A new survey has shown that smokers are likelier to take more sick days than their non-smoking counterparts. It is thought that the average smoker will take approximately 2.7 more sick days per year than those people that don’t smoke. This figure, when put into pounds, costs UK businesses around £4.7 billion in lost productivity each year.
Both long and short-term absences are linked to smoking according to the research carried out by the University of Nottingham. They took information from 29 previous global studies ranging from 1960 to 2011 and concluded that smoking creates more absence days.
The report appeared in the journal, Addiction, and provided details of the 29 previous studies which were conducted from countries all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand and also the US and Japan. The study analysed the information gained from 71,000 cases including private and public sector workers.
People were asked about their smoking habits over the course of their lifetime and employee records were used in order to track the levels of absenteeism over a two year period. According to national newspaper, the Guardian, current smokers were 33 per cent more likely to take time off than non-smokers, missing an additional 2.7 extra days off each year.
These were added to by allowing staff members to take regular smoke breaks when they are in the office. In addition to this the cost of fires because of improperly distinguished cigarettes was also an issue. According to the study smoking cost UK businesses £1.4 billion last year alone and continues to thwart revenues because of absentee staff.
Employers are always encouraged to help their staff quit smoking and will use wellbeing schemes that are run in house to encourage them to do so. Many companies have even introduced a non smoking policy and they then work hand in hand with employees to cease smoking. By giving notice and support up to the date in which a “smoking ban” will likely to come into effect helps employees prepare themselves for the inevitable date they cannot smoke again at their work.
Other methods have included one to one meeting with a support worker, group counselling and telephone support. These types of support networks need to be decided upon when starting a programme because the level of cost involved and the time that will be committed to it will always have to be considered. But in the long run days spent now on helping a staff member quit will no doubt reap rewards down the line.
Jenny Jones writes on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare and has her work published on many blogs including Follow Health and bmi4sme.