How Billions Could Be Saved By Firms That Focus On Wellbeing

In Employee Benefits, Healthcare, Mental Health by Tom McGuinness

In a recent blog post, we informed you about how wellbeing is stalling despite a bright economic outlook in the UK. It’s a reality that highlights how even though official figures show that economic prosperity is rising, that does not necessarily translate to improved happiness and life satisfaction.

As mentioned, employers can play a significant role when it comes to alleviating the financial worries of their employees by providing peace of mind in the form of benefits packages.

But benefits packages don’t just benefit employees, new data shows.

Huge savings to be made by focusing on wellbeing

According to Vitality’s ‘Britain’s Healthiest Workplace’ study, which is developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, UK businesses could save £61 billion a year by prioritising health and wellbeing.

The data reveals that in 2018 alone, UK businesses lost a total of £81 billion due to employees’ ill-health. That’s an increase of £4 billion on the previous year.

Three quarters of ill-health related absence and presenteeism (when an employee still goes into work despite being sick) was a result of depression, poor lifestyle choices and stress – all of which businesses can target and manage with engaging wellbeing initiatives.

On average, in 2018, UK businesses lost 35.6 working days per employee as a result of health related absence and presenteeism. Furthermore, mental health was found to be a significant reason for productivity loss, accounting for 47% (£38 billion) of the total cost to businesses.

A further £17.2 billion was lost last year as a direct result of workplace stress. Again, this is another revelation that businesses should acknowledge and address through suitable initiatives and interventions.

Interestingly, the Vitality data shows that the majority of employees do indeed have access to wellbeing and health initiatives. However, relatively few employees are actually aware of this, or make use of such programmes.

Engagement and communication are key

For example, 67% of employees have access to dedicated mental health programmes, but only 26% of those employees say they know about the interventions offered. In fact, just 18% of employees have taken advantage of such initiatives, according to the Vitality data.

The figures suggest that employers can do a lot more when it comes to communicating and promoting such initiatives. After all, what is the point of offering such benefits if relatively few employees take advantage of them? Many businesses are missing a real trick here.

Companies that scored highest in the Vitality study achieved a 30%-40% reduction in productivity loss associated with ill-health, compared to other businesses in the survey.

Speaking about the findings of the survey, VitalityHealth chief executive, Neville Koopowitz, said: “Simply implementing intervention programmes is no longer enough. By prioritising and elevating employee engagement in health and wellbeing within the business, ideally to board level, we can make a significant difference to productivity and the overall success of the business.”

Many employers recognise there’s an issue, but are unsure as to how they can implement a strategy to manage it. By taking simple steps to improve employee engagement, they can see a true return on their investment very quickly.

Tom is the Sales Director for Premier Choice Group. In his role, Tom oversee’s growth across all areas of the business while maintaining a small number of his own clients. At Premier Choice, Tom and the team deliver a unique, personal service to every client, while growing the business and maintaining a strong reputation as the UK’s best intermediary.