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Wellbeing Benefits in the Workplace

| Becca Clayton

4 in 10 employers planning to invest further in wellbeing benefits

Is health and wellbeing on your agenda???

4 in 10 employers are looking to invest further in health and wellbeing benefits as a means to improve their reward package, a survey has found. Some 44% said they would do this by reallocating budget from another area and 42% said they would make new budget available to support the investment.

The survey by Cigna found that more than half of respondents offered a health-related benefit, the most popular being employee assistance programmes (63%), occupational health (57%) and private medical insurance (53%).

However, the research also found that for over a third of organisations employee health and wellbeing is not even on the agenda. For the remaining two-thirds the number one health and wellbeing priority is managing sickness absence. 4 in 10 regarded this as a key issue in their organisation, however over a quarter do not measure levels of sickness absence.

The biggest health and wellbeing issue facing employers is increased stress levels.

This was cited by 50% of respondents. A further 47% cited increased workload, 30% work-life balance and 27% unhealthy lifestyle choices. “Importantly, employers are not just aware of these issues – a high percentage also feel a responsibility to support employees with these. 93% felt a duty to step in when employees were suffering from increased levels of stress and 79% wanted to help employees achieve a better work-life balance,” the white paper, Health & Wellbeing – An Employer’s Perspective, said.

The survey also found that more than a quarter of employers have experienced employees off work for extended periods while they wait for NHS treatment. Waiting lists for treatment of the two most common causes of long-term absence – musculoskeletal and mental health conditions – were also reported as affecting employee absence. More than a third of respondents said they had experience of employees being absent whilst waiting for treatment for these conditions.

“Having to wait for treatment can have more serious consequences than being off work for an extended period. Without early intervention, many conditions, especially musculoskeletal and mental health, become more difficult to treat and wellbeing is impaired further,” the report said. “In addition, the longer someone is off work, the harder it becomes to return. Someone who has been off work sick for six months or longer has an 80% chance of being off work for five years.”

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