Staff wellbeing tops employee concerns
A recent report called the Healthier Nation Index published by Nuffield Health stated that more employees are demanding that their employers take more responsibility for their physical and mental wellbeing.
The research found:
- More than 21% of those surveyed (8,000 respondents) believed employers should implement mandatory reporting on the physical and wellbeing initiatives they have in place to improve the wellbeing of their staff
- 52% stated that they were aware of the measures they could take to improve their mental and physical health
- 37% stated that employers should take responsibility by making resources available on how to boost mental and physical wellbeing
- 46% said that free health checks for all staff should be provided by employers
- 54% said that work was having a negative impact on their mental health
- Half of those surveyed stated that their workload created a barrier to undertaking physical exercise.
Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International commented: “Improving both mental and physical health is rising up the corporate agenda. If employees feel overworked or stressed, then they won’t be as happy or productive. This will only lead to other issues for the company, such as sick leave or them resigning and moving to another organisation that prioritises wellbeing.
“Mandatory reporting on physical and wellbeing initiatives is a great way for organisations to take more responsibility for their employees. Offering that support through wellbeing seminars, mental health and wellbeing training or even mental health support where staff can talk to a specialist can make a significant difference to employees.”
Extra leave given in support of mental health
Nike recently announced that their head office employees will be given a week’s holiday in support of their mental health.
Suzanne Staunton, Employment Partner at JMW Solicitors, commented: “It is unlikely that (many) UK employers will provide their staff with a week’s mental health break. However, anecdotally, over the past 12 months, we saw that number of employers have given staff a day or two additional mental health days or an extra day holiday. Those employers who implemented such schemes reported an increase in morale and productivity.”
Returning to work post “freedom day”
Data published in the Supporting Your Remote Workforce in 2021 and Beyond report found that 40% of those who are returning to office-based working are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from colleagues.
Data from CPD Online College reported that the top concerns for those returning to the workplace were: social distancing (60%), workplace safety (56%), and workplace cleanliness (55%) at the top of the list.
With these employees concerns in mind, it is imperative that HR and employers think about how to properly support staff wellbeing when staff returns to the office, as well as how to help alleviate their concerns.
Liz Forte, Health and Wellness Director at Compass Group Business and Industry, shared three top tips:
- Embrace the hybrid office: the hybrid should be seen to inspire staff to work together again and reconnect. This could assist with easing staff back into office life. Because there is a clear shift towards employees wanting a hybrid way of working, offering this to staff is a great way to encourage them to split their time between home and the office, thereby getting the best of both worlds.
- Be aware of anxieties: Forte explains that it is crucial to be aware of your employee’s anxieties and concerns. Employers should communicate cleaning protocols and implementing visible cleaning teams during working hours could put staff at ease.
- Support staff lives: providing work perks that encourage living a healthy life outside of work and that also support health and wellbeing will help improve performance as staff return to their desks. Offering classes which give employees the opportunity to try new hobbies or skills add to a positive experience at work. Data has shown that this could also be a good tool for attracting and retaining talent.
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