Research by Towergate Health & Protection into how hybrid working has changed the emphasis of health and wellbeing support shows there is a full spectrum of increased needs among employees. While mental health tops the list, all four pillars of health and wellbeing are strongly represented as areas where increased support is wanted.
Percentage of employers stating the importance of these areas has increased for their employees:
- Support for mental health 57%
- Being able to have 24/7 access to a virtual GP 50%
- Being able to access support to prevent ill-health, such as advice on fitness and nutrition 48%
- Support for financial health 48%
- Better understanding of their own specific health risks of their general health and wellbeing, for instance fitness levels 46%
- Social interaction and sense of community within the workplace 46%
- Being able to access support for dependants, such as children, elderly relatives 42%
- Better understanding of their own specific health risks of potentially serious illnesses, such as cancer 42%
- Being able to access support and treatment for musculoskeletal (MSK) issues 41%
- Being able to have swift access to a face-to-face GP 37%
- Being able to easily access screening for cancer 32%
Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health & Wellbeing, says:
Employees’ needs have changed in the new hybrid working world, and health and wellbeing support must adapt in turn. Programmes need to be all-encompassing, across of four pillars of health and wellbeing: mental, physical, social, and financial.
Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health & Wellbeing
After mental health support, access to a virtual GP 24/7 is the area that has grown most in importance according to half of employers (50%). This reflects the struggles that many employees are having in getting an NHS GP appointment. This ties in with the increased demand for preventative health support and risk profiling, with employers aware that their staff understand the importance of looking more holistically at their wellbeing and the benefit of living healthier lives.
Employees want to be aware of potential issues and want to know how best to avoid potential problems. Employers can make a real and valued difference to their employees in these areas by offering access to support such as virtual GPs, screening, and risk profiling, all of which will help to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the workforce.
The after-effects of the pandemic are still being seen and this is perhaps reflected in the changed mindset about what employees would like support for. The increased importance of social interaction and support for musculoskeletal (MSK) issues are closely linked to the changes in working habits since Covid. Employees are also facing struggles with accessing care for both children and elderly relatives, which explains the increased importance to access support for dependants.
Debra Clark says:
The working environment has changed for many and so have priorities regarding health and wellbeing. Employers must take the time to find out what support employees want most and modify their programme where needed to provide the most effective solutions.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.