Campaign aims - Business in the Community wellbeing at work


The Workwell Model



Sickness absence costs UK employers £8.4 billion a year, and presenteeism is estimated to cost the UK economy even more - around £15bn per year, approximately double the cost of absenteeism alone.1  The number of people suffering work-related stress in the UK has more than doubled since the 1990s,2  and in 2014/2015 stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health and for 34% of all work related ill health cases.3 However, a preventative approach to wellbeing could save employers around £250 million per year.4 

Business in the Community’s wellbeing campaign helps employers to support their employees’ health, happiness and engagement by taking an integrated approach to physical, mental and social wellbeing.  It is crucial that employers consider the employee as a whole person rather than separate parts, and so we work with employers to ensure that mental health and physical health are considered in parity in the boardroom and when it comes to developing wellbeing strategies. Our member organisations understand the business case for wellbeing and proactively review their strategies with us.

The approach we advocate is based on the Business in the Community Workwell model, a framework for embedding wellbeing into organisational culture. Using the principles within this model, employers can achieve better recruitment and retention, better attendance, better engagement, better brand image and higher productivity.

Campaign aim 1: Supporting employers to make the case for wellbeing at work

The UK is facing a workplace health time bomb. By 2030, 26 million people in the UK will be obese, and many of them will experience related health problems such as diabetes, dementia, heart disease and stroke. This will lead to drastic sickness leave and productivity costs for employers – yet 80% of these illnesses can be prevented. 5 

A third of employers also report an increase in ‘presenteeism’ from people coming into work when they are ill, citing job security as a major factor.6  Employee wellbeing and engagement are also strongly linked to sustained performance and productivity. Organisations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity, as well as improved quality of work and health.7

By making a clear business case for a holistic approach to wellbeing at work and providing employees with support to manage long-term health conditions, employers can retain their best talent, reduce sickness absence and increase productivity.

Central to our campaign is working with our members to help them start conversations about the benefits of a comprehensive wellbeing approach within their organisation, and to translate into a business case they can use to move the agenda forward, initiate change and embed a culture of wellbeing into the core of their organisation. For organisations who are ready to take the next steps in their wellbeing journey, we provide support to do this through our Workwell model.

Campaign aim 2: Embed wellbeing into organisations using the Workwell Model


Organisations with an integrated wellbeing culture that addresses both physical and mental health have been found to have benefit/cost ratio ranges from 2.3 to 10.1, showing that wellbeing has significant benefits for business. We recommend Business in the Community’s Workwell model as a means of achieving this. 

Our comprehensive model provides a structured approach to take employers step-by-step through their wellbeing journey, regardless of what stage they are at. It includes five strategic segments – Better Work, Better Relationships, Better Specialist Support, Better Psychological and Physical Health, and Working Well. 

These segments cover all the actions employers need to take to create an environment where employees can make informed, healthy choices about their wellbeing and get the support they need from their managers. The Workwell model also covers the role of the individual in establishing a culture of wellbeing, and includes five actions they can take to ensure their own and others’ wellbeing.

Campaign aim 3: Tackling the stigma of mental health at work


Mental health is one of the biggest concerns to the wellbeing of business and society. One in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime 8 and at any one point, one in six of the working age population is suffering from a mental health condition.5 The toll of mental health on individuals significantly impacts on businesses, costing UK employers £26 billion per year.9

However, many employers and employees are unwilling to talk about mental health problems openly, fearful of the associations with weaknesses and failure. Less than half of those affected by mental ill health feel confident to disclose their condition, 69% feel there is a stigma around mental health and 54% fear colleagues would judge them. This can lead to issues becoming more severe and increase costs to business and society.  

The wellbeing campaign is working with leading UK employers to end the culture of silence around mental health in the workplace and take a positive approach to supporting employees with mental health issues. This approach runs through every section of our Workwell model to ensure that employers integrate mental health into every stage of their wellbeing strategy. 

We also call on every UK organisation to demonstrate their commitment to mental wellbeing by signing the Time to Change organisational pledge.

Find out more about Time to Change>>


1Centre for Mental Health 
2The Work Foundation Council 2013
3Health & Safety Executive 2015
4Health at Work
5 WHO, 2014
6 CIPD,2012
7 Harvard Business Review
8ONS 2001
9OECD 2014