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For Business

For Business


Absenteeism costs Irish Business €1.5 billion per annum. This translates into 14 million workdays (IBEC 2004) or indeed 9 workdays per employee (SFA 2006). The cost for a typical small company may be in the region of €500,000 per annum, whilst large corporate company costs run in excess of millions. The indirect costs are higher on productivity, quality, administration, staff pressure and morale. Stress and other mental health conditions are now among the main causes of employee absence, according to the CIPD absence management survey (2006). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that stress costs business £3.8 billion a year. The increase in obesity is also a major worry for policy-makers. Department of Health research reveals that if current trends continue, the proportion of men who are obese will have risen from 22% in 2003 to 33% in 2010. The number of obese women is set to rise from 23% to 28% over the same period.

The AFRESH partnership approach is particularly critical in today's business environment for companies who wish to reduce stress and absenteeism in the workforce. AFRESH have partnered with companies such as the ESB, Mc Donalds and Dublin Bus in the development and roll out of programmes to address these issues. AFRESH were involved in running Gut Buster and The Well-Being Factor with Dublin Bus. Management has advised that "The Well-Being Factor” rolled out by AFRESH received extremely positive feedback from staff in assisting them to have healthier lifestyles and which in turn contributed along with other initiatives in improving levels of absenteeism." The "Livin Well n Lovin It” programme run with Mc Donalds also assisted the company in these areas with 20% experiencing a lower cholesterol and 9% had a drop in illness. (More information on the Mc Donalds testimonial)

Research by the Department of Health in 2005 in the UK showed that for every £1 spent on such well- being programmes there was an average return on investment of £3.73, including a 34 per cent saving in absenteeism costs.

Other organisations to address the global problem of absenteeism include BT. Since telecoms giant BT launched Work Fit, a series of health promotion programmes, its workforce has shed around 33 tonnes of weight, mental health sickness absence has been reduced by a third, more than 300 staff have given up or cut down on smoking and thousands have made lifestyle changes to fend off cancer. Employees are not the only beneficiaries. As Paul Litchfield, BT’s chief medical officer, says the business also benefits from positioning itself as an employer of choice and from keeping healthy staff in work longer. BT has seen a 30 per cent reduction in sickness absence caused by mental health problems in the past four years. Though this is a result of a number of factors, Work Fit has played an important part, Litchfield says.

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: