11 April 2017
40% of companies already have a health and wellbeing strategy in place, according to a recent survey
With the total number of working days lost due to work related stress, depression or anxiety in Great Britain reaching 11.7 million days in 2015/161, employees’ health and wellbeing has never had such a big impact on a business’s performance. But how important is a health and wellbeing strategy for businesses?
According to a recent survey by The Health Insurance Group, companies are taking health and wellbeing in the workplace much more seriously. The survey found that 40% of companies have had or have put in place a health and wellbeing strategy over the past five years, and over 35% are looking to implement one within the next few years.
Employee health and wellbeing was considered one of the top six HR issues facing their business. Two of the key areas companies are looking for support on from their health and wellbeing partner is a focus on mental health and the ability for employees to access support in providing for the wellbeing of other members of their family, such as elderly parents.
Brett Hill, Managing Director of The Health Insurance Group comments, “Greater emphasis has been placed on health and wellbeing and mental health in the workplace over the past decade. Mental health problems and stress are now responsible for more than 24 working days lost per case1 making it one of the leading causes of absence in the work place.
“It is vital that employers ensure that they have an effective health and wellbeing strategy in place, particularly to handle issues such as mental health problems. This needs to be tackled in a sensitive way as a mental health condition can be classed as a disability if it has a considerable and lasting effect on a person’s capabilities in terms of carrying out day to day activities. It is imperative that employers understand their responsibilities in such cases, so they can provide employees with the support they need, help their managers to handle such situations sensitively and appropriately, and avoid the potential liabilities that can arise from a business getting things wrong in such situations.”
The survey also asked what services employers would like support on. It reported that over 72% of companies would like occupational and mental health advice and support for employees and managers, while over 52% would like incentive programmes to keep its staff healthy and motivated.
One respondent commented, ”Managed effectively a health and wellbeing strategy would allow the employees and business to be the best it can be, drive and support performance as well as critically supporting our employees.”
Another commented, “We believe looking after the employee is very important. It is just about how to deliver this in line with our overall company strategy and philosophy and in harmony with existing strategies and with ongoing projects.”