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LONDON, ENGLAND, August 27, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- PruHealth, private medical insurer, has revealed as part of its new Workplace Health Report* into the impact of health and wellbeing measures and culture in the workplace, that 89% of larger firms in the UK and 33% of SMEs offer health incentives for their employees.
Senior executives (75% of larger firms and 55% of SMEs) believe fostering a healthy lifestyle in the workplace is part of their role as a responsible employer. Furthermore, 83%** of employees stated that an employer's attitudes to health and wellbeing are an important factor when looking for a new role, which means providing a health and wellbeing programme has never been more important to help attract and retain quality.
Firms also believe health initiatives can help increase staff morale, improve productivity and reduce absenteeism as a 'halo' effect of a healthier workforce. Additionally benefits of encouraging a healthy culture in the workplace are also evident, with 51% of larger firms and 38% of SMEs experiencing a drop in absenteeism since introducing wellbeing initiatives.
With sickness and absence costing UK plc GBP20 billion a year*** larger firms with over 250 employees are actively encouraging a healthier and happier workforce as part of their responsibility as employers. As well as introducing initiatives, 81% of senior management are leading by example and engaging in healthy behaviour in the workplace, like sponsoring employees' charity fun runs (55%), taking part in exercise classes and sports teams at work (49%) or eating healthily in the office (35%).
With economies of scale proving a barrier for some companies, only 33% of SMEs offer health initiatives to staff. However, 47% of SME senior executives said they are setting a good example through healthy behavior and taking part in exercise classes and sports teams at work.
Shaun Matisonn, CEO, PruHealth commented: "When it comes to health and wellbeing programmes in the workplace, we are seeing a turning point in UK businesses. The provision of these programmes and investment in employee health are no longer peripheral issues, they are core concerns. Not only are employees demanding these types of employee benefits, but with the pressures of the current economic environment, fostering a healthy workforce has never been more important to help aid both morale and productivity.
"Having now built this momentum, companies must be careful not to throw money away on poorly executed health and wellness strategies. It is all very well having these programmes in place, but employee engagement must be actively and continuously encouraged. It is understandable that employee numbers in small and medium-sized firms may be an obstacle to putting together a football team or exercise classes, but there are lots of smaller-scale initiatives to get staff involved, such as using pedometers and providing fruit bowls.
PruHealth's Vitality incentive programme enables smaller companies to provide a full 'blue-chip' range of healthy activities for employees as part of their corporate private health insurance, enabling companies of all sizes to benefit from a healthier workforce."
The information contained in Prudential UK's press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found through the Prudential website.
Notes to Editors:
* Research carried out on behalf of PruHealth by Opinium Research LLP. 123 managers of larger firms (over 250 employees), 100 managers of SMEs and 994 employees were questioned online in March 2009. Results weighted to be representative of the adult British population.
** Business in the Community
*** CBI - Absence and Labour Survey 2008
PruHealth was launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings from South Africa to provide private health insurance. Since launch, PruHealth has grown quickly. PruHealth medical insurance now covers over 190,000 lives and in a sample of its individual customers, one third said they had changed their behaviour for the better because of its Vitality reward scheme which encourages policyholders to look after their health.
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