The cost of poor health at work.

Workplace wellbeing – it’s a phrase you’ve no doubt heard, perhaps even one you’ve used. But what does it really mean and why is it now one of the top five boardroom issues for UK businesses? Too many companies talk about their employees being their greatest asset yet it’s not borne out in their behaviour, be that working culture, remuneration or environment. With more and more investors using employee wellness and engagement as a barometer for the health, stability and culture of the business, the concept of workplace wellbeing is finally garnering the attention it deserves.

Our workplace behaviours, cultures and environments are not keeping us fit, well, productive, happy or profitable. Finally businesses are accepting their moral responsibility to take better care of their people. Ignoring it is not an option – the figures are startling:

  • Excessive sitting down, the bulk of which we do at work, costs lives. People who sit down for long periods have a 90% greater chance of mortality from cardiovascular disease, are more prone to depression and have much higher chances of lung cancer (54%), colon cancer (24%) and womb cancer (32%).
  • Sick days make a £29billion dent in the economy says PWC. But presenteesim (feeling compelled to work longer hours, going to work ill, not taking holidays) – is costly too at £15.1billion.
  • Millions of UK employees postpone medical appointments because of work and 49% of people feel stressed at work every day according to The British Heart Foundation.
  • Seventy million work days are lost each year due to stress, depression and other mental health conditions and with 60-70% of those people in work – employers must not ignore their needs in the workplace.
  • 40% of the UK adult population will be obese by 2025 according to new research – that’s an increase in mental, physical and social conditions problems too.

A lack of motivation and sub-optimal health cut a potential £6 billion from the economy in 2012 according to The Centre for Economics and Business Research.

So what affects employee productivity, creativity and happiness and how can changes to the workplace promote the best financial and moral outcomes for businesses and employees alike? Over the coming weeks, we will look at the real definition of wellbeing and why it matters, how to put a wellbeing agenda in place and tips to make your workplace support your wellbeing goals.

To find out more about workplace wellbeing and how to write a wellbeing agenda, download our Workplace Wellbeing whitepaper, which is full of guidance and advice:

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