The next six months will see a loss of £3.4 billion for small and medium businesses due to illnesses such as colds and the flu.
Collectively SMEs lose £63 million a year, according to research by Viking, and two-thirds of that absence occurs during the winter months when sickness rates are 27 per cent higher.
In offices cold and flu germs spread very quickly due to the close proximity of workers and the shared used of office equipment.
Other illnesses also cost businesses a fortune, especially those which are considered preventable such as obesity.
Recent research by Healthways found that chronic diseases such as cancer cost the UK economy £21.6 billion a year, as employees take time off work.
Now, however, it has been revealed that more people take time off work due to stress than anything else, including cancer.
Healthy initiatives in the workplace and encouraging employees to look after themselves, their bodies and their health is a good investment for businesses.