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Findings

As well as providing employers with an in-depth understanding of their employees’ health, and of the effectiveness of their workplace health interventions, Britain’s Healthiest Workplace also represents one of the largest and most comprehensive data-sets on workplace health and wellbeing in the UK, covering areas as diverse as lifestyle health, clinical health, mental health, work engagement, and productivity. You can access some of the key findings from the past 3 years of the study below.

  • Health Conditions

    doctor talking to patient

    Health conditions among respondents mirror wider trends across the UK, with a clear north-south divide: Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest workplace stress levels, while the North East reports the largest proportion of obese employees. 

  • Health Options

    women choosing vegetables at supermarket

    In large companies, healthy options in staff canteens, bicycle purchase schemes and clinical screening services all had awareness rates of less than 50%.

  • Physical Activity

    woman running along the road

    Efforts to encourage physical activity, including providing space for the bicycle storage and showers so that staff can cycle to work, are also widespread.

  • Health and Productivity

    man cycling to work

    There is a strong correlation between participation in workplace programmes and improved health and productivity.

2016

Full Report

Read our findings in full by downloading The Financial Times report.

Key Findings

  • 160 employers of varying sizes and sectors across the UK took part in the 2016 survey, with 34,000 of their employees providing responses.
  • Health conditions among respondents mirror wider trends across the UK, with a clear north-south divide: Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest workplace stress levels, while the North East reports the largest proportion of obese employees.
  • The public sector has the biggest percentage of employees suffering signs of stress, depression and financial worries. It also has the highest estimated loss of productivity from absences and presenteeism.
  • Health programmes that focus on nutrition are the most widely offered by employers, principally through the provision of fresh drinking water and facilities to store and prepare healthy food.
  • Efforts to encourage physical activity, including providing space for bicycle storage and showers so that staff can cycle to work, are also widespread.
  • Initiatives such as stress management to support mental wellbeing, and measures designed to tackle the heavy toll of smoking and alcohol, are less common.
  • For all health programmes, there is a significant gap between their provision and the awareness, uptake and belief by staff that the initiatives are useful.
  • Employees with flexible hours and the ability to work from home report lower absences and greater job satisfaction, and consider themselves to be in better physical and mental health.
  • Those with inflexible hours, who are office-based and who face long commutes, are less productive and in poorer health.
  • There is a strong correlation between participation in workplace programmes and improved health and productivity.
  • Less presenteeism is reported among staff involved in initiatives to lose weight, exercise more and sleep an optimal seven to eight hours a night.
  • Participation increases when employers allow staff to take part in health promotion programmes during working hours. Organisations whose senior management invest in workplace health and measure the returns see better results.
  • 73 per cent of employees surveyed have at least one form of work-related stress; 41 per cent have two or more; 21 per cent have three or more.
  • Half of employees surveyed said stress was due to unrealistic time pressure and demands; some 30 per cent said not being consulted about change in the workplace increased stress, while 28 per cent said it was a lack of control over the work that they do.
  • In addition, 5 per cent of employees said they were bullied on a frequent basis and 18 per cent that they had been bullied at some point in the previous 6 months.
  • Only 30.5 per cent of staff at large companies offering discounted gym membership were aware of the offer. Of those, 31.4 per cent took it up.
  • In large companies, healthy options in staff canteens, bicycle purchase schemes and clinical screening services all had awareness rates of less than 50 per cent.

Media Releases

Britain's Healthiest Workplace launches
VitalityHealth today announced it has teamed with the Financial Times to launch Britain’s Healthiest Workplace. The survey will measure employer and employee responses to questions about health and lifestyle, providing an overview of Britain’s workplace culture and an understanding of how health can be improved.

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Employees in overstressed, inactive and unproductive industries lose 27 days of productive time each year
Research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW)*, surveying more than 32,538 workers across all UK industries, revealed that high stress and lack of physical activity are causing industries to lose up to 27 days of productive time per employee each year.

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Britain's Healthiest Workplace winners announced for 2016
The 2016 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace winners have been revealed and the awards have recognised Nomura International Plc as the healthiest large workplace, adidas UK the healthiest medium workplace and Forster Communications the healthiest small workplace.

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A third of UK adults at risk from drinking too much, yet just 6% of those at risk say they want to cut down
Britain’s Healthiest Workplace investigates the lifestyle health factors people are most willing to change in 2017 – attitudes are shown to differ drastically depending on the specific risk factor, with motivation to change being low for alcohol consumption, but higher for exercise levels and BMI.

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2015

Full Report

Read our findings in full by downloading The Sunday Telegraph report.

Key Findings

  • In 2015 the average productivity loss (absenteeism and presenteeism) was found to be 8.45% of overall working hours.
  • Productivity loss was largely the same between 2014 and 2015. However, organisations that participated year on year show an increase in work initiatives.
  • There is a significant relationship between productivity loss and bullying, unrealistic time pressures and a lesser degree of job autonomy.
  • There is no statistically significant relationship between productivity and smoking or alcohol consumption. However, this does not necessarily mean these have no effect and it is expected that these lifestyle factors will reduce productivity in the long-run as they are related to serious long-term health conditions.
  • Financial concerns are more prevalent among men, more likely among young and middle aged individuals, more likely among employees on non-permanent contracts and positively correlated with number of children.
  • An employee with financial concerns has on average a 2.5% point higher work impairment share compared to an employee with no self-reported financial concerns.
  • An employee with less than 5 hours sleep has on average a 7.4% higher work impairment share compared to an employee with at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Compared to 2014, 79% of repeat employees saw an improvement in their Healthiest Employer score.
  • Since 2013, there was a 240% increase in participants responding.
  • Healthy employees have an equivalent of 30 additional days of productive time each year.
  • 76% of those surveyed reported that they engaged in at least two physical exercise sessions per week.
  • Approximately 32% of those surveyed had 3 or more health risk factors.
  • Almost half of respondents reported not eating five fruit and veg per day.
  • 87% of those surveyed reported worrying about work-related stress.
  • 77% of companies surveyed reported using work initiatives, such as distributing cards and letters, to encourage healthy lifestyles among staff.

Media Releases

Unhealthy employees costing British firms more than one month a year in lost productivity

British companies are losing on average 23.5 days of productive time per employee each year1 as staff take time off sick and underperform in the office as a result of ill-health.

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Work-life balance programmes most effective at reducing staff stress

Research from Britain’s Healthiest Company* shows UK companies are waking up to the importance of managing employee stress but more can be done.

Read more

Britain’s Healthiest Company winners are revealed

The 2015 Britain‟s Healthiest Company results are out and the awards have recognised Johnson & Johnson as the healthiest large company, adidas UK the healthiest medium-sized company and Old Mutual as the healthiest small company.

Read more

2014

Full Report

Read our findings in full by downloading The Sunday Telegraph report.

Key Findings

  • Sick leave and working while unwell costs organisations, on average, 7.78% of their yearly wage bill. Using ONS statistics, this translates into an estimated total cost of lost productivity to the UK economy of over £58 billion per year.
  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents reported at least two bad lifestyle habits that put them at serious risk of future ill health.
  • 87% of British workers have a Vitality Age older than their actual age, with an average difference of nearly four years older. (Vitality Age is a health-risk-adjusted age calculated using Vitality's unique algorithm.) Nearly one in seven people (13%) have a Vitality Age more than eight years older than their actual age.
  • Employees tend to be overly-optimistic about their current state of health; one third (33%) of employees have three or more risk factors but, of these employees, over half (58%) believe they are in “good” or “very good” health—meaning they are less likely to have the motivation to change bad habits.
  • About one in five employees (19%) suffer from at least one lifestyle-related chronic condition such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • 52% of respondents don’t eat healthily enough or don’t have a balanced diet; 67% of these respondents have no motivation to change their eating habits.
  • Nearly two in five (39%) are impacting or have impacted their health through smoking; three in five smokers (60%) have no intention of stopping any time soon.
  • Over a third (36%) are not exercising enough; 33% of these do not want to exercise more.
  • One in five (20%) are overweight or obese with an unhealthy body composition based on BMI (body mass index); 16% of these respondents do not want to lose weight.
  • Nearly one in five (19%) drink too much alcohol; 93% of these have no motivation to change their drinking habits.
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