Fiona is one of our Social Value Specialists and the founder of health coaching co – Wellbeing From Source. In this blog, she discusses the benefits of investing in workforce health and wellbeing.

Health and Wellbeing has come into the limelight in recent years, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed, budgets are tight, employee priorities have changed and charities are struggling with capacity to provide help. Compounding this are rising inflation and a cost-of-living crisis.

Let me walk you through a few of the eye-opening costs associated with an unhealthy workforce:

  • For UK organisations the annual cost of sickness absence is now in the region of £29 billion, according to recent research by the CIPD.
  • On average, 38 days are lost per business, every year, to colds and flu (ONS).
  • 1 in 6 employees in the UK reported having a mental health condition, with stress, depression and anxiety being leading causes of sickness absence. In 2021-22, these conditions accounted for 17 million working days lost.

An unhealthy workforce also comes at a huge cost to society. Consider the tax burden and unsustainable demand on NHS services, for conditions that could potentially have been caught earlier or prevented altogether. The cost of GP treatment, counselling services in primary medical care, cost of A&E attendance…it all adds up.

Employers have the ability and the responsibility to prioritise the health of their workforce. This not only has a direct impact the health of employees, but delivers value for the government and local communities. You as an employer also benefit – from improved employee morale, motivation, productivity and reduced turnover. And if you tender for work in the public sector, bear in mind that Wellbeing is one of the Government’s five areas of Social Value.

The good news is that it’s easy to take action that supports your employees and improves your social value when it comes to health. For quick wins, we’d suggest:

  • An employee Mental Health campaign, to create community of acceptance and remove stigma around mental health (associated social value of £1 for every pound invested*).
  • Employees are provided access for at least 12 months to comprehensive and multidimensional wellbeing programmes (associated social value of £130 per employee*).
  • Employees are provided with professional support for anxiety and depression (at least six sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or equivalent) following a workplace screening (associated social value of £140 per employee*).

*Source: TOMs Framework, 2022-23

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1 Sickness absence in the UK labour market – Office for National Statistics (

2 Health and Safety Executive – Working Days Lost in Britain