There are clear business benefits to supporting employee health and wellbeing, says a Confederation of British Industry (CBI)report has concluded.
In its latest report, sponsored by Medicash: Getting Better: Workplace health as a business issue the business group has outlined to its members how improving employee health can contribute to better business performance through lower absence, higher productivity and better employee engagement.
It highlighted that the direct costs of employee absence to the economy are estimated at over £14 billion per year - and the CBI's latest absence survey found that the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975.
These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism was included as well.
Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said: "Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits.
"It's time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace.
"Encouraging investment that gets people back to work sooner, with less of a burden on the NHS, is in everybody's interest."
The CBI is urging the Government to support businesses doing this by:
• Promoting the new Health and Work Service, and ensuring it's the default option for employees
• Using tax relief and incentives to encourage employer-funded interventions into health conditions at earlier points
• Promoting the benefits of flexible working as a route to helping absent employees back into the workplace
• Continuing to raise awareness of key public health issues
Commenting, Sue Weir, CEO of Medicash, said:
"Developing and implementing a targeted healthcare strategy can help business avoid costly absenteeism and ensure their workforce is a happy, healthy and committed one.
"Offering a health and wellbeing package is an affordable and beneficial means of doing this and of attracting, motivating, rewarding and retaining staff."