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Sophia Taha

Member Article

Do businesses focus enough on employee health?

With mental health issues impacting on 1 in 4 people in any given year and nearly 2 thirds of men and women being obese or overweight in Britain, what is going wrong in British business? Is there enough focus on employee health and what steps can be taken to change the status quo?

The Liverpool health cash plan provider Medicash and employers body CBI have urged businesses to address the health and wellbeing of their staff.

In a joint report that they published they say: “The costs of absence and presenteeism are a major burden at a time when businesses’ attention should be on investing for growth.”

The report also noted that “The CBI’s 2013 absence survey found the average total cost for each absent employee in 2012 was £975, while the median cost of absence per employee totalled £622.4”

An OECD report published in February 2014 found that mental ill-health costs the UK economy 4.5% of GDP.

There is a strong business case for putting health and wellbeing of employees at the forefront of a businesses plans.

In a nutshell healthy staff reduce costs to the business.

However with most of the working day spent sitting, which has been called as bad as smoking, are companies doing enough to ensure their employees are healthy and happy?

Currently I would say there is no general trend towards healthier employees. Companies do not think of the wider picture and so do not budget for healthy options for their staff.

What steps can companies take?

  • Reducing the number of hours sitting can be a great move, with investment in standing desks or standing meetings decreasing the amount of hours employees aren’t moving.
  • Encouraging healthy eating habits in the workplace by providing fruit
  • Organising staff exercising classes or having a deal with a local gym
  • Giving flexible working hours so those that need to go to appointments for mental health issues have the time to do so.

Does your company focus on the health of employees? Are there any examples that you can share? Comment below or email

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sophia Taha .

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