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Nine in 10 manufacturers who invest in wellbeing see productivity rise

Counselling and health screening are now the norm in UK factories

Nine in 10 manufacturers who have invested in their employees’ health and wellbeing have seen an increase in productivity and improvements in workforce relations, research suggests.

Manufacturing companies also saw a reduction in absenteeism alongside a strengthening of staff retention as a return for wellbeing spend on staff, according to manufacturers’ organisation Make UK and Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing.

The report reveals that against a backdrop of ever-increasing skills shortages, rapid technological change and an ageing workforce, manufacturers are investing more than ever before in their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Counselling, health screening and mental health first aiders are the norm in factories across the UK.

The last official numbers from the UK’s Office of National Statistics showed 141 million days lost to sickness absence in 2018, and over 17 million working days lost to mental health-related conditions.

Across the whole of the UK economy, sickness absence costs companies £15bn a year.

Over 60% of manufacturing companies already provide workplace adjustments including flexible working for those returning to work after a period of sickness absence, while 52% have put in place a professional occupational health service to support staff on their journey back to work.

In addition, 85% of firms see it as their duty to encourage and promote physical and mental health wellbeing in the workplace.

Tim Thomas, Make UK’s director of labour market and skills policy, said manufacturers 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,” he stated.

Mark Fosh, divisional director of Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, added that 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.