The greatest wealth is health

The January blues should by now be over and many organisations are focussing on reducing staff absenteeism rates and enhancing their employee’s motivation levels.

A recent article in HR Magazine titled “Work/life balance ranks higher than stress as the biggest health concern for employers”, reveals the latest research carried out by Group Risk Development Company GriD. The report revealed that 21% of employers have placed achieving a good work/life balance as top priority for 2012.
 Achieving a good work/life balance overtook stress and mental health issues which only received 19% of the votes, despite being the most common cause for workplace absence.

With many employees struggling to stay positive at the prospect of another year of financially uncertain times the need has never been greater to support your workforce in achieving a good work/life balance. The ‘long hours’ culture which so many adopt may seem beneficial in the first instance however, it is the most common reason for low morale levels and stress related absence. Despite 32% of employers suggesting that their absence rates have improved over the last 12 months, 50% still believe that they are lower than the industry average.

GRid encourages business leaders to take action, which is demonstrated by 32% employers who are making work/life balance improvements top of their agenda. This in comparison to the 27% who have made actively managing stress their goal, means that employers have finally recognized the importance and impact that having a good work/life balance can have on employee productivity and wellbeing. GRiD stated that “in times of increased economic pressure it is particularly important for employers to consider the impact a long hours culture can have on the wellbeing of their employees.”

Supporting the GRiD survey the release of the Aviva Health of the Workplace Report 2011 revealed that 47% of business leaders have now realised the importance of looking after their staff’s health & wellbeing and 35% of business leaders aim to encourage a better work life balance. With stress levels rocketing in the last 5 years employers need to take a responsible approach in introducing motivational programmes that reward and recognise employees, alongside promoting positivity and wellbeing.

The average UK worker works an additional 4hrs per week equating to 30 days a year, illustrating the need to help employees achieve a more practical work/life balance. The Balancing Act Report 2011 revealed that a staggering 10 million people in the UK have seen their work/life balance deteriorate since the recession. The Balancing Act Report highlighted that 35% of UK workers spend more time at work than at home however, 80% of UK workers believe a good work life balance has a positive impact on productivity.

Take time this year to concentrate on improving your employee’s work/life balance, after all the greatest wealth is health!

Sophia Tirelli

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