Reduce Workplace Absence

Workplace absence is a big problem in the UK. It costs the economy £12bn pounds every year. According to the 2007 survey from the Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) industries are implementing well-being schemes as a response to the rising rate of employee absenteeism. The solution needs to be preventative and curative. Encouraging well-being and providing health insurance for employees should they fall ill provides both companies and their staff with all round greater security.

CIPD questioned over 800 organisations and identified that different employment sectors have specific health problems associated with them.

-stress (a quarter of solicitors wanted to leave the industry due to stress and poor work/life balance), repetitive strain injury

-highest injury rate and mortality of any industry
-falls from heights, manual handling, transport, musculoskeletal injury, trips and slips

-exposure to chemicals and fumes, hearing, hand/arm vibrations, electric shocks, explosions, being confined in small spaces

Musculoskeletal injuries, trips and slips, violence, stress

Measures to improve wellbeing are one way in which this problem can be tackled and there are many options in this area. On the 9th September James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions outlined the importance of workplaces rewarding staff not just with money and time off and job security but also with good prospects and development schemes. He also highlighted the significance of good relationships as a factor in wellbeing in the workplace with emphasis being placed on ‘strong, trusting and respectful relationships.’

Another option is to provide employees with medical health insurance which has many benefits and in particular it makes employees feel looked after and valued and enables sick employees to return to work faster. Additionally, some health cover schemes include 24 hour counselling services which may also work as a preventative health measure.

It is in the best interests of the country, employers and employees to increase wellbeing and deal with physical and mental ill health as quickly as possible, particularly in the light of the current economic climate.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


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