Britain’s Healthiest Workplace is the UK’s largest study of workplace health and wellbeing. It was launched in response to the fact that many UK employers are failing to adequately invest in the health and wellbeing of their staff.
Launched in 2013, the research aims to study the link between modifiable health risks and short-term productivity, and develop a common understanding of the meaning of employee health and wellbeing.
It also expects to establish a common set of standards that can be applied to all industries. Since its launch, nearly 400 organisations and over 124,000 individual employees have taken part. It is delivered by VitalityHealth in partnership with the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe. Findings are published each year in the Financial Times.
The study, which is free for employers to enter, has a number of key benefits, such as gaining a holistic view of employees’ health and wellbeing; assessing the work performance, productivity and engagement of employees; generating insights into how the work environment and organisational culture is influencing employee health, engagement and performance; assessing the effectiveness of an organisation’s current workplace strategy, including the extent to which facilities and services are being used, and what employees feel about their impact.
Each year, the study provides rich reporting on the above issues, benchmarked against other organisations from the same sector and the wider UK. The insights generated allow employers to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees, which supports higher levels of engagement and productivity.
How it works
It consists of four key components:
- Organisational Health Assessment — a 20-30 minute online assessment completed by a representative from the organisation
- Employee Health Assessment – an online assessment completed on a voluntary basis by the employees. Participants immediately receive a personal report outlining their vitality age, key lifestyle and health risks and suggestions for improvement
- Organisational Health Report – a comprehensive report outlining the health and performance of the employees, the effectiveness of the workplace health strategy, and benchmarking information against other organisations in the sector
- Expert Consultation – a consultation to discuss results and identify
future strategies with a workplace wellness expert.
During past years the survey has highlighted a number of key challenges for employers. For example:
The employee health challenge
A workforce comprises many employees with differing states of health:
- 91% have a vitality age (risk-adjusted health age) older than their chronological age
- 10% have a vitality age more than
- 10 years older than their chronological age.
Employers must design a programme which caters for everyone – both the healthy and the unhealthy.
The productivity challenge
Employees on average lose the equivalent of 30.4 days of productive time each year due to ill-health related absence and presenteeism. Of every hour lost, just five minutes are accounted for by formal absence from work.
Employers must tackle the underlying causes of presenteeism, rather than simply managing absence.
The participation challenge
Many employers do offer interventions. However, employees are on average aware of just a third of the interventions on offer, and use just one in 10. Workplace health initiatives will not drive improvements unless greater awareness and participation are achieved.
As well as providing employers with an in-depth understanding of their employees’ health, and of the effectiveness of their workplace health interventions, Britain’s Healthiest Workplace also represents one of the largest and most comprehensive data-sets on workplace health and wellbeing in the UK, covering areas as diverse as lifestyle health, clinical health, mental health, work engagement and productivity. The cost of lost productivity would reduce significantly with adequate investment in health and wellbeing.
Britain's Healthiest Workplace 2018 is calling for entries. Register here
Shaun Subel is director of corporate wellness strategy, VitalityHealth
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