We have access to more information and data on our health than ever before. The news agenda informs us daily on all manner of health issues; what we should and shouldn’t eat, how much exercise to take, the impact of stress on our mental health and of course, the cost to the NHS, and economy in sick days and lost productivity.
From new apps and wearable technology that monitors our individual health, to supermarket labelling on packaging to influence our shopping habits, it’s increasingly quick and easy to understand and improve our health.
With increased education on health issues, comes better awareness of mental and physical health in the workplace. It’s estimated that at any one time, one in four UK adults is experiencing a mental health problem and The World Health Organisation has reported that between 1990 and 2013 the number of people with depression and/or anxiety grew by almost half.
The Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and the Health & Safety Executive have introduced The Health, Work and Well-being (HWWB) strategy, which encourages good management of occupational health. In addition, the Health and Safety Executive now recommends that a board member in every organisation champions mental health and stress-reducing initiatives.
The rationale is obvious but often overlooked. However, with health and wellbeing becoming a key recruitment and retention issue, as prospective employees favour non-financial rewards, many of which fall under health and wellbeing, over salary, the benefits are obvious:
- Healthy employees take fewer sick days, and recover and return to work quicker.
- Sick pay and insurance bills are better managed and reduced.
- Healthy staff are happier in the workplace and more productive.
- Loyalty and engagement are increased as workers feel valued.
- There is less demand (and stress) on colleagues having to cover the work of absent staff.
- The financial value of some benefits (dental care for example) helps with retention when employees can factor it into their package.
- Offering a selection of health and wellbeing benefits addressing different life stages, goes a long way towards creating a positive, supportive culture.
- Health and wellbeing initiatives can reinforce your values and provide the competitive edge over your rivals in the war for talent.
You could decide to offer your employees a whole suite of these type of benefits to select from, or you could build a more targeted proposition where when you can see an employee has taken up a health and wellbeing benefit, you may choose to offer them another that compliments that choice. For example, an individual who has selected to take out Private Medical Insurance, is likely to have an interest in a health screening.
If you involve your employees as you’re planning what to select, you can gauge their opinions and see what would be popular. Ask them what would be important to them so you’re getting them engaged from the start.
Below are some of the most popular health and wellbeing benefits.
- Flexible working – encouraging a healthier work-life balance, this can include job shares and home working.
- Private Medical Insurance – more affordable than taking out a policy individually by taking advantage of corporate rates.
- Health screening – get a body MOT and spread the cost over a year.
- Critical Illness Cover – pays out a tax-free amount if the individual is diagnosed with certain illnesses or conditions.
- Dental Care – normally pays for check-ups and most work required.
- Health Cash Plans – a type of low-cost insurance that can cover a variety of health expenses such as dental, eye tests and other medical fees.
- Gym memberships – usually works by offering reduced membership fees to a local gym using negotiated corporate rates.
If you incorporate a range of health and wellbeing options (to appeal to all ages and life stages) within your benefits strategy, as well as providing employees with great options at low prices, you are helping to build a healthier, happier, more productive workforce, engaged with their benefits and with increased company loyalty. It’s a win, win situation.
If you want to find out more about how You at Work can help you deliver the best scheme for your business, give us a call or drop us an e-mail and we’ll show you why businesses like you, like us.