To mark National Stress Awareness Month, new research has revealed that only 26 per cent of UK businesses have a wellbeing programme in place, compared to an average of 42 per cent in the rest of the world. This represents a significant opportunity for UK organizations to establish wellbeing initiatives.
The findings were made as part of Buck’s Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies, an annual report designed to understand the current state of wellbeing across the world.
Despite the UK’s low scoring, an overwhelming majority of businesses understood the positive impact that wellbeing programmes can have on an employee’s ability to manage stress (97 per cent), depression/anxiety (97 per cent), and work/life issues (97 per cent). An equally high number of respondents (94 per cent) revealed that businesses also see improving employee engagement and morale as a core reason for implementing wellbeing strategies.
Even so, it is clear that UK companies are still delaying action when it comes to establishing these initiatives. The research showed that only 29 per cent of respondents are planning to implement stress management or resilience building programmes within the next 12 months, compared with nearly twice that number (57 per cent) who expect this process to take two to three years.
The research also showed that many businesses seem to be overlooking the importance of their employees’ financial wellbeing. The majority of UK businesses (60 per cent) did not know if financial stress was having a negative impact on their employees. And while 30 per cent did recognise the negative impact of financial stress, not a single UK respondent was actively measuring this factor in their staff.
Anne-Marie Ayre, Head of Health & Productivity at Buck in the UK, comments,
Nearly all of the businesses we surveyed have a clear understanding of the benefits that wellbeing initiatives can bring — but they need to put these ideas into practice. Businesses that establish a wellbeing programme for their staff not only experience increased employee engagement, but also benefit from higher staff retention and productivity. In order to achieve these goals, however, companies need to provide something that is truly innovative and beneficial to the employee experience. This pioneering attitude towards employee wellbeing is essential if businesses want to get the most out of their team and thrive in the future.