Workplace health problems are costing Britain £77.5bn a year

Britain's Healthiest WorkplaceA survey carried out by the insurance provider, Vitality has revealed that health-related lost productivity in Britain’s workplaces is costing the UK economy an incredible £77.5bn a year.

The report in question, titled Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, also revealed a sharp increase in lost productivity. When the survey published its first results in 2014, there was an average of 23 days of lost productive time per employee per year. This has now increased to 35.6 days. Loss of productivity was found to be higher among young workers and those on low incomes.

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace was launched in a bid to get a better understanding of UK employees’ health and wellbeing. The latest survey revealed:

  • Employees lost 13.6% of their working hours due to unproductivity in 2018. 1.2% of these hours were lost due to absenteeism and a concerning 12.5% were lost to presenteeism (being present at work but being limited in your role due to a health issue)
  • Just 12.7% of employees surveyed showed high work engagement compared to 21.5% who reported low engagement rates
  • One of the main groups showing loss of productivity was young employees. It was also revealed that young workers are more at risk of mental health issues. 29.7% of 18.25 year-olds indicated that they suffer from depression
  • 34% of employees say they’ve felt unwell because of work-related stress. This was more prevalent among those on lower incomes
  • More than half of employees aged 18-40 said they have financial concerns. This group were shown to be losing more than twice as much productivity compared to those without any financial worries. They’re also more likely to be obese, suffer from hypertension, high cholesterol and experience difficulty sleeping
  • 2% of employees say they sleep less than seven hours a night and 45% have problems with the quality of their sleep
  • Despite better overall health indicators for women in the workplace, on average, they lost more working hours (15.1%) because of ill health than men did (12.1%)

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey was launched in response to the fact that many UK employers are failing to adequately invest in the health and wellbeing of their staff. More than 370 companies and 124,000 employees now take part in the study and since doing so, interventions by participating organisations include offering fresh fruit and vegetables at work and providing clinical screenings.

74% of employees who participated in any given intervention said they felt a positive effect on their health. Worryingly however, just 27% of employees said they’re aware of the interventions which are available to them.

You can find out more about Britain’s Healthiest Workplace and sign up to participate here.

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