Companies increasing wellbeing spending due to COVID-19

Over nine-tenths of companies that have increased their corporate wellbeing spending have done so due to the spread of COVID-19.

This was discovered in Westfield Health ‘Divided Together’ report which found that 94 per cent of businesses that have increased the amount they spend on wellbeing have done so due to COVID-19. Over a third (35 per cent) have increased their wellbeing spending and 72 per cent had a wellbeing programme in place.

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) have seen at least one wellbeing issue raised by their employees during the pandemic. With 41 per cent stating this issue was stress, 36 per cent saying reduced productivity, 28 per cent with loneliness, and 23 per cent with negative mental health.

However, companies are still spending an average of £150 a year on wellbeing per employee, with only 14 per cent spending £2,000 a head. In the future, 35 per cent plan to increase their spending on wellbeing.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, said:

Coronavirus will be a catalyst for change in how employers interact with employees. There is optimism from 75 per cent of HR leaders that we will all be back to normal by the end of the year, but this will be in a drastically different form. For HR teams that have been working non-stop to keep in touch with all employees whether on furlough or not, it feels like this is just the start of a sea-change in employment. There will be a huge swing towards wellbeing and prioritising mental health. In the strangest of times, looking after the health of ourselves and our businesses will come first.

Nearly half (46 per cent) have adapted employee wellbeing health practices as 60 per cent of HR leaders hold the opinion that there will be far more remote working post-COVID-19. Also, 58 per cent believe that in five years’ time the majority of the workforce will be remote working.  More than half (57 per cent) believe a four day week being implemented is likely as well as 65 per cent think office socialising will take place online.

Mr Capper added:

We knew there was change ahead but its rapidity outlined by the leaders we asked is more drastic than we thought. With such a significant majority of HR leaders believing that it is likely this current climate will trigger the end of the office it is clear that this huge shift in how people work is already underway. Add to this the belief that it will benefit the organisation the case for the change is clearly becoming stronger.

This report was based on the responses of 200 HR leaders and 1,500 employees about how they are reacting to COVID-19.