Business sentiment towards employee well-being shifts

Human resources departments within UK-based businesses are planning to double down on their efforts to manage the health and well-being of their employees over the next 18 months, according to a survey.

The survey, carried out by YouGov and commissioned by digital health solutions provider Reframe, asked 2,000 employees and HR decision makers from businesses large and small about their key concerns and attitudes as the UK gears up to return to work.

Worryingly, one in five employees admitted that they would hide a health concern, such as stress, a medical diagnosis or fatigue from their employer – particularly alarming amid the COVID pandemic, where honesty is conducive to the health of the rest of the workforce, as well as that of the wider community.

The survey suggests most firms think the pandemic has increased the demand for holistic health benefits, with 49% agreeing that health and well-being will be their biggest challenge over the next 18 months. It also points to the possibility that the pandemic and long-term challenges of remote working have accelerated the need to reshape benefits systems that incorporate more facets of well-being such as resilience training, coaching and dealing with unexpected health events.

Catherine McDermott (pictured), CEO at Reframe, said perceptions of healthcare and how employers should approach it have changed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on businesses, changing perceptions of how we approach healthcare in the workplace. What our research highlights is the growing disconnect between decision makers and their employees, particularly in large organisations, and it is clear that many firms are playing catch up when it comes to supporting the needs of their workforce.

“Effective benefits schemes are personalised to employees and their individual requirements, giving them control and helping them take better care of their well-being. This can have a big impact on the bottom line – achieving better ROI, reducing payroll costs, and absence rates. Not only this, but in the long-term it can help attract and retain talent, whilst also keeping the workforce motivated and increase productivity.”

Respondents to the survey included staff from the manufacturing, construction, retail, financial, hospitality, legal, IT, telecoms, media, advertising, healthcare, education, transportation, distribution and real estate sectors.

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