September: workplace health

Healthy workplaces are not just important for employees; they also help employers reduce sickness absence and productivity. On average, employers lose 5.7 days in the private sector to sickness absence, but some more are absent more than others. Take two examples from recent NICE guidance on workplace health:


On average, obese people take four extra sick days per year. In an organisation of 1,000 employees who work the national average week of 39.1 hours and are paid the national average hourly wage of £15.52, this equates to more than £126,000 a year in lost productivity.


On average, a person who smokes will have 33 more hours off sick per year than a non-smoker. For an organisation of 1,000, in which 25 per cent smoke and are paid the national average hourly wage of £15.52, this absence equates to a loss of more than £128,000 a year.

Want to find out the cost of poor employee health on your organisations? Employers can use a government interactive tool to work out the costs and create a business case for taking action.

We are inviting all local workplaces to look at what they can do to improve their employees' health. This may include promoting workplace health and making sure any employees with a long-term health condition are properly looked after while at work.  We’ll be giving employees advice on how to stay healthy at work, you can also get advice from the workplace health section on the NHS Choices website.