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Company leaders need to examine their productivity gap (image credit: iStock)

New research has revealed a stark difference in levels of productivity across the wide range of industries that make up the UK business realm, but companies keen to ensure their staff are fit and ready to work can take steps to tackle this problem.

According to a new comprehensive study published by VitalityHealth, Mercer, the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe, the national average for the amount of days that are being lost to illness and stress among British workers now stands at 23.5.

However, in some industries, this figure rises as high as 27 days of non-productive time for individual employees.

Responding to the research, partner at Mercer Chris Bailey commented: "Modern working practices and the make-up of roles within the UK's workforce has impacted on the health of individuals significantly.

"Technology has allowed a more sedentary working life to become the norm, whilst the rise of the UK's service economy has reduced the number of manual workers and physical activity."

As a result, he added that company leaders now need to take seriously the impact that this change in lifestyle is having on their staff, with poor health one of the biggest drains on the nation's productivity right now.

Overall, the report stated that the financial implications of this loss in productivity stand at a cumulative £57 billion for businesses up and down the country. It is therefore something that companies of all sizes should be aiming to address.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance is one of the key areas where many firms could improve at present, while the study showed that encouraging staff to get up from their desks and get active throughout the day would also provide a welcome boost to productivity in the long-run.