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Stress levels are high but awareness of wellbeing benefits remains low

Business woman working at her desk, looking stressed

Wellbeing benefits offered by employers can help people deal with stress and create a positive working environment -- but many workers say that they are not aware of such programmes or don't take up the help that is available.

A recent study by Alight and Business Group on Health found that almost three-quarters (73%) of employees in Europe and the United States reported high levels of stress due to factors such as the pandemic and economic concerns. Additionally, more than one-third (34%) of workers reported suffering symptoms of burnout, while only one in three employees said their employer cared about their wellbeing.

"These sentiments demonstrate a disconnect in employees' views of their workplace wellbeing benefits, as large employers have continued to make significant investments in workforce wellbeing benefits and programmes," said Ellen Kelsay, president and CEO of Business Group on Health.

Just 15% of employees in the UK and the US reported being aware of employer-sponsored stress-management programmes. And of those who were aware of the benefit, less than one-quarter (23%) said they used it, even though 32% of employees wanted their employer to offer more mental health resources.

A closer look at the UK findings reveals that:

  • Only 14% of UK employees have a great experience at work
  • 71% are suffering from moderate to high levels of stress
  • Half have experienced low morale due to stress
  • 40% rate their wellbeing highly
  • Just over a fifth (21%) say the level of debt they have is ruining the quality of their life

Additionally, fewer than half of UK employees (44%) believe their company does an overall good job at communicating with them, and nearly a third (31%) would not say great things about their employer given the chance.

The report authors said the findings highlight key areas for employers to focus on when it comes to employee wellbeing, including:

  • Building awareness of available mental health programmes.
  • Supporting employees' long-term financial goals and understanding short-term demands. Long-term financial planning remains a challenge for many employees, who need assistance with reducing debt levels, sticking to a budget, saving for more immediate financial needs and having longer-term savings goals. Balanced financial wellbeing programmes that provide smart steps for employees to take today can help boost overall financial wellbeing and reduce one of life's major stressors.
  • Allowing flexible and remote working where possible. More than half of employees (54%) said a flexible work environment differentiated one employer from another, and 59% of all workers said being able to work remotely had a positive impact on their wellbeing.

"Employers can use this valuable survey data to refine how employees learn about and experience wellbeing initiatives, as well as how to better meet the specific needs of employees," added Ellen Kelsay of Business Group on Health. "Many employers have invested considerably in wellbeing resources in recent years, and a key takeaway from these findings is that there is more they can do to ensure employees are aware of and utilising those offerings."

Posted by Fidelius on September 20th 2022

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