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Employees at work but unwell: what's the cost to your business?

Have you ever encountered unwell staff coming into work instead of recovering at home? This issue of presenteeism is an increasing problem within small businesses. In a 2017 survey, 86% of respondents said they had witnessed presenteeism in their organisations over the previous 12 months. That’s up from the 2016 figure of 72%.

The stats for leaveism – where employees work when they shouldn’t – also reveal cause for concern. Three-fifths of small businesses report that staff complete work outside of contracted hours and two-fifths use allocated holidays and other time off to cover their illnesses.

The data shows a workforce struggling to find the downtime we all need to maintain our wellbeing. And in small businesses, where teams may be compact, the consequences of poor employee wellbeing can be far-reaching.

False economies

On the face of it, someone working longer hours may not seem like an issue. But the CIPD reports that there are several ways ill people working can end up costing your business. Not only do they run the risk of infecting other members of staff with their illness, they may work less effectively, make more mistakes and ultimately remain unwell for longer.

Similarly, a work environment where staff feel obliged to work out of hours can grind down team morale.

Resetting the scales

Steve Thompson, managing director at Forward Role Recruitment, notes that “57% of employees would stay in their job longer if there was more effort put into looking after their wellbeing,” adding to that the same percentage believe their work quality would improve if more health measures were in place.

Findings by The Rewards & Employee Benefits Association suggest that employers are rolling out wellbeing strategies at a rate never seen before. Over half of respondents (54.8%) have no wellbeing strategy in place, but virtually all of this group plan to implement one in the next few years.

Focus on wellbeing

There are many different measures you can consider taking to start shifting the work-life balance at your business, addressing employee wellbeing and aiming to reduce the effect of illness.

Bupa cares

You don’t have to deal with the worrying issue of employee wellbeing alone. Bupa’s extensive team of medical professionals are here to help, with services that approach wellbeing from every angle.

If you’re looking to help your team find the right work-life balance, we can help you tackle presenteeism and leaveism in the workplace with a wide range of support and tools. It only takes a few minutes to get a guide price online.


Get a guide price

Find out more about our health and wellbeing cover for your employees

Please note: Existing in-patient, out-patient and day case benefit limits and exclusions for pre-existing conditions still apply to our cover for mental health conditions.

Bupa Anytime HealthLine is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority..

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ.

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