Everyone is entitled to a day off or two when feeling under the weather. An illness where an employee is unable to work productively, run the risk of making themselves sicker and put others at risk qualifies for a sick day, and with that comes sick pay. As Small Business reports, new research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) reveals that UK employers are losing 27.5 days of productive work per employee, per year due to poor health, costing the UK economy an annual £73billion.

In their research, BHW (who are commissioned by Vitality Health Insurance) measured employee health in terms of exposure to risk factors. These risk factors included problems associated with sedentary life like obesity, back/neck pain and low fitness level, poor diet, or medical issues such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. They found that a whopping 68% of respondents have at least two of these risk factors, and a third suffers from at least three.

Adrian Lewis, director of ActiveAbsence, says, “This should be a call to action for employers to prioritise the health of their workforce and promote exercise and wellbeing initiatives that encourage staff to be fitter and healthier.”

We’ve covered ways to make the workplace healthier previously on 1850 Thoughts, and it’s both in the office design and strategies of management and staff. Here’s a recap of some of the best ideas we’ve come across:
  • Plant-life: adding plant-life as d├ęcor not only looks contemporary but also brings health benefits to the office, including stress relief, cleaner air and reduced noise.
  • Alternative desks: Sit-stand and treadmill desks are a rage which promotes keeping active while working as opposed to continuous sedentary working.
  • Encouraging different means of transport: depending on the distance employees have to travel, advice is given on how to up their physical activity on their commute, whether it’s cycling the entire journey or getting off a few stops earlier than normal to breathe in the fresh morning air by walking.
  • Making healthy food choices: buildings could look at what food they provide in vending machines or canteens and look at swapping in healthy alternatives for the not-so-healthy options. Or like Arup Boston, provide a map and advice of nearby healthy food vendors.
  • Flexible working: allowing employees to work flexibly to suit their lifestyles may be beneficial. For example parents who need time for childcare or those who work more productively later in the day after a sufficient amount of sleep.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our Content Writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with a love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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