The value of occupational health (OH) within the workplace has been highlighted by a number of surveys and research.
A “white paper” by consultancy Cigna, Health and wellbeing – an employer’s perspective, found that more than half of employers polled (57%) offered OH, with 63% offering employee assistance programmes and 53% private medical insurance.
Four out of 10 employers also said they were looking to invest further in health and wellbeing benefits.
More than a quarter had also experienced employees being off work for extended periods while they waited for NHS treatment.
Separately, research from the CBI and Medicash has made the case that there are clear business benefits to supporting employee health and wellbeing.
The report, Getting better: workplace health as a business issue, has set out ways in which businesses can improve staff wellbeing and develop “joined-up” health and wellbeing programmes.
It also called on the Government to promote the Health and Work Service proactively once it launches (see below), so as to ensure it becomes “the default option” for employees who are absent for more than four weeks, and to use tax reliefs and incentives to encourage employer-funded interventions at an earlier point.
Research from financial protection firm Unum, meanwhile, has argued that employees who feel well cared for are 27% more likely to stay with their current employer for more than five years, compared with those employees who feel only adequately or poorly looked after.
Almost one third (30%) of employees said they would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel cared for by their employer. A further 26% said poor workplace wellbeing would make them less likely to stay with an employer long-term and 21% said this would make them feel less motivated and productive.
In addition, a report by insurer Zurich Life has identified critical illness as being one of the biggest risks faced by small and medium-sized businesses.
Almost two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises had no protection insurance in place for their owners and key employees, it found, despite the fact that nearly half (45%) highlighted the death or critical illness of key employees as a major risk.