Businesses were encouraged today to do more to assist the health and wellness of their employees after a record number of Britons missed work due to long-term illness.
Chloe Smith, the secretary for work and pensions, urged businesses to invest in their workers so as to stop “even more individuals from becoming inactive owing to long-term bad health.”
In the three months leading up to August, according to official statistics released this week, there were slightly more than 2.5 million individuals who were chronically unwell.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, this represented an increase of about 170,000 over the preceding three months.
While highlighting how a “healthy workforce supports a healthy and expanding economy” in light of Prime Minister Liz Truss’s plans to increase economic growth, Ms. Smith concentrated on the subject.
The Cabinet member praised businesses that provided in-person counseling to help their employees’ mental health as well as those that implemented “on your feet” days to prevent workers from spending too much time in front of computers.
In order to fill the more than 1.2 million openings at businesses around Britain, the Work and Pensions Secretary described government initiatives to assist individuals in finding employment.
Nevertheless, Ms. Smith cautioned that corporations too have to do their share in a speech to the Policy Exchange think group.
“We’re expecting firms to invest in the advancement and wellness of their workforces in exchange for the Government assisting businesses fill their vacancies,” she added.
And taking this action is essential to ensuring that we don’t see similar labor market difficulties in the future.
“We can make every effort to assist firms in filling their openings. Employers must support employees so they may begin, remain, and prosper.
Before the Covid problem, Ms. Smith pointed out, firms were said to have lost £9 billion annually due to employee absences due to illness.
We are aware that this inhibits the development of enterprises, she said.
Out of the nine million people in Britain who are classified as “economically inactive,” the Work and Pensions Secretary said that 2.5 million of them are long-term unwell, an increase of 378,000 since before the epidemic.
Many firms are working hard to support the health and welfare of their employees, she added.
“But more has to be done to properly address this problem and avoid even more individuals from becoming inactive owing to chronic bad health—and to prevent even more companies from struggling to find the talent they need.
Ms. Smith applauded Sawday’s, a travel agency located in Bristol, for having a qualified mental health first aider in each of their teams, offering contact with a mental health support expert, and providing up to four sessions of individual counseling for workers who may need it.
Musculoskeletal conditions are “another significant cause of individuals becoming long-term unwell,” according to the Work and Pensions Secretary.
Again, there are things companies can do that would be really helpful in this regard, she said.
For instance, Forms Plus, a print provider located in Cornwall, organized a “on your feet day” when staff members gather to do two minutes of exercises every hour, cognizant of the negative effects of spending extended periods of time in front of a computer.
“When companies adopt a comprehensive strategy for taking care of their employees, there is a higher likelihood that frequent problems can be avoided, talent can be kept, individuals will have a greater chance to realize their potential, and the firm will grow,” says the author.
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