The evolution of Employee Wellbeing and the Ongoing Effects of Covid-19

Employee wellbeing has grown in recent years

Find out about the benefits of a well-rounded employee benefit package

Covid-19 has affected all our lives in many ways and continues to do so. From working remotely, to the growth in Zoom quizzes and online workouts, our personal and professional lives have needed to adapt, and employee wellbeing is no exception.

Find out how employee wellbeing has changed in recent years, the ongoing effects of Covid-19 and how you can support your staff going forward.

employee wellbeing pre-covid:

Our mental and physical health can have an affect on how we work, whether it’s stress, anxiety or other worries that can distract us from our jobs. That’s why it’s important for a business to focus on employee wellbeing.

Having a well-rounded benefits package which includes a good quality employee assistance programme and a range of health insurance has become the baseline of what’s expected of an employer these days. It’s a starting point to creating a culture where employees can look after their needs and wellbeing effectively.

Despite this, and even before Covid-19’s impact, stress in the workplace is still a problem.

stress      in    the      workplace    

According to the Financial Times, in 2019 56.5% of workers had one or more work-related stress factors and the average worker loses 14.6% of their working hours to absence and presenteeism (working when not well enough to do so).

Stress doesn’t just affect an employee’s ability to work to their full potential, it can also affect their health. The NHS says that stress can cause physical issues such as headaches, muscle tension and pain, or stomach problems, and it can have an affect on their mental health. With symptoms of stress including feeling overwhelmed, constantly worrying, and struggling to make decisions.

Workplace factors that can cause stress include:

  • Workload pressures
  • Tight deadlines
  • Too much responsibility
  • Lack of managerial support

financial concerns

Stress isn’t the only issue that can impact employee wellbeing. The Financial Times also reported that 51.1% of employees had at least some levels of concern with their personal finances, with those who are particularly struggling reportedly losing twice as much productive time as those without. It can be difficult to know where to start with supporting your staff with their financial wellbeing, but this can be an important part of a well-rounded employee wellbeing programme. Find out more about the financial wellbeing services you could be offering to your employees here.

Free Online Whitepaper: How to Cultivate a Culture of Wellbeing in the Changing  World of Work Click here to download today.

The effects of covid-19 on employee wellbeing

We know that Covid-19 has impacted our lives in many ways, and still is even today, from upskill in new IT systems and processes to allow for working remotely or learning how to deliver services and sales online. Organisations across the UK, and beyond, had to look at new ways to keep employees feeling like they belonged and were a part of something, without being able to physically bring people together.

According to research by Wade Macdonald, 28% of staff saying their mental health has declined due to Covid-19, which is why there needs to be even more of a focus on employee wellbeing going forward. Whether that’s mental, physical, or financial health.

The question then remains are employees doing enough to support their staff during this time? Just under half of staff (45%) believe that they’re employer isn’t doing enough, according to research by Tiger Recruitment.

why it’s important to support your employees and their wellbeing, and how you can

Supporting your employee’s wellbeing helps them stay physically and mentally well, and helps you keep employees motivated, engaged, and can help you retain top talent. In the same research by Tiger Recruitment, Salary and Benefits Review 2021, four in ten candidates want to leave their jobs within the next 12 months, and of those only 30% feel their employer has supported them well throughout the pandemic.

Every employee’s needs will be different, but here’s a few ways you can help your staff wellbeing:

Ensure clear communications

Covid-19 has been a challenging time for businesses across the UK, with the need to adapt to government guidelines and an ever-evolving situation. But it’s important for your employee’s wellbeing to make sure your strategy is clear and communicated well. 51% of employees believe their employer could have communicated their Covid-19 strategy better, according to Tiger Recruitment. For good internal communication it’s best to make sure you’re message is clear, delivered through the appropriate channels and tailored to the audience.

Look at the benefits package you're offering

Employee benefits can be key to making sure your staff feel valued by the business, there’s lots of options out there that can help to support your employee’s physical, mental and financial wellbeing.

Covid-19 has impacted the traditional office job, with many employee’s now working remotely. This is something many would like to continue, to some degree or other, with 86% of employees saying they would be happy to work from home more frequently, and even 20% saying they would prefer never to return to the office, according to Tiger Recruitment. Although, this isn’t the case for everyone, so the key would be to offer flexible working. Allowing those who want to work from home to do so, and when it’s safe to do so having an office space for those who find working remotely detrimental to their mental health.

On top of flexible working, there are other benefits you could look to offer including health screenings to empower your employees to understand their wellbeing and what they can do to keep themselves fit and healthy to support with financial concerns.

It’s also worth considering an employee assistance programme (or EAP for short) that can help support your staff with mental health issues. Our EAP offers your employees access to free, confidential mental health support, including counselling by BACP-accredited counsellors, email and phone support 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

what about roi?

If you’re considering expanding your current employee wellbeing offering, you may be concerned about the financial impacts of doing so. There is growing evidence that investing in your employee’s wellbeing is worthwhile, with evidence from REBA suggesting that for every £1 spent on an EAP in the UK, employees see an average ROI of £7.27.

what's next?

We know these are challenging times for you and your employees. If you want to learn more about the initiatives and steps you can take to improve employee wellbeing, why not get in touch with our team? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to improve your employee’s wellbeing.