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    • Keep your business moving

      Just as Britain’s businesses are recovering from the economic pains of recent years, another, more physical, kind of ache threatens productivity. Back, neck and muscle pains are now the greatest cause of sick days in UK workers – some way ahead of ‘common’ ailments like coughs, colds and flu.

      Smaller businesses feel the impact of lost working days more keenly than most because every employee really counts.

      When AXA PPP healthcare surveyed 500 SME businesses, one in five said they’d actually lost revenue as a result of sick days, while over a third said that other employees suffer through having to pick up extra work. And a whopping 61% said it was a growing issue.

      Protecting your business from aches and strains

      The good news is there’s lots you can do to protect your business. Simply giving your employees the right equipment, making sure they take a break, and providing ergonomic supports are all a good start.

      You can also encourage your employees not to put off doing something about aches and strains before they get worse. Unlike coughs and colds, aches and pains are invisible and often worsen gradually. They’re harder for you to notice, so it’s easy to be unaware of problems and easy for employees to get worse, struggling on until they end up needing longer time off.

      In AXA PPP healthcare’s survey, more than half of the businesses they surveyed said that employees don’t generally take time off even when they have back problems. And two out of five said they’d had cases of employees coming to work in pain, reducing productivity and affecting morale in others who have to pick up the slack.

      Getting the right advice

      When aches and pains do strike, it’s important to get expert advice and treatment quickly. But for small and medium businesses, the impact of booking and attending GP appointments can be as disruptive as the illness itself. While many businesses in the survey agreed that their employees should see a doctor when they have back pain, more than 60% said that this lost time adversely affects their business.

      At AXA PPP healthcare, their therapies module includes a physiotherapist service for small and medium business members. It’s called Working Body and it puts expert diagnosis and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions – like aching backs, stiff necks and sore joints – just a call away.

      Phone consultations save the hassle of having to book an appointment. Instead, your employees can get advice for muscle, bone and joint problems, quickly – without needing to speak to a GP first and without even needing to leave the workplace.

      A physiotherapist will make an initial clinical assessment and then suggest the best course of action or treatment. That could include anything from tips on self-help and advice on managing pain, to a course of physiotherapy.

      Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your business moving.

      Source: AXA PPP healthcare. MSK Research – Employee View, 2014.