Nine out of 10 manufacturing companies investing in staff health and wellbeing have seen a productivity increase, according to a new report.
Manufacturing companies also saw improved workforce relations, a reduction in absenteeism alongside a strengthening of staff retention as a return for wellbeing spend on staff.
The report from Make UK and Howden also found that companies in this sector were committed to improving the health and wellbeing of their staff: with 85 per cent stating it was their duty to encourage and promote both physical and mental wellbeing.
In order to deliver this 90 per cent of companies are investing in professional occupational health services, including counselling, health screening and mental-health first aiders.
The report says all manufacturers are investing hard-cash in health and wellbeing to some extent, with the largest companies investing the most – over £30,000 annually.
It also indicated that manufacturers are ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting workers returning after sickness – over 60 per cent already offer flexible working arrangements and around half professional occupational health support.
However this is a sector which has been hit by problems caused by ill-health: over 90 per cent of companies in this sector have workers who are sick long-term, and over 80 per cent are providing voluntary sick pay, and another 80 per cent easing the way back into work with phased and flexible working
The last official numbers from the UK’s Office of National Statistics showed 141m days lost to sickness absence in 2018, and over 17m working days lost to mental health related conditions. Across the whole of the UK economy, sickness absence costs companies £15bn a year.
Make UK’s director of labour market and skills policy Tim Thomas says: “There is a clear message from manufacturers that they realise a healthy and happy workforce is an effective one.
“Employers have also recognised that jobs within their businesses should be flexible and include career development and flexible working pathways in order that they retain staff. And in doing so, there is now clear evidence that productivity will improve as a result.”
Howden Employee Benefits divisional director Mark Fosh adds: “Coupled with a more general workplace wellness trend, manufacturers are investing in their health and wellbeing agendas, in a bid to build and maintain a healthy workforce and reduce absenteeism. This is clearly sending positive ripples across the sector.
“Manufacturers should now look to optimise the investments they are already making through seeking practical guidance on how best to manage their health and wellbeing strategies.”