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With an alarming backdrop of ever-increasing skills shortages, rapid technological change and an ageing workforce, manufacturers are investing more than ever before in their employees’ health and wellbeing. Counselling, health-screening and mental health first aiders are the norm in factories across the UK with modern and flexible working opportunities sitting at the heart of British industry.

This investment in people has brought with it a boost in productivity for 90% of manufacturers along with improvements in workforce relations. Manufacturing companies also saw a reduction in absenteeism alongside a strengthening of staff retention as a return for wellbeing spend on staff. These findings are revealed in the wide-ranging Make UK/Howden report “Health, Wealth and Wellbeing for Manufacturers.

Wellbeing is sitting at the heart of manufacturing businesses and is increasingly seen as a core objective for companies. To that end, 85% of firms see it as their duty to encourage and promote physical and mental health wellbeing in the workplace.

There is a clear message from manufacturers that they realise a healthy and happy workforce is an effective one. Employers have also recognised that jobs within their businesses should be flexible and include career development and flexible working pathways in order that they retain staff. And in doing so, there is now clear evidence that productivity will improve as a result.

But there is still a lot more to be done and manufacturers must continue to work hard to put health and wellbeing at the heart of their business plans with 10% of the manufacturing workforce due to retire in the next three years and with the pressures of new post-Brexit immigration rules, support for skilled workers has never been more important.
Tim Thomas Make UK,  Director of Labour Market and Skills Policy
Coupled with a more general workplace wellness trend, manufacturers are investing in their health and wellbeing agendas, in a bid to build and maintain a healthy workforce and reduce absenteeism. This is clearly sending positive ripples across the sector.

Manufacturers should now look to optimise the investments they are already making through seeking practical guidance on how best to manage their health and wellbeing strategies.
Mark Fosh Divisional Director of Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

Available resources

Occupational health / Wellbeing / Industry report