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New report highlights that investment in staff health and wellbeing is money well spent

David Woods , 12 Oct 2010

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HR managers have successfully saved their companies millions of pounds by investing in the health and wellbeing of their staff, according to a new report published today by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

According to the report, companies providing workplace benefits such as physiotherapy services make significant savings through higher productivity and fewer absences caused by conditions such as back pain and joint injuries, which are known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The survey found three out of 10 managers believe staff who call in sick with a recurring condition are well enough to work, but just don’t want to.

A third find such absences irritating because others have to take on additional workload, while 22% say it’s a drain on their business they cannot afford.

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Half of employees feel their bosses don’t care about their health and a quarter fear being sacked or made redundant down the line if they take time off sick.

 
Nearly two thirds (63%) of SMEs do not provide occupational health services to staff.


The survey follows earlier research carried out by the CSP that showed 36% of employees work all day without a lunch-break and 31% experienced physical pain at work at least once a week, putting their health at risk and causing huge cost to employers.

Anglian Water, one of the companies featured in the report, was able to achieve a return on investment of £3 for every £1 spent on physiotherapy services. In addition, claims for back pain reduced by 50% and ill-health retirement by 90%. Royal Mail achieved similar benefits, with their programme providing a return of approximately £5 for every £1 invested.
 
The CSP is concerned that the attitudes of some employers may stop staff seeking help for health problems that may be preventable.
  
Phil Gray, chief executive of the CSP, said: "We recognise it is tempting in difficult economic times for businesses to cut back on health and wellbeing initiatives such as a physiotherapy service.
 
"But that is a false economy, because ignoring a recurring condition can potentially lead to lower productivity and high temporary staffing costs. 
 
"We are calling on HR managers and employers to follow the lead of companies highlighted in the report who invest in the health of their staff."

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