CBI: Strong business case for investing in health and wellbeing

Majority of workers would prefer sick colleagues to stay homeAs we reported earlier this week, an employee wellness programme can be worth doing alone as an incentive and engagement tool. But for those employers who need some evidence of their impact on the bottom line comes a new CBI report, which shows the costs to employers who fail to address employee health and wellbeing. The direct costs of employee absence to the economy is estimated at over £14 billion per year and the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975. These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism – staff attending work despite being unwell – was included as well. The new CBI report – Getting Better: Workplace health as a business issue – outlines exactly how businesses can improve the wellbeing of their staff and provides a practical support tool to support firms, based on the experience of CBI members. “Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business,” said Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills.

“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.”

Key actions that businesses can take to improve employee health include:

  • Develop joined-up health and wellbeing programmes which factor in emerging public health trends
  • Take a proactive and preventative approach to health and wellbeing to influence employee behaviour
  • Equip managers with the knowledge and support to handle health conditions as swiftly as possible
  • Ensure robust systems are in place to effectively manage absence and the return to work.

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 absent from the workplace for four weeks or more
  • Using tax relief and incentives to encourage employer-funded interventions into health conditions at earlier points, taking the burden off the NHS and getting people back to work sooner
  • 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.

Click to download the new CBI report – Getting Better: Workplace health as a business issue.