What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and the Benefits

winter is almost here, bringing with it darker nights and colder days

Now's the perfect time to focus on your employees' mental and physical wellbeing

Winter is almost here, with darker nights and colder days. Although there’s plenty to look forward to about the season, it also brings with it challenges and stresses that can make it more difficult for your employees to look after themselves.

According to research, 35% of individuals experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s exacerbated by winter (Peldon Rose). Plus, with many of your employees still feeling the effects of the pandemic, it’s important to focus on your teams’ health and wellbeing.

With poor mental health costing UK employers up to £45 billion each year, it’s clear that employees need to address mental wellbeing (Deloitte).

One of the ways you could do that is with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). These are one of the most common benefits employers introduce to help their teams with mental health concerns.

If you already have an EAP, or you are looking to introduce one, here’s how you can make the most of it for you and your employees…

 

What is an EAP?

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a benefit that companies have which allows their employees to get the support they need with any issues they’re having. Our EAP offers your teams access to free, confidential mental health support, including face-to-face counselling by BACP accredited counsellors, email and phone support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How It Can Help Your Employees:

Offering an EAP can help your employees with many of their concerns including:

  • Mental health: including depression and anxiety
  • Workplace issues: such as conflicts, burnout and work-related stress
  • Personal worries: like family and grief
  • Financial advice: to help with creating budgets, dealing with debt

The Challenges Your Employees Might be Facing:

Between winter and the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, there are many challenges your employees might be facing this year. Some of these include:

Finding a routine with hybrid working - for some of your employees, hybrid working might not be the best of both worlds but actually the worst. Having to balance the stress of commuting again with working longer hours when they’re at home. Plus, it can be harder for you to be aware of any issues with employee wellbeing when working remotely.

Returning from furlough - for your teams who were on furlough, returning to work could be causing the anxiety, with worries about the office, trying to return to a long-forgotten routine and the changes that might have happened in over a year.

Dealing with feelings of burnout and stress - According to a survey by Edays, 33% of the UK workforce are expecting to feel tired and burnt out in 2022.

Doubts around job security - for some of your employees who have been on furlough they may feel that their job isn’t safe. But it isn’t just those employees, research by Renovo found that 56% of employees who weren’t furloughed are still worried about being made redundant.

How offering an EAP can help your business:

Providing an EAP isn’t just good for your employees, it can benefit your business too. Here’s just a few ways you can benefit:

  • Help with employee retention and attracting talent: there’s plenty of noise in the market around The Great Resignation, so now it’s more important than ever to try to retain your top talent. One of the ways you can do this is focusing on their wellbeing. According to Lime Global, 40% of UK employees would look for a new job if their employer doesn’t support their mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Reduce absenteeism and presenteeism: tackling mental health issues will help you reduce employees being absent and being present at work but unproductive.
  • Become an employer of choice: Research found that 57% of employees said that a supportive wellbeing policy would increase the likelihood of them joining a team (Benenden Health).
  • A return on investment: Employers investing in mental health can see an average return of £5 for every £1 spent according to Deloitte.

How to make it a success:

Offering an EAP is just the first step, you need to make sure your staff are aware of it so they can make the most of it. You could do it with emails, newsletters and any other internal communications you use.

As well as communicating your EAP, try to make your workplace open to talking about mental health so your teams’ feel safe to voice their own concerns and worries. One way you could do that is have senior members of your business open up about their challenges so other people feel able to do so.

How we can help:

We can help you tailor an employee benefits strategy that can support your employees’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing this winter and beyond. Speak to our experts today to get started!

Employee assistance

Sources:
Peldon Rose
Deloitte
Edays
Renovo
Lime Global
Benenden Health
Deloitte