Are your people physically absent or physically present but psychologically absent?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 30.8 million working days were lost in the UK in the year 2021/2022 due to work related ill health. Of those days, 17 million were caused by stress, depression or anxiety. The remainder were accounted for through work related injury, ill health and musculoskeletal disorders.

On average, each person suffering took around 16.5 days off work. Based on the UK average salary that is £2.7 billion worth of days lost, not to mention the damage to families, peoples well-being and the additional costs for businesses caused as a result of a stressed, burnt out or mentally ill workforce.

Age old research, such as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs identified that failure to meet the basic physiological and safety needs of a human prevents optimal functioning. More simply put, people who are in a state of stress cannot operate at their best or even close to it.

How many unrecorded working days are lost through employees who might be ‘present' in the workplace but who are not operating effectively? What are the consequences of this on other colleagues?

Many businesses simply don't understand the impact of this both on the individuals they employ and on their bottom line. Spending money on an annual employee engagement survey may not be the best place to start either. For one reason, it is unheard of for an engagement survey to yield a response rate of over 70% (more often it is not over 45%) and that in itself speaks volumes.

As an employer, leader, manager or business owner, you have a responsibility to create a safe and supportive workplace for your people by having a positive culture. Strengthening your culture and implementing a wellbeing strategy not only helps to meet the needs of your employees' physical and mental health, it will also reduce absence, help retain talent and boost productivity and motivation.

Reviewing some of the ways in which your organisation is meeting these needs can highlight easy wins and areas of opportunity. For example:

  • Assess your leaders and managers' ability to support colleagues across the business
  • Reconsider your colleague handbook or Employee Assistance or Benefits Programme
  • Evaluate the levels of diversity and inclusion across the business and its processes
  • Identify colleagues that may need additional support or ask how you can help

Without huge amounts of investment and usually with a significant cost benefit, it is possible to ensure that the environment in your workplace helps your people to feel safe, secure and more than that – to thrive!

Your people are your greatest asset. If you would like to measure or strengthen your workplace culture to avoid unnecessary costs and invigorate your workforce, please get in touch or book a chat here:

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