Research by Towergate Health & Protection reveals that 86 percent of employers think employees require more support for health and wellbeing since the pandemic.

Mental health was placed as a top issue for concern for employers amongst the four pillars of health and wellbeing – mental, physical, social and financial health.

Also, mental health was also revealed to be the area where employees would like most support, with 40 percent of employers saying they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic.

“Employers need to re-evaluate their health and wellbeing support in the wake of Covid. Working practices have changed and so have attitudes and expectations. It is important for any health and wellbeing programme to recognise the changing needs of employees and to be adaptable as we adjust to life post-pandemic,” says Head of Distribution for Towergate Health & Protection, Brett Hill.

Health and wellbeing concerns

Employers are also now more concerned about all areas of health and wellbeing:

  • 22 percent are more concerned about the physical health of employees, with difficulty getting to see GPs, pressures on the NHS, and delays in being diagnosed and treated for serious conditions.
  • 17 percent are more concerned for the financial health of employees since the pandemic.
  • 13 percent are more concerned about social health including, for instance, increased isolation.

Over half (53%) of employers say their employees would like more mental health support since the pandemic. Forty-one percent feel that social support is needed more than previously. Over a third (36%) believe their staff now want more support for their financial health, and another third (36%) also think employees want more help with their physical health since the pandemic.

 

What size of company suffers from the pandemic’s impact on mental health the most?

The impact of the pandemic on mental health effect appears to have been felt more by employees in larger companies. Nearly half (49%) of employers in companies with 250+ staff said they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic. This compares to 37 percent of SMEs.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of large corporates said employees would like more mental health support than previously, compared to less than half (46%) of SMEs, according to the research.

 

Employee engagement

Asking employees what they want through a simple survey or a more complex mix of ideas forums, research, and focus groups is a good way to re-evaluate and reposition health and wellbeing.

Being aware that requirements may have changed is an important first step.

 

How can help be made more available?

Employers need to ensure that employees have access to the support that will most benefit them and meet with their individual requirements.

A benefits platform can also assist here where employees can access all benefits in one place, suggest Towergate Health & Protection. 

The research suggests that increased support is required across all four of the pillars of health and wellbeing. Employers need to ensure that employees have access to the support that will most benefit them and meet with their individual requirements.  

Another method of support concerns health and fitness benefits, which have advanced greatly recently. There are now a great many apps, reward schemes and groups to help encourage staff to have a healthy lifestyle, including starting and maintaining fitness regimes. The pandemic has seen a rise in the use of virtual GPs and online consultations, and these can make appointments easier to arrange and quicker to attend.

Financial health must not be forgotten. Financial concerns can cause a great deal of stress, leading itself to physical, mental and social ill health. Benefits that help people manage their finances, and that offer a direct financial benefit can be a great support to employees.

“There have been a lot of challenges for businesses and their workforces to deal with during the pandemic, and these have affected all areas of health and wellbeing. Now is a good time for employers to look at solutions available for them to help their staff,” says Hill.