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Barnett Waddingham
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Why BWell: wellbeing in the workplace

Published by Laura Matthews on

Presenteeism at work has tripled since 2010. 

Where's your head at?

We've interviewed 3,000 UK workers to understand health and wellbeing in the workplace. Alarmingly, the research shows one in three of us are coasting through our career due to unhappiness in the current workplace.

The shocking statistic – which equates to more than ten million of the workforce – comes as the UK battles to solve a productivity crisis which has seen UK output slow more than any other leading western economy.

The most compelling reason why people coast is unhappiness at work, rather than any lack of ambition. There are two types of 'coasters' – those who make the conscious choice to do so, and those where it comes down to something not working with the employer or job role.


Key findings

36%

people in the UK are coasting in their career

55%

of workers were positive about their performance

feel no interest is shown is them as a person

41%

of 'coasters' didn't see themselves in their job in 12 months


The incentive for employers to address this issue is clear – coasters are a far bigger flight risk. According to Oxford Economics, the average cost to replace an employee is around £30,000, so high turnover can have a big financial impact. Happiness may also directly influence productivity, with one study finding that happy employees are as much as 20% more productive than unhappy employees.

“Mental health is beginning to get some of the attention it deserves in workplaces and thankfully, more employers are now looking out for the signs of issues such as stress and anxiety. This is great progress, but as part of the same conversation, employers should be thinking more broadly about employee happiness and the positive impact this can have on all areas of the business, from productivity and innovation to profitability and corporate reputation.

A third of our workforce is coasting at the moment, applying just enough effort to get by and go home at the end of the day. Our research shows that these are not lazy or unambitious people, but often those lacking purpose or confidence in their ability to add value. Mobilising this group to start excelling at work is worth a huge amount to UK companies.”

Laura Matthews, Workplace Wellbeing Consultant

Why BWell: wellbeing in the workplace

About the authors

  • Laura Matthews

    Laura oversees our award winning Wellbeing solution, BWell for Barnett Waddingham. She specialises in Workplace Wellbeing within all types of organisations, building bespoke and holistic wellbeing strategies to meet the needs of the client.

    View Biography

  • Peter Meyler

    Peter uses HR strategy, analytics and insight skills to help clients identify and maximise the drivers of organisational and employee value and well-being to create a great employment experience and long term sustainable business success.

    View Biography

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