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Unum launches On Course workshops to help employers tackle key health issues

Unum has launched a suite of workshops to help employers spot and manage some of the most common causes of sickness absence.

Delivered by Unum’s team of expert Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants, On Course is designed to upskill line managers and HR professionals around key conditions and equip them with the practical tools to manage these in the workplace. Employers can choose from a menu of four workshops each tackling a key condition or theme:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Stress awareness and management
  • Returning to work after cancer
  • Sickness absence management.

Available now, the workshops are delivered over 2.5 hours, either face-to-face in workplaces or as a webinar session.

The workshops have been trialled with selected brokers since April and will now be rolled out more widely following positive feedback. During trials, On Course proved particularly useful to line managers who may not have the confidence or expertise to handle these conditions alone, and the workshop on stress awareness and management proved particularly popular.

Recent research has highlighted the need for better training and understanding around these key conditions. ONS statistics show musculoskeletal conditions were the main cause of sickness absence last year, accounting for 31 million sick days, while stress accounted for 15 million sick days.  Moreover, a recent report by the Work Foundation and Fit For Work UK found that employees with musculoskeletal conditions are often left to manage their problems themselves, with little input from HR or line managers.  

Andrew Potterton, Head of Proposition Development at Unum, said:

“Protection products will help support staff when they are unable to work due to illness, but prevention, intervention and rehabilitation in the workplace are just as important. Line managers and HR departments have a vital role to play in this but many don’t have the confidence or experience to manage this alone.

“We created our On Course workshops to help equip workplaces with the skills and knowledge to handle the top health conditions effectively. We hope to make a change in UK workplaces by increasing understanding, building capability and encouraging employers to learn about these conditions so they feel confident providing practical support for staff.”