Sickness absence measures at financial firm praised by CIPD

The CIPD has praised a financial services firm’s attempts to drive down sickness absence this year.

Small business National Deposit will convert an unused archive room into a gym, and free fruit will be supplied weekly to all 65 staff to encourage them to look after their health. Staff will also begin to grow fruit in the office’s garden, and a cafe providing healthy-option snacks will be installed later this year.

HR manager Lyn Goodfellow told Personnel Today: “Non-financial rewards remain just as important during a downturn, and it’s essential that people enjoy their work.”

On average, 34 million work days are lost to sickness each year – 1.4 days for every UK worker – according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), hailed Goodfellow’s plan to keep staff health on the agenda despite the current economic downturn as hugely beneficial.

He said: “Many staff are so busy in terms of their work and the demands they’re under at home that they don’t have time to build exercise into their life or make healthy choices around their diet, so anything an employer can do to support employers in that area these days is a positive step.”

A survey earlier this month by Personnel Today‘s sister organisation, pay specialist IRS, found more than 80% of employers had taken steps to reduce stress in the workplace.

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