Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Health at work: could it work better?

How often have you or your colleagues been off work sick in the last year?

Most of us will have been off at some point for one reason or another - be it with the kind of cold or mild flu that lays us low for a day or two.

Thankfully much less common is the need for long-term sickness absence. And an article in the Telegraph recently shows that, while not as common as the odd day or two off ill here and there, it's still a pretty considerable expense - with long term sickness absence being estimated at a whopping £3.1 billion yearly cost to the private sector.

However, the picture isn't quite as bad as it may seem at first sight. Sickness absence as a whole is less than it has been at times in the past. According to this release by the UK Press Association, 178 million working days were lost to sickness in 1993 compared to 131 million in 2011, this is based on official figres from the National office for Statistics.

There are various means by which businesses can help to minimise sickness absence generally - these can include some measures such as the following

  • providing an employee assistance program
  • promoting health and wellbeing within the organisation
  • draw up and put into practice an occupational health scheme
  • provide private healthcare insurance for staff

For more info on sickness absence management, check out the CIPD website (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development) - and there's also some good online resources from the Health & Safety Executive and the government's Business Link site.

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