Over the last 18 months or so, employees’ priorities around their health and wellbeing have shifted dramatically, possibly more so than in any time before.
Of course, HR are no strangers to this. You’ll have no doubt experienced this shift first-hand with your employees, or even experienced a shift in your own health and wellbeing priorities.
Various research helps paint a picture of just how employees’ priorities have changed in recent times, both for physical and mental wellbeing.
We’ll look at this further in this article and we’ll also look at how employee benefits can support these changing needs, so you can implement the right benefits for your team that benefit them and your business the most.
Changes in mental wellbeing needs
- There was a reported 70% increase in the stress-related absence in 2020 among HR professionals in the UK (e-days, 2020)
- 92% of employers say mental health has become an increased focus area since the impact of COVID-19 (AON, 2021)
- During the first lockdown in 2020, 60% of adults reported their mental health had got worse (Mind, 2020)
- In 2019/20, there were an estimated 828,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK (Health and Safety Executive, 2020).
Supporting employee mental wellbeing has always been an important pillar in any employee wellbeing strategy.
However, as the research shows, it’s quite possibly more important now than ever.
Working from home has also made spotting the signs of any mental health challenges that bit more difficult, an added challenge for managers and HR in supporting employees with their mental wellbeing.
It’s important therefore to provide more support channels for employees with their mental wellbeing, as well as making support more easily accessible.
Of course, supporting employees with their mental wellbeing is complex and requires multiple different approaches. One of those is through providing wellbeing employee benefits.
Employee benefits to support mental wellbeing
The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides employees with a 24/7, completely free and confidential support channel that provides face-to-face or over-the-phone support for all manner of mental wellbeing challenges.
According to research by Employee Benefits, 86% of employers offer the EAP as a health and wellbeing benefit.
The EAP covers all manner of challenges that can lead to poor mental health including bereavement, divorce and financial worries.
While many employers do provide the EAP as an employee benefit, communication is key. As with all your benefits, it’s important that employees are fully aware that the EAP is available and is there to support many different needs.
Healthy living education as an employee benefit can support both mental and physical wellbeing providing employees with the right information they need to optimise both.
Helping employees understand themselves and how their mind works as well as how to best support their mental wellbeing with their lifestyle is key.
There’s also the crossover with physical health to consider when it comes to mental wellbeing. We’ve all heard the saying “healthy body, healthy mind” and supporting employees with their physical health is incredibly important too.
Changes in physical wellbeing needs
While the NHS has pulled together in the fight against Covid, there have been some knock-on effects in other areas.
NHS waiting times have increased, so too have the number of delayed operations and procedures.
Many have also put off going for routine check-ups and many have felt hesitant around going to the hospital due to Covid.
Despite this, there’s been a greater focus on our physical wellbeing since the pandemic began, particularly relating to our immune systems.
So, despite the hesitancy and delayed procedures, the demand for healthcare hasn’t decreased and has in fact increased.
Employee benefits can support this increased demand in a number of ways.
Employee benefits to support physical health
The Health Cash Plan is a great benefit for supporting employees with their physical health, allowing employees easier and more affordable access to a wide range of therapies as well as everyday healthcare like eye tests and dental care.
Benefits like this are important as they open up more healthcare options to employees.
Another key benefit is Private Medical Insurance (PMI). PMI helps make private healthcare much more accessible for employees which is arguably now more important than ever.
At caboodle, we work with C&C Healthcare to provide clients with PMI and a range of other benefits alongside our wide range of health and wellbeing employee benefits.
When it comes to health and wellbeing employee benefits, thankfully there’s a huge range to choose from.
This means that while employee needs have changed when it comes to health and wellbeing, employers can help employees meet these needs by providing the right benefits.
All the benefits mentioned here can be pulled together and included into a purpose-built employee benefits platform that fits within your budget.