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Businesses urged to take up the Workplace Challenge

Businesses urged to take up the Workplace Challenge
  • 140 million working days lost to sickness, costing businesses an estimated £29 billion.
  • Average cost in employee sickness per year is estimated at £595 per employee.
  • Coupled with low productivity levels for staff who attend work whilst sick costs businesses a further £605 per employee year.

The Workplace Challenge (WPC), a national campaign backed by Sport England and the British Heart Foundation, is urging businesses to take part in an 8 week challenge, starting in January 2016, to promote the benefits of being physically active, reducing absenteeism and presenteeism, that have a negative financial impact on businesses nationwide. 

Aside from the health benefits of employees being active, there is a strong business case to support workplaces in getting active. The average cost in employee sickness per year is estimated at £595 per employee with 140 million working days lost to sickness, costing businesses an estimated £29 billion. This, coupled with low productivity levels for staff who attend work whilst sick, costs businesses a further £605 per employee year, with companies potentially losing £1,200 per employee, per year. 

Evidence has shown the Workplace Challenge to be of economic advantage in reducing sickness absence in physically active employees by as much as 82%, saving an estimated £24,395 per year per 25 members of staff.

The next National Workplace Challenge runs from 4th January to 28th February 2016. In Suffolk the challenge is facilitated by Suffolk Sport, Suffolk’s County Sports Partnership, running a portfolio of projects aimed at getting inactive people active, inspiring long-term lifestyle habits. 

During the WPC, Suffolk Sport will be promoting activities and taster sessions, both inside and outside the workplace, for employees to take part in, setting countywide challenges, competitions, and events with healthy and fun activities for all abilities - not just ‘sporty types’. There will also be real-time leaderboards to provide healthy competition between staff and other Suffolk businesses.  

Employees sign up to the challenge at www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/suffolk for FREE, accessing a host of information to help them get active, logging all physical activities via the website or a downloadable app, with prizes awarded throughout the challenge to reward activity. Workplaces can sign up prior to 4th January to register their information in readiness for the start of the challenge. 

John Clough, Director of Suffolk Sport, says of the challenge, “It is vitally important that employers invest in their staff health and wellbeing. The Challenge provides an excellent opportunity for team spirit and boosting morale with teams working together to achieve joint goals. Suffolk Sport is proud to facilitate the Workplace Challenge throughout the year inspiring the physically inactive to add sporting activities into their everyday lives.” 

Employee benefits of being physically active include, and are not limited to, helping reduce stress, depression, dementia and absenteeism, reducing the risk of long term health conditions like Type 2 diabetes by 40%, cardiovascular disease by 35% and some cancers by as much as 20%. 

For more information about how your business can take part, please contact Elaine Anderson-Browne at Suffolk Sport on 01394 444310 or via the Suffolk Workplace Challenge website www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/suffolk

Article by Active Suffolk

Suffolk Sport is one of 49 County Sports Partnerships across England. Working with a wide-range of local partners, our aim is to make Suffolk a physically active and successful sporting county. Our role is to co-ordinate sport and activity programmes in Suffolk and support the development of clubs, coaches and volunteers in the County. We are committed to getting more people in Suffolk playing sport and being active and providing everyone with the opportunity to achieve their sporting goals.