How does your business deal with drug and alcohol issues in the workforce?

It’s a subject you might not want to think about, but drug and alcohol problems are a real concern for today’s businesses.

More than 9 million people in England are drinking more than the recommended daily limits, and alcohol is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK – after smoking and obesity. Nine per cent of men and four per cent of women in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence, yet only 6.4 per cent of dependent drinkers access any form of treatment.

In the workplace, harmful drinking can occur in a number of ways, from excessive drinking in leisure time, and inappropriate drinking in work hours or before shifts, to binge drinking during or after work activities. According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, alcohol can have an array of negative effects in the workplace, including absenteeism, neglect of details, more frequent mistakes, decreases in the quality and quantity of work, and inconsistent performance.

It is a also widely believed that alcohol is the cause of numerous accidents in work. The International Labour Organisation estimated up to 40 per cent of workplace accidents are related to alcohol use.

So how can your business help employees who are drinking to much, or are addicted to other substances? Contact OHBM for information about our fast-track to specialist drug and alcohol rehabilitation, our 24 hour testing service, and support with your workplace policies.

Watch the video below for further details.


Hospital Offers Laughter Classes To Cut Staff Sickness Absence Levels


Hospital managers at a UK hospital have launched a number of different initiatives in a bid to improve the health of employees and cut staff sickness. The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust now offers free laughter yoga therapy, hypnotherapy weight loss and healthy eating cookery classes.

This move was in response to an increase in staff sickness and long-term absences over the last year. Reports showed an increase in sickness absence rates at the hospital from 3.4 to 4.5 per cent in the six months from last August. There are more than 10,700 staff within the Trust, who will have access to these well-being activities.

What is laughter yoga therapy?

Laughter yoga therapy involves voluntary, rather than spontaneous, laughter. Working in groups, participants use eye contact and playfulness techniques, with prolonged forced laughter becoming both contagious and real. It is based on the premise that participants elicit the same benefits from making themselves launch as they do from spontaneous bursts. Incorporating yogic breathing, the activity is said to bring increased levels of oxygen to the brain and body.

Studies have shown laughter yoga boasts benefits in terms of mood, cardiovascular health. There are reports pain thresholds becoming higher after laughter and that it has a role in social bonding.

There are also other free and discounted therapies and activities, aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle amongst staff. These include exercise classes, sports activities, rambling and more.

Why is health and well-being important?

Sickness absence can be a difficult cycle to break. In environments where employees are frequently off sick the remaining staff suffer too, as their workload gets heavier. With an increased workload and more pressure in the workplace, remaining employees may suffer from stress, or increased illness and infections from being tired, overworked, and run-down. In a situation like this, negativity also breeds amongst the workforce.

Putting preventative measures in place to encourage healthy habits such as exercise and healthy eating can help reduce sickness absence levels. It can also promote a feeling of wellbeing and happiness throughout the business, which breeds productivity and staff loyalty.

At OHBM we can advise HR and management, and support employees, to help your business manage sickness absence proactively and effectively. Our concise reports help you make informed decisions about individual staff members, and we can work with you on either a regular or ad-hoc basis.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion about your business.

3.1 Million People Over 50 Live With A Serious Illness

Pre-palcement Screening

More than three million people in the UK are currently living with a serious illness, according to a new study. The report raises concerns for employers who could be put under greater pressure to accommodate older workers’ health needs and those living with illnesses as the age of retirement rises. As an employer, how could you help this age bracket in the workplace?

The report by Engage Mutual is called “Fluctuating conditions, fluctuating support: Improving organisational resilience to fluctuating conditions in the workforce” and has been created alongside The International Longevity Centre UK. It estimates that there are 3.1 million people in the over 50 age group living with a serious illness in the UK – the equivalent of 13.9 per cent of this age bracket.

As life expectancy increases and the age of state pension goes up, the working population will see a growth in the number of older workers in coming years.

If this trend of living with serious illness continues, the report predicts the count of people over 50 living with a serious illness could hit 3.4 million by 2025. And this pattern of growth may even continue further, as the generation of baby boomers reach their seventies.

But if those aged between 50 and 80 stay healthy for longer the results could stabilise. The report suggests that the percentage of over 50s living with a serious illness could decrease to around 12.5 per cent from 13.9 per cent if they stay healthier in their golden years.

What can businesses do?

Organisations that treat staff as a valuable company asset reap a wealth of benefits, including having healthier and happier employees. When employees are healthy and happy they show greater levels of loyalty in addition to being more productive. Therefore your employee’s health should be at the centre of your business. Helping your employees stay healthy now could impact your staff and organisation positively as workers get older.

At OHBM we can put an occupational health policy in place within your business. This means that rather than waiting for problems to occur, we will help you offer preventative measures that help you promote health and well-being among your workforce. As the report shows, this could be key for older, more experienced workers as the age of the working population rises.

Talk to OHBM today for further details about how we can provide a free, no-obligation review of your organisation that will allow you to start implementing positive change immediately.