Health survey reveals economic impact to UK economy

In a recent study conducted by Vitality, the health and life insurer, alarming figures have come to light regarding the significant economic impact of poor health on the UK economy. The research surveyed 59 organisations and received 4,787 employee responses. It revealed that poor health costs the UK economy an estimated £138 billion per year, primarily due to absence and the subsequent impact on productivity in the workplace. These findings shed light on the urgent need for businesses to address the health and well-being of their employees to mitigate these substantial economic losses.


According to Vitality’s 2023 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, UK workers lose an average of 6.1 days per year due to formal absence, with the majority of lost working hours attributed to employees being unable to work effectively as a result of ill-health. The study further highlighted that on average, employees lose nearly one day per week (43.6 days annually) due to a variety of mental and physical health issues such as musculoskeletal conditions, depression, and poor sleep quality.


The impact of poor health on the workforce has profound implications for the economy and businesses as a whole. However, the research also indicated some positive developments, suggesting that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s productivity have mitigated to some extent. The 2023 study revealed reduced levels of burnout (27.1% lower), job dissatisfaction (10.6% lower), and a decrease in the difficulty reported by home-workers in relaxing away from work (43% lower).


Moreover, the research delved into the specific effects of different health conditions and health-related risk factors on workplace productivity, providing valuable insights for businesses to effectively support their employees. Mental health issues were found to have the most significant negative impact on productivity, with individuals at risk of depression, fatigue, and burnout losing 151%, 141%, and 120% more productive days, respectively, compared to those who do not report these health issues.


These compelling findings underscore the critical importance of prioritizing employee well-being and fostering a healthy work environment. By addressing mental and physical health challenges in the workplace, businesses can not only improve the overall health and happiness of their employees but also significantly enhance productivity and reduce economic losses associated with absenteeism and reduced efficiency.

Role of employers


Employers play a pivotal role in promoting employee well-being, and there are various strategies that can be implemented to create a healthier and more supportive work environment. Encouraging open communication about mental health, providing access to counseling services, promoting physical activity, and offering flexible work arrangements are just a few examples of initiatives that can positively impact employee health and productivity.

In terms of support from employers, respondents said they did not feel that workplace culture supported their wellbeing, with one in five stating their manager did not care about their health. Specifically, employees earning less than £30,000 per annum were 86% more likely to feel unsupported than higher-earning colleagues.

A call to action


Furthermore, the study’s findings serve as a call to action for policymakers, business leaders, and healthcare professionals to collaborate in developing holistic approaches to address the broader societal impact of poor health. By fostering a culture of well-being and implementing targeted interventions, businesses can create a positive ripple effect that not only benefits their employees but also contributes to a healthier and more prosperous economy as a whole.

About P3 Business Care


P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees and immediate family working in partnership with the company. Our Business Partners visit your business weekly developing trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover.  Read more about our services here


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