Suffolk Sick Days Crackdown

2 March 2010, 05:52 | Updated: 2 March 2010, 06:09

Businesses from across the county will be given extra help to reduce sickness absence and increase productivity following the appointment of a specialist adviser who is dedicated to making sure Suffolk is ‘fit for work’.

Claire Parker started work as Healthy Ambitions Suffolk fit for work coordinator earlier this month. During the coming year, she’ll be working closely with businesses of all sizes to help them introduce fit for work programmes to promote healthy lifestyles among employees.

Claire told Heart 81,000 working days are lost in Suffolk every year by staff with mental health problems like depression and stress.

Claire will also be raising awareness of the benefits which having active and healthy staff can bring to a business, such as considerable financial savings, fewer days off sick and increased productivity. In addition, she’ll be looking for ways in which organisations across Suffolk can work together to encourage their employees to become healthier.

“Its really important for businesses to help their staff to stay healthy and active, as it brings with it huge benefits for both the company and the individual,” said Claire. “My role will involve working closely with businesses of all sizes to help them to do just that by introducing their own fit for work programmes.

“Nationally, an estimated 32.9 million working days are lost each year through sickness absence, which can have a huge financial impact on businesses. That’s why promoting good health is so important, especially in smaller companies where staff taking time off ill can have a massive effect on productivity levels and, in turn, profit.

“Fit for work isn’t about sweating in the gym for hours and eating only lettuce leaves – its about developing opportunities for staff to become a little bit more active on a daily basis. Whether it’s through starting a lunchtime walking club or a cycle to work scheme, small changes can make a big difference and are both good for health and good for business.”