Employers could access a range of business benefits if they were to increase investment in the wellbeing of their staff.
This is according to a new report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Medicash which has demonstrated how improving the health of employees can reduce absences, boost productivity and lead to better levels of engagement.
Recently, the CBI's absence survey found the average annual cost of a member of staff missing work is £975 each and this leads to an overall cost to the UK economy of more than £14 billion per year.
In addition, the organisation said these figures could be estimated even higher if they were to include the loss of productivity resulting from presenteeism, which is where staff attend work even when they are feeling unwell and unable to perform to their regular standard.
Neil Carberry, the CBI's director for employment and skills, said: "Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business. Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits.
"It’s time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace. Encouraging investment that gets people back to work sooner, with less of a burden on the NHS, is in everybody’s interest."
The organisation's report into the issue outlines a series of steps employers can take to help improve the health of their employees.
One of the key elements is the development of joined-up health and wellbeing programmes – which are designed to take into account latest public health trends – as well as taking a proactive approach and attempting to influence employee behaviours.
Furthermore, it is recommended managers are provided with the training and support required to handle health conditions and a system is put in place to deal effectively with absences and the subsequent return to work.
As well as encouraging investment and change within businesses, the CBI has also called for the government to support these efforts through the promotion of the new Health and Work Service and the introduction of tax-relief incentives to ensure employers can intervene in health conditions.