The company is championing a new Staying Healthy at Work programme by calling on businesses to join forces through an Employer Network and commit to a simple, five-step framework to introduce health and wel-lbeing practices to the workplace.
Sickness absence costs the UK economy an estimated £16.8 billion every year. The Employer Network is a collaborative movement of employers, across all sectors, who have committed to working together to improve the health and productivity of individuals, businesses and the community in the East of England.
SHAW is run in partnership between NHS East of England and Business in the Community. Gary Theobald, head of HR at NHS East of England, said: “People in Britain’s work the longest hours with an average of 42.4 hours a week compared to European average of 40.5 hours yet the country lags behind the rest of the developed world in most productivity measures.
“Simply put, employees’ level of wellness can sustain or erode their level of engagement of productivity. We are asking employers to join the Employer Network and sign up to the framework to demonstrate a commitment to taking action on wellbeing and to improve the health of businesses in the region.”
Anglian Water will share best practice and highlight the benefits of signing up to the SHAW programme including the free support and tips available to increase employee engagement and reduce sick days. Its Water community relations manager Rachel Dyson has been appointed as an employer champion for the programme as the organisation has already implemented healthy workplace approaches.
She said: “The most precious resource a business has is its people. The health and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance to us and it benefits everyone involved; it is good for staff, the business, customers and the wider community.
““As a leading employer in the region we are committed to helping our people lead healthy lifestyles which in turn has a positive impact on staff morale and reducing absenteeism costs. We have put in place a number of initiatives to help us achieve this. Joining the SHAW network provides us with the opportunity to learn from others as well as share our experiences.”
BITC head of business development Debbi Christophers believes that businesses working together to take a proactive approach to promoting healthy behaviour and supporting staff with health challenges to remain at work wherever possible is the ideal solution.
She said: “Research shows that a structured workplace health and wellbeing programme can reduce sickness absence by an average 30-40% and that engaged employees generate 43 per cent more revenue than disengaged ones.
“Businesses should not feel like they have to tackle these issues alone. By signing up to the Employer Network they will be able to join forces with businesses of all sizes in the region which are facing similar challenges to share ideas and resources. SHAW can also put businesses in touch with services and support, many of which are free, to create an environment where employees can flourish.”