Work-life balance biggest health issue for UK employers

Maintaining a good work-life balance for employees is the top health issue for employers, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).

Just over a fifth (21%) of respondents to its Group risk employer survey said this was the case, while 19% ranked stress and mental health issues as their top concern.

More than a third (38%) said taking steps to improve work-life balance was a top priority for 2012, while 27% said actively managing workplace stress is a key goal.

The research also found that around a third (32%) of respondents felt their absence rate has improved over the last 12 months, with 50% believing their absence rate to be lower than the industry average.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “A strong work-life balance is often overlooked as a major health issue to businesses, compared to more direct factors such as dealing with chronic conditions. But, the economic situation seems to have provided a timely reminder for businesses to take action to rectify unsustainable working practice.

“In times of increased economic pressure it is particularly important for employers to consider the impact a long-hours culture can have on the wellbeing of their employees and to develop strategies for dealing with the fall out such as, for example, increased stress-related absence.

“The recently published Sickness Absence Review recognises the importance of supporting employees to remain in the workplace. As welfare reform moves forward, any business that has already embraced the value of integrated health, wellbeing and absence programmes will feel vindicated while businesses that have not already understood how crucial this is will come to do so.”

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