Money can’t buy you love or happiness, but in many cases, it is linked to a better level of physical and mental health.
Clearly, people who struggle financially and live within inadequate housing are likely to be the same socio-economic group that is more prone to mental health issues such as depression, substance abuse, poor nutrition and lower mortality rates.
It could be argued that they are also likely to be exposed to more pollution, household allergens and chemicals that lead to respiratory problems too.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics illustrate this point. Deaths from avoidable factors (largely lifestyle related issues) such as infections, drugs and alcohol, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease, increase in areas of the country with lower gross disposable income.
So, is the reverse side of the coin true? If you are given opportunities to acquire money, does it lift your standard of health and mental wellbeing?
Throwing the spotlight back to the last century, some of the most successful industrialists believed that this was true. Soap magnate Lord Leverhulme created Port Sunlight with that in mind. The Cadbury family founded its global chocolate empire on the principles it laid by building the Bournville village.
In both cases, these entrepreneurs believed that wealth, health and lifestyle are inextricably linked. Improve the physical and mental health of your workforce to increase productivity. This means your own wealth increases. However, improving the earning potential of employees and giving them improved access to healthcare and leisure activities also ensures that you leave a valuable legacy.
Clearly, the Government’s Public Health initiatives are aimed at improving awareness of the issues – and access to solutions – among the demographic groups with the greatest need.
But in an era when employers have an ethical and corporate responsibility to invest in diverse and inclusive workforces, they are also beholden to manage with a responsive and responsible attitude and invest in the health and wealth of their staff.
Companies must support employee health initiatives to get the best out of people. In the long term, providing better health, better earning potential and improved mental health to employees means that the UK will have a more resilient talent pool as a foundation for business growth.