The cost of sickness absence
In 2007 the average direct cost of absence from work was £517 per employee - or 3.1% of payroll - which includes lost production and the expense of covering absence with temporary staff or overtime. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also estimates that indirect costs, such as lower customer satisfaction, add another £263 per employee per year. When these indirect costs are added to the direct cost, the UK lost £19.9bn to absence in 2007 [i].
Reasons for sickness absence
Minor ailments, such as colds, were named as the most significant cause of short-term absence, while back pain came second. Non-work-related stress, anxiety and depression was the most significant cause of long-term absence among non-manual staff (CBI Report 2008).
[i] Leaker, D. Sickness Absence from Work in the UK. Office for National Statistics. Economic & Labour Market Review | Vol 2 | No 11 | November 2008
Research has shown that the benefits of improving health in the workplace include:
- Increased motivation of employees and a better working atmosphere, leading to more flexibility and better communication;
- Increased quality of products and services, more innovation and creativity, and a rise in productivity;
- Improved public image of the company, making it more attractive as an employer.
Healthy eating in the workplace
Healthy eating is an important part of promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Optimum nutrition is vital for boosting the immune system, thereby helping to prevent recurrent minor ailments such as colds.
Optimum nutrition also helps to break the vicious circle of stress and fatigue that can lead to reduced peformance and sickness absence.
Long-term studies by the Harvard School of Public Health have concluded that an optimally nutritious diet combined with regular exercise and not smoking can prevent 80 percent of heart disease, 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, 70 percent of stroke and some cancers, as well as substantially reduce the incidence of a host of other chronic diseases and health ailments[i,ii]. Therefore, ensuring that employees are eating healthily may contribute to a reduction in long term as well as short term sickness absence.
[i] "Combined Impact of Lifestyle Factors on Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study in US Women," Rob M van Dam, Tricia Li, Donna Spiegelman, Oscar H Franco, Frank B Hu, BMJ 2008;337;a1440
[ii] "Eat, Drink and be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating", Walter C. Willett M.D., The Free Press; Free Press Trade Pbk. Ed (April 2005)
Training and Consultancy Services
Services are tailored to meet client requirements. Examples of work undertaken include:
- Workshops for employees on nutrition, healthy eating and cookery
- Training on healthier catering for catering managers and staff
- Provision of information and guidelines on nutritional content, ingredients and methods of cooking where appropriate
- Facilitation of local healthy eating campaigns
- Provision of ideas for healthy packed lunches
- Support employees who are trying to eat healthily or lose weight
- Facilitation of corporate awaydays with workplace health as the theme
To discuss your training requirements please contact me