including productivity costs) of each case of employee absence due to ill-health for seven days or more at £8,000.

This last stat does not differentiate by employer size, but it seems likely that smaller employers are likely to be more, not less, impacted by absence as they don’t have the same resources and scale to cover the loss any given employee.

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So there are plenty of reasons why employers of all sizes should be more actively considering managing health and wellbeing in the workplace. However, the reality is that smaller employers often lag behind larger organisations in this key business area, and I hope that the above statistics act as a wakeup call for the many companies who have yet to take any tangible actions on this issue.

For the full original article and other similar articles, please visit the Jelf Group Blog.