Workforces today are threatened by ageing and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – mainly cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental ill-health. In parallel, demand for human capital is rising as economies grow and mature, and significant talent gaps of up to 45 million employees in Western Europe alone are forecast for 2030. These two trends form a vicious circle of dwindling workforce capacity and productivity.
NCDs are forecast to cost a total of US$ 47 trillion over the next 20 years. Against this backdrop, preserving the health and productivity of the workforce becomes of paramount importance. Being absent from the job (absenteeism) or underperforming while working (presenteeism) are estimated to cause productivity losses worth US$ 1.6 trillion due to mental ill-health and US$ 389 billion due to cardiovascular disease.
In September 2011, the United Nations’ Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs called on the private sector to lead the movement whereby workplace wellness initiatives can be part of the solution to some of the challenges the world is facing. Reaching over 50% of the world population, employers can improve productivity and contribute to the economy while attracting and retaining talent, and promoting health and well-being for all.
The World Economic Forum raises awareness about the impact of chronic disease globally, advocates for workplace health promotion to be considered as both an economic and social win-win investment, and provides practical tools and solutions to support organizations developing their workplace health programmes. The Workplace Wellness Alliance counts over 150 members to date and focuses on both knowledge sharing and metrics.
See a full list of Alliance members.