UK employers change approach to health and wellbeing due to Covid-19

There's nothing quite like a pandemic for getting everyone to think about health and wellbeing.

As well as the immediate measures required in the workplace, such as social distancing, screens, face masks and hand sanitiser, employers have been looking to the longer term.

In fact, research by employee benefits provider Unum has found that a majority of UK employers are changing their approach to employee health and wellbeing due to Covid-19.

Almost all employers surveyed (95%) said the global situation has impacted their need to make people feel more protected, with many focusing their health and wellbeing strategies on preventative measures, like mental health advice and support.

And 72% said that their motivation for introducing health and wellbeing measures is based on a need to care for and protect the people they work with.

Unum surveyed 350 UK employers to better understand the emotional and commercial value of employee benefits and how they are changing.

Covid-19 has had a direct impact on the approach to health and wellbeing measures at work, with 40% of employers placing more value on employees being fit and well since the pandemic. For almost four in ten (38%) the pandemic has prompted a review of health and wellbeing strategies, while only 4% said they have made no changes at all.

Meanwhile, the sudden shift to remote working -- and the wellbeing benefits associated with working from home -- has accelerated existing trends in workplace awareness, putting a greater emphasis on employee wellbeing and the desire for more flexible and remote working. In the survey, 42% of employers said they have implemented new procedures aligned with the increase in working from home as a result of Covid-19.

Workers have also given more thought to health and wellbeing this year, according to a separate study by Maxis Global Benefits Network (Maxis GBN).

The insurance network surveyed over 1,000 employees based in 10 countries, including the UK. Almost half (46%) said the pandemic had made them reappraise the value of employee benefits when deciding to stay with or join a new employer.

A third of professionals (33%) expect businesses to prioritise health over lifestyle employee benefits as a direct consequence of Covid-19, and just over a fifth (21%) want greater access to wellness and wellbeing solutions in the wake of the pandemic and its impact on mental health, chronic diseases and access to healthcare.

One in seven workers (15%) expect to see an overall increase in the benefits being offered post-Covid while 10% said that the crisis had exposed a lack of suitable benefits from their employer.

Mattieu Rouot, CEO of MAXIS GBN, said: "Health and wellness solutions were a part of many employee benefits programmes well before the pandemic, but the crisis has meant that a health and wellness offering can no longer be a 'nice to have'. It is vital for attracting and retaining employees."

If you're looking to implement new health and wellbeing programmes, Fidelius can help. We create employee benefits solutions that are tailored to your precise needs and help you deliver your strategic HR and business objectives.

Get in touch today to find out more.

Posted on December 21st 2020

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