Last updated: 25.05.14

Leading charity supporting health and fitness training

While most companies acknowledge the importance (and in many industries, the legal necessity) for formal training on various key aspects of a job, there is a growing market for programmes that focus on other areas, such as health and wellbeing.

These schemes may seem unnecessarily altruistic to some, particularly small employers, but it is worth considering the long-term benefits that they promise; namely better output from staff through fewer sick days and happier, more motivated staff.

Earlier this year, the Office for National Statistics issued figures showing just how significant these issues can be. In fact, it estimates that 131 million days were lost by the UK workforce in 2013 due to sickness absence. 

While this was noticeably down from 1993 when the figure stood at 178 million, the report suggests that a lot of this is still avoidable. In fact, the most common reasons for sickness absence were minor illnesses, but musculo-skeletal problems such as as back, neck and muscle pain were responsible for more lost days than any other cause.

A lot of these issues can be caused or at the very least exacerbated by unhealthy workplace practices and training staff on things such as posture and how to avoid migraine or eyestrain while using computer equipment could make a noticeable difference.

Looking at the more significant health problems associated with a generally sedentary lifestyle, the British Heart Foundation has actually launched a new workplace training initiative that aims to help employers develop their existing initiatives.

It will incorporate everything from healthy eating campaigns to tools for managing stress at work - all with the aim of providing a fitter, more productive workforce. It is important not to underestimate the impact that such resources can have for staff and their views of their employers.

In fact, a recent study by health insurance specialist Westfield Health found that nearly three-quarters of workers would be more likely to feel satisfied, loyal to an employer and motivated if they knew that the company cared about their health.