Disengaged employees and poor health is costing the UK economy around £6bn; this is certainly a figure that cannot be ignored. Research from a recent study of 5,000 workers in the UK suggests that half of people admitted to not working to their full potential, citing low morale or stress as the cause of this. Another study also identified that the health of employees in Britain directly affects their ability to work, with 29 per cent unable to concentrate due to poor health and 24 per cent* suffering from burn-out. Preventative benefits can help tackle these issues, some of which are discussed below.
Health screening assessments are an excellent example of a preventative benefit. Whether the screening involves a simple check-up or a more in-depth health and fitness assessment, the process can help identify potential health problems at an early stage. The information uncovered by this benefit, although confidential, can help employers identify health concerns and trends that may be prevalent in a business. For instance, if the screening identifies that numerous employees are obese, have high blood pressure or smoke, actions can be taken to target these areas and organisations can begin to address concerns that may lead to more serious health issues in the future.
Other preventative benefits such as cash plans and employee assistance programmes can also be established to improve general wellbeing in the workplace as well as preparing employees for any unforeseen circumstances. This can help to manage stress levels. It is essential that in a world where people are more health conscious than ever and with an ageing population, employers stay ahead of the curve and adapt with this changing environment. In some cases, business models need to innovate and take into account the wider benefits available.
Typically these benefits have been seen as something provided to senior employees. Giving the wider workforce access to these benefits not only demonstrates greater equality among all employees but has an enormously positive impact upon employee health. This is something employees will greatly appreciate. Studies show that improving health in the workplace is one of the best things an organisation can do to improve productivity, with some studies suggesting there is a direct link between employee wellbeing and corporate outcomes. This is a huge incentive to distribute these wider benefits to the entire workforce*.