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For Business


More so now than ever before with redundancies and headcount restriction, it is vital that employers are doing all they can to maintain and increase the productivity of their remaining workforce. Many companies are deploying different ways in which to achieve this but one popular means is through investment in employee well-being programmes.

Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer, is one of many companies who has had successful outcomes as a result of such programmes. They have worked on the links between health, diet, sleeping patterns and productivity among senior managers. They ran a 12-month study among 618 staff to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace health promotion programmes on employee health and productivity. A control group of 1,242 employees also completed questionnaires. The 618 staff were offered a range of health and well-being interventions, including health risk appraisals, access to an online health portal, occupational health services, wellness literature, seminars and workshops. The results (based on scores on a scale of 1 to 10) were a reduction in health risk factors of 0.45, a reduction in monthly absence of 0.36 and an increase in performance of 0.79. These figures may appear small but are still significant, argues John Cooper, Global Head of Occupational Health. The cost of running the programme for the 618 staff was £70 per employee. The improvements in absence alone, which worked out to be a reduction of 4.3 days per employee over the course of a year, meant a return of £1.90 for each £1 spent, he points out. And the productivity improvement represented an extra 6.32 hours of fully productive working time over a four-week period or, extrapolated over a year, a return of £691.26 per individual. "The results we got from the study closely mirrored the results from the US studies. Because we have the NHS, we did not expect to get the same savings as in the US, but we still saved £3.70 for every pound invested," Cooper says. (Full results of the Unilever study were published in The American Journal of Health Promotionís September/October 2007 edition, vol 22, no 1, pp45-53 (

AFREESH firmly believe that physical wellness impacts mental wellness and vice versa. To assist employers not only meet legislative obligations but also benefit from a productive, healthy and well balanced workforce with low absenteeism, AFRESH deploy a four pronged customised solution to maximise well-being: