The number of organisations with a designated fund for health and wellbeing benefits has risen by a quarter, following a marked increase in stress and other mental health conditions.
According to a survey by Aon Employee Benefits, the proportion of employers that invested in initiatives to promote workplace wellbeing increased from 36% to 42% this year.
Meanwhile, 68% of employers highlighted stress and mental-health-related illnesses within their workforce, compared to 55% last year.
Its Benefits and Trends Survey 2018 also found that examples of employers offering their staff health and wellbeing apps more than doubled, increasing from 21% to 48% this year. The use of virtual GP services also increased with 27% of employers offering them, compared to 16% at the time of 2017’s survey.
Health and wellbeing benefits
Aon Employee Benefits’ head of healthcare and risk consulting, Mark Witte, said more organisations were considering programmes to help with weight loss, smoking cessation and an increase in physical activity, among other things.
“If there was one defining theme in 2017, it was the growth of and increased focus on corporate wellbeing programmes across several key areas,” he said.
“We now see 84% of employers saying that they consider themselves responsible for influencing their employees’ health behaviours.
“There has also been a 25% increase in the proportion of organisations with designated funding for their health and wellbeing programme, with over half of respondents now having a specific budget in place, or intending to within the next three years.”
Aon Employee Benefits claimed that organisations were focused on preventative measures, rather than reacting to issues, when looking after their employees’ health and wellbeing. Almost half (49%) offered telephone medical services, 48% had a health and wellbeing app available for staff to use, and 42% chose to implement stress reduction techniques.
However, highlighting the potentially high costs associated with wellbeing benefits, the survey found that 43% of organisations introduced limits on the medical plans they offered their staff, whilst 45% considered making changes to their flexible benefits schemes.