Health and wellbeing issues in UK workforce dragging productivity down

Alys Key
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Two in five have had to reduce work to cope with health problems (Source: Getty)

One in three (34 per cent) of people in the UK workforce may have a mental health or wellbeing issue, according to a new PwC study.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of 2,000 workers surveyed thought that their organisation did not treat wellbeing sufficiently seriously.

The results suggested that the strain on employee health is affecting their productivity, as two in five (39 per cent) said that they have had to take time off or reduce their responsibilities for health reasons.

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Jo Salter, director in PwC’s people and organisations business, said: “It’s becoming increasingly important for organisations to provide employees with support for their emotional and physical health at work. Healthier and happier staff perform better, stay in their business longer and reduce costs and risks for organisations."

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More than half (54 per cent) of the respondents worked for companies which do not offer health benefits such as counselling, health screening and subsidised gym memberships.

In fact, over half (55 per cent) of the UK workforce based in traditional offices don't do any form of exercise during the average working week, another report released yesterday by Smarter Working Initiative found.

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The research, conducted by a group advocating flexible working, also found that 65 per cent of employees thought less strict working hours would help them to exercise more.

Jason Downes, founder of the Smarter Working Initiative said: “A workforce that knows their employer has their wellbeing in mind will always be more motivated as a result. Maintaining an open dialogue is key and enabling staff to work in an environment that best suits them will ensure that productivity always remains high.”

Read more: Being productive doesn't mean squeezing more activity into your day

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