Absence within the workplace is a daily occurrence for most employers, whether it be a cold, neck strain or stress. However, an employee’s health and wellbeing can heavily affect a workplace, with an estimated 137.3 million working days lost due to illness in 2016. There are measurements in place when returning to work, but are companies investing in their employees’ wellbeing in the first place?
Return-to-work interviews and monitoring absences are essential, but being proactive and preventing the absence before it happens will have a far more positive impact. A person’s wellbeing can be determined by their home life, relationships, and their job. A recent government study showed that employees can be more creative, cooperative, and have better general health if they experience a higher level of wellbeing. Looking after your employees’ can come in many forms and will vary depending on the industry and the type of work being carried out. For example, wellbeing schemes can include healthy eating advice, gym memberships, physiotherapy services,or a health care plan.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are one of the main causes for absence at work within the UK. This is where having a wellbeing scheme could be used to its full effect. Prevention is key, we give staff training to make sure they are doing the best job possible, but keeping their wellbeing at the forefront of the working day could prove invaluable. Precautions can be put in place to bring down the number of people affected by MSDs in the workplace, such as an on-site physiotherapist to help with any injuries that could affect a staff member, ensuring all workstations are assessed and fit for everyday use or even an on-site manual handling course to ensure confidence and good practice. Focusing on people’s wellbeing could be the difference between a day of absence and a productive day’s work.
A survey conducted by Aon Employee Benefits has shown that employers are aiming to promote workplace wellbeing schemes: their Benefits and Trends Survey 2018 showed an increase from 36% to 42%. With that in mind, it shows employers are aiming to take steps in the right direction. Combining return-to-work interviews, the monitoring of data and an appropriate well-being scheme could be the ticket to a healthier and happier workplace.