Opperman has urged UK employers to invest in the health and wellbeing of their staff in a hard-hitting report ‘All Hands on Deck’, co-authored by employment lawyer Laura Farris, where he argues that companies with the strongest culture of health and well- being suffered a 5.9 per cent loss in annual productivity against 10.7 per cent for those with the least supportive cultures.
The report cites research by Mercer in 2017 that found that two thirds of employees viewed flexible working as a priority for wellbeing.
Opperman used the policy paper to promote health screenings in the workplace. He also calls for stronger backing of the mid-life MOT, and calls on employers to do more to promote financial health planning in the workplace.
Opperman cites health & wellbeing factors, low employee engagement, low levels of employee share ownership and improved financial capability of staff as factors impacting the UK’s low productivity, an issue described by Chancellor Philip Hammond as ‘the single most urgent challenge” facing the UK economy. The report says productivity per hour in Ireland is almost 40 per cent higher than in the UK.
The 2017 DWP/Department for Health Improving Working Lives consultation rejected calls for improved incentives to promote take-up of products that would support employees returning to work more quickly.
Opperman says: “We need to focus on the following key issues that businesses can address in order to boost employee engagement, and thereby their productivity: employee ownership, flexible working practices, individual well-being and financial security.”