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Productivity losses cost business £91.9bn in 2019

A study has found that, based on data that suggests that, on average, 38 days were lost in 2019 by each employee due to physical and mental health related absence and presenteeism, today (21st February) can be seen as the first productive day of the year for British employees.

According to the data, which comes from Vitality’s annual Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study, in 2019, ill-health related absence and presenteeism cost British businesses and the economy an estimated £91.9bn. This is over a £10bn increase on the previous year.

The study surveyed 26,393 employees and 130 businesses in 2019 across the UK. It also found that 45% of workers in the UK had suffered from presenteeism in 2019, up from 29% in 2014. 55% of 18 to 25-year-olds had been to work presenteeism, compared to 38% of workers aged 45 and over. Depression rates have also increased since 2014, up from 4% to 8.5% in 2019.

Neville Koopowitz, CEO at Vitality, said, “Every year the results of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace find the costs to business from ill-health and presenteeism are spiralling upwards.  

“Despite this, many businesses continue to ignore the role of health and wellbeing and its intrinsic links to productivity. It’s no longer enough to create a health and wellbeing programme for employees and hope they’ll make use of it. The businesses that not only prioritise it, but also properly consider how they engage their employees to improve their mental and physical health, can see productivity increase in their workforce by as much as 40%, which is no insignificant number.”

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