Why is every day a sick day for the UK?
65,000 people call in sick every week, according to the British Heart Foundation. Given that 71.8% of our 63.7million population is employed, to have 65,000 of those out of work during any given week is shocking. So, why is every day a sick day for the UK?
Aside from the cost of this to the UK economy (£100bn p.a) the reflection of these statistics on the health of the UK is far more alarming.
In August 2013, the BBC reported on a study done by the University of Bristol which found that 80% of those surveyed failed to meet the Government recommendations of ‘moderate exercise at least 12 times in a 4 week period’.
As a nation, we should be doing far more to keep ourselves happier and healthier however the general reasoning for doing so little is ‘I don’t have time for exercise, I work too much’ or ‘we have a recession, I can’t afford an expensive gym membership’. Which is exactly why organisations should get pro-active in ensuring the health of employees. Once the general health of an organisation improves, the very concept of ‘taking a sick day’ for minor illnesses will become a thing of the past.
People’s workload and incomes are both directly attributed to the organisation they work for, so why not implement a workforce wellbeing programme? No organisation would purposefully make their employees unhealthy or unhappy, so why not change what you can?
The British Heart Foundation’s programme ‘Health at work – promoting workplace health & wellbeing’ is a great and free online resource full of tips, physical activity challenges to take part in and a whole host of communication material.
Once you decide to create a wellness plan, you will want to know how to implement it which we have explained in full here. You will also need to find out what area of fitness needs to be addressed based on the specific health of your employees. ‘Know your numbers’ mini medicals are a great way of finding this information. Perhaps smoking cessation plans are needed in your workplace, or general lack of activity should be addressed?
As the New Year approaches and Christmas has passed, you will find your employees to be more motivated than ever to get fit, so January is the perfect time to start.
If we can keep those sick days at bay, perhaps 2014 won’t be such a sickly year for the UK after all!