Ireland-based design, construction and operations contractor Celtic Anglian Water (Caw) has reduced its absence rate by 2.4 days per employee over two years, as a result of its ongoing health and wellbeing strategy.
Caw, which employs approximately 100 employees across operating sites in Dublin, Sligo and Waterford as part of UK water organisation Anglian Water, has reduced its absence rate from 6.9 days per employee in 2017 to 4.5 days per employee in 2019.
The organisation attributes this decrease to its health and wellbeing initiative, Life, which aims to improve employee wellbeing, boost motivation, reduce absenteeism and create a culture of care and concern. The strategy, which centres around health, safety and wellbeing, further works to bolster employee relations and assist talent attraction.
Initiatives featured in Life include mental health workshops, which launched initially in 2017. In the first year, Caw received a 47% participation rate across five workshops; this increased to 70% over seven workshops in 2018-2019. The organisation has also provided a bowel screening programme, resulting in two staff members being diagnosed with a condition unrelated to bowel cancer.
Other support measures include voluntary pre-diabetic screenings, through which so far one employee has been identified as pre-diabetic, a four-week mindfulness-based cognitative behavioural therapy (CBT) course, stress management workshops for all staff, testicular cancer awareness and a smoking cessation campaign, which five employees are participating in.
Alongside the Life programme, Caw wishes to focus on prevention and health promotion. To this end, the organisation has provided fruit baskets, raised awareness of the benefits offering and created a family cookbook, developed using staff recipes.
Caw communicates about the Life initiatives using emails, monthly newsletters, on-site electronic notice boards and team meetings.
Padraic Dolan (pictured), head of safety and quality, UK and Ireland at Caw, said: “We really value employee safety, health and happiness and have strived to create a workplace where employees thrive and recognise their health and wellbeing.
“This has paid incredible dividends, with the improved wellbeing of staff boosting motivation, reducing absenteeism and increasing staff retention. It has also boosted employee relations and assisted in making us more attractive when it comes to staff recruitment.
“Our experience highlights what can be achieved, even by a small business like ourselves.”