Mental health ‘the biggest threat’ to the health of the UK workforce

Managers of medium and large sized firms believe that mental health (51%), obesity/high body mass index (44%) and high blood pressure (30%) are the biggest threats to their employees’ health over the next five years.

The poll commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare of 1000 managers found that most of the respondents (74%) currently work for businesses which have an employee health and wellbeing strategy in place while.
Of those who don’t have one, over half (58%) say they are planning to introduce one within the next few years.
Chris Horlick, Distribution Director for AXA PPP healthcare, said: “While it’s good that Britain has weathered the economic downturn with relatively few job losses, productivity levels remain low compared with those of our G7 counterparts. “
Although various factors are thought to underpin this such as the relatively poor educational skills levels in the British workforce and transport infrastructure issues, employee wellbeing is one factor employers can do something about – and well worth doing so as employees who are mentally and physically well will have the resilience to drive better business performance.
“To achieve this, it’s important for employers to consider their workforce as a whole and introduce health and wellbeing strategies that also tackle any specific health needs. It’s essential to provide solutions that support healthy, active lives and, for employees who should become ill or injured, provide early access to investigation and treatment for an early recovery and return to work.”
Horlick concluded: “The extent of employers’ interest in employee health and wellbeing and their acknowledgment that they have some responsibility for employee health are both welcome findings. The challenge is to turn this goodwill into meaningful action through a more strategic approach to health and wellbeing management programmes that deliver measurable, sustainable benefits to employees and employers alike.”
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