Irish water company initiatives sees absentee rates drop dramatically

A water company has seen initiatives it has introduced focusing on health and wellbeing leading to absentee rates dropping by more than a third over the last two years.

Celtic Anglian Water (CAW), an Irish design, construction, and operations contractor in the water sector and part of one of the UK’s largest water companies, Anglian Water, operates on sites across Ireland including in counties Dublin, Sligo and Waterford.

Delivering a healthier workforce has seen absence rates at the company reduce considerably. Absentee levels have reduced from 6.9 days per employee per year two years ago to 4.5 days now.

The so-called LIFE initiative introduced by the company focuses on improving culture around health, safety and wellbeing and has the tag line ‘It’s not just a work thing!’, the goal being to ensure employee are ‘Happier, Healthier and Safer!’

This has greatly improved the wellbeing of staff, boosting motivation, reducing absentee levels and increasing staff retention. It has also boosted employee relations and assisted in making the company more attractive when it comes to staff recruitment.

Initiatives launched by the company included the implementation of mental health workshops. 2017/18 saw the first roll out of these workshops within the business with a 47 per cent participation across five workshops. By 2018/19 this had increased to 70 per cent participation and a total of seven workshops across all sites.

CAW also offers staff the opportunity to take part in a 4-week on-line Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Course and Stress management workshops have been rolled out for all employees.

All employees have taken part in a bowel screening programme and two people were diagnosed with a condition unrelated to bowel cancer which is being managed.

To further compliment the bowel screening initiative a focus on the root cause and prevention was kicked off with healthy eating, provision of fruit baskets to the employees and awareness on benefits. To further engage staff on this focus, CAW family cookbook was developed with recipes of members of staff across the business.

Testicular cancer awareness campaign and smoking cessation campaigns have also proved highly successful and had five employees embark on the journey to stop smoking. CAW has provided the support required in the form of providing employees with the tools to help stop smoking.

All employees have all participated in pre-diabetic screening and one employee was identified as being in the pre-diabetic stage and is working on his weight loss, improving diet and getting more exercise now. The employee is monitored by his GP on an ongoing basis.

Commenting on this Padraic Dolan, Head of Safety & Quality UK & Ireland for Celtic Anglian Water commented:

“We really value employee safety, health and happiness and have strived to create a workplace where employees thrive and recognise their health and wellbeing.
“This has paid incredible dividends, with the improved wellbeing of staff boosting motivation, reducing absentee levels and increasing staff retention. It has also boosted employee relations and assisted in making us more attractive when it comes to staff recruitment.
“Our experience highlights what can be achieved, even by a small businesses like ourselves.”

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