Healthy work: Evidence into action

Bupa, together with The Work Foundation, RAND Europe and C3 Collaborating for Health today released a new study: 'Healthy Work: Evidence into Action'. The report examines over 600 pieces of evidence on the effectiveness of a broad range of workplace health interventions and identifies how employers, government and providers of these interventions can respond to the challenges the UK faces in terms of productivity and public health.

Sickness absence costs UK businesses an estimated £17 billion a year.1 In the face of rising business costs and the lasting effects of a global recession, a healthy workforce is vital if the UK is to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global economy. Evidence shows that employers who invest in appropriate workplace health initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of their employees can see a return on their investment which ranges from £2 for every £1 spent to £34 for every £1 spent,2 representing a huge opportunity for UK businesses.

The report highlights that government policy could make a significant difference to investment in this area with Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work Wellbeing, calculating that encouraging more employers to invest in a broader range of initiatives to support key public health goals could deliver more than £60 billion savings for the public purse3.

Commenting on the report, Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work said: "There is an overwhelming body of evidence that being in work is good for peoples' health. It is also good for the economy and wider society: the costs of working age ill health in the UK exceed £100 billion per year. I am delighted that more people are taking an interest in how to help people with health conditions stay in work, or get back to work."

Fergus Kee, managing director, Bupa UK and North America,commented: "Whilst the worsening health of UK workers over the next 20 years presents huge challenges, it also
presents an unusual opportunity for a win-win set of activities for employers, government and society. This report demonstrates that, though the cost of failing to meet these challenges will be great, the benefits of taking action are likely to be even greater."

The study establishes that in order for workplace health initiatives to be effective, they need to be central to an organisation's culture and aligned with its business objectives.

For a copy of the full report, please click here. (pdf, 1.5 MB) 


Notes to Editors

1 Confederation of British Industry (2010), On the path to recovery: Absence and workplace health survey
2 Healthy Work: Evidence into Action (2010), page 46, fig 9
3 Working for a healthier tomorrow (2008), Dame Carol Black's review of the health of the workforce, p53

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