There’s never been a more crucial time to explore the state of the health and wellbeing of our nation’s workforce following the pandemic. New research from not-for-profit healthcare provider, Benenden Health, examines employees and employer views on health and wellbeing at work through a survey of 500+ employers and 2,000+ employees across the UK.
With more than half of all UK employees (51%) revealing that they have a health issue, long-term condition or disability, Benenden Health have warned that the fear and stigma around health in the workplace could mean that millions of workers may not be getting relevant, or any, support, from their employers. This is likely to have a negative impact on both business performance and workplace culture – 13% of employees in the UK have even left their jobs because they were struggling with a health issue.
A third said they would worry that their colleagues would think they were unfit to do their job (29%), more than a quarter believed that they might lose their job (27%), a fifth had concerns of being talked about and one in ten (9%) worried that people wouldn’t want to be their friend.
15% of employees even believe that they’ve been overlooked for a job in the past due to a health issue, long-term health condition or disability.
Benenden Health highlights that it’s not enough for employers to offer a relevant healthcare programme. It’s also essential that they make their team aware of what health and wellbeing support they have access to and normalise conversation around health at work – and continue to adapt their health and wellbeing support as their team’s health needs change.
The survey found the most common health issues employees have faced in the last two years are poor mental health (including depression and anxiety), high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes – and these are also the most common ailments employees have kept private about too.
Only 2 in 10 employees told us they had no worries about experiencing health issues in the future, with mental health being their top concern, in fact almost a quarter of employees are worried that poor mental health will impact them in the future.
Benenden Health’s new report sheds light on the key health conditions that affect the nation’s workforce – and includes tips on how employers can offer an inclusive health and wellbeing programme that caters to a diverse team.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of UK employers surveyed said they believe it’s important to provide a health and wellbeing programme because they genuinely care about their team with another 65% of them saying it increases business productivity.
But one of the most significant barriers to providing healthcare is the cost. What’s more worrying is that a quarter of employers still don’t offer any healthcare support in addition to statutory allowances, and 60% of those who do, fail to consult their employees and their health needs when doing so.
With businesses struggling to identify employee health issues and employees hesitant to be open about health at work, this gap keeps fueling the perpetual cycle of a lack of wellbeing support for employees in the workplace.
Benenden Health advises that opening the channels of communications between business owners and their teams to consider their health needs will help nurture a healthy and happy workforce. Plus, it’s beneficial for the business in the long run, with increased productivity and employee retention and reduced absenteeism.
To help employers understand how to bridge the gap between employee expectations and their wellbeing offering, Benenden Health launched their new “National Health and Wellbeing at Work Report 2021” which highlights:
Benenden Health helps businesses offer affordable, high quality, private healthcare to every employee, which includes 24/7 GP and Mental Health helpline access, medical diagnostics and treatment and more – so your employees have the peace of mind that they have access to healthcare whenever they need it. Find out more in our new report.