Switzerland, Netherlands and Denmark come out on top
Research across 16 European countries by UK-based occupational health company Latus Health, has examined a variety of factors to determine which comes out on top for employee wellbeing. The research took into account factors relating directly to work such as average hours worked, flexible working opportunities, and sickness absence rate, as well as external factors relating to financial security and physical and mental health. The research revealed that the UK ranked 5th worst for employee wellbeing out of the selected European countries, with Poland ranking the worst, Czechia the second worst, Spain the third worst, and Portugal the fourth worst.
According to the research, UK workers work the lowest amount of average hours per week, while ranking the worst for flexible working opportunities, with just 4.7% of employees usually working remotely. They ranked ‘extremely good’ for sickness absence rate with an average of 4.6 days per year, in comparison to Germany which ranked the worst with 19.9 days of absence per year relating to sickness.
Jack Latus, CEO of Latus Health commented: “It’s not enough to take a reactive approach to employee wellbeing anymore. The past years have seen a massive shift in priorities for employees, and many of these are around wellbeing and work-life integration. Businesses that don’t invest in these will be left behind in the race for employee retention and attracting top talent.
“Businesses are largely responsible for the conditions inside of the workplace that contribute to poor employee wellbeing and stress, however, we’re seeing more and more workplaces offering benefits relating to wellbeing outside of work. Giving employees the tools to maintain and improve their health and wellbeing is essential for a healthier workforce.”
The UK lagged further behind when it came to financial security and was ranked extremely poorly for gross household saving rate, poorly for disposable income, and moderately for average salary. The gross household saving rate was just 7% in comparison with European neighbours France (14%) and Germany (18%) but fared better than Spain (6%). In terms of physical and mental health, the UK ranked extremely poorly for political stability and the environment, poorly for average alcohol/tobacco spend, but good for stress levels in comparison with some European counterparts, however, 46% of people reported experiencing burnout relating to work.
European countries ranked from worst to best for employee wellbeing:
The countries taking up the top spots perhaps aren’t surprising due to the countries’ reputations for positive attitudes towards wellbeing, as well as the levels of investment into this. Due to increasing flexibility around where and how we work, employee wellbeing strategies have fallen behind in their provision for hybrid and remote workers. The development of tech-based solutions allows employees to regain control over their wellbeing, wherever they may be. This restores the balance of responsibility between employee and employer, giving employees more autonomy over their own health.
Taking this research into account, UK employers should put more focus on wellbeing considering how difficult it is to attract and retain scarce talent.