workplace wellness practices

UK Tries ‘Code of Practice’ to Improve Employee Wellbeing

Among the challenges for well-run workplace wellness programs is finding businesses that are able to institutionalize workplace wellness practices. The UK may have a solution.

Workplace Insight reports on a “new code of practice for employers to improve health and wellbeing for staff.”

Some of the statistics that Britain businesses are fighting are extraordinary — and outline the problem:

  • “137 million working days were lost to sick leave in the UK in 2016, with organisations spending £9 billion each year on sick pay and associated costs.”
  • “The cost of ‘presenteeism’ – where employees attend work whilst ill and do not work efficiently – has also risen sharply in recent years.”

We previously reported on the costs of presenteeism:

  • The firm Wildgoose conducted a survey of employees from 250 companies across the UK and wrote: “It is imperative that employers address the issue of mental health symptoms within the workplace, particularly as it is estimated that the average cost to a business per employee as a result of absence due to mental health symptoms totals £1,035 per year.”
  • A study published in BMC Public Health titled “Healthy and productive workers: using intervention mapping to design a workplace health promotion and wellness program to improve presenteeism” states: “The economic costs related to presenteeism exceed those of absenteeism and employer health costs. Employers are implementing workplace health promotion and wellness programs to improve health among workers and reduce presenteeism.”

We’ve also noted that a clear communications program can help. A study titled “Let’s work out: communication in workplace wellness programs” and published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, which sought “to examine the association between health-related communication and health behaviors among co-workers in a workplace wellness program.”

The current Workplace Insights post notes that “The code of practice, PAS 3002, provides recommendations to establish, promote, maintain and review the health and wellbeing of workers within an organisation. It considers how health and wellbeing should be incorporated into the working environment and how leadership can ensure health and wellbeing related services are available to employees.”

Tomorrow: What the Code looks like