Vitality calls on businesses to help employees engage with health and wellbeing initiatives

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Health insurer Vitality is calling on business leaders to help their employees engage with health and wellbeing initiatives after research revealed businesses could save £61bn per year by prioritising health and wellbeing.

The data from Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study, developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, found that three-quarters of ill-health related absence and presenteeism in British businesses in 2018, equating to £61bn, came from factors such as depression, poor lifestyle choices, and stress.

The data also revealed that employers lose on average, 35.6 working days per employee per year due to health-related absence and presenteeism .

Mental health was found to be a significant driver of productivity loss, accounting for £38bn of the total cost to businesses last year. Of this, £17.2bn stems specifically from workplace stress.

Chief executive at VitalityHealth Neville Koopowitz said: ‘With this data showing that employees lose, on average, over 35 days each a year, it is becoming impossible for businesses to ignore the link between ill-health and productivity.

‘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. Not only can this bring about a competitive advantage for companies, but it will ultimately build a stronger and healthier society for us all. With this being such an important and compelling ambition, we will be developing a number of initiatives that will support a healthier corporate Britain in 2019 and beyond.’