Organisations must take a more proactive approach to helping their employees stay healthy, according to report that reveals two-thirds of employees believe their work has made them unwell or has undermined their health.
The report by occupational health and wellbeing services provider PAM Group says that employers must do more to create healthy working practices, including facilitating a good work-life balance and addressing overwork, and not simply rely on health and wellbeing apps to help staff self-manage conditions – although these do have their place.
The survey of 1,000 employees commissioned for its ‘Health at work’ report found 86% agreed that their employer has a responsibility for their wellbeing, with 62% stating that the health and wellbeing support provided would make them less likely to want to look for a new job.
Mental health continues to be the biggest issue affecting employee wellbeing: 75% said they had been extremely or somewhat affected by stress, 72% had felt anxious, 64% had felt depressed, and 20% had been extremely affected by feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Supporting staff wellbeing
Fatigue and burnout (64%) and work-related stress (63%) are also significant concerns, and more than a quarter of employees had been diagnosed with clinical anxiety or depression.
Physical health concerns are also prevalent, with 24% experiencing a musculoskeletal concern and 5% having a heart condition. Eight per cent of those polled said they had experienced long Covid.
Louise Abbs, managing director of PAM Wellbeing, said: “Employers must be more proactive. Not least because nearly nine out of ten employees say their employer is responsible for their wellbeing, with a healthy work-life balance and a supportive manager seen as the most important things their employer can do to help them.”
Where proactive support was given to support employees, business benefits that went beyond reducing sickness absence were seen, the report concluded. Almost half (47%) of those who felt their employer proactively helped them to stay healthy now felt very productive, compared to just 11% of those given little or no wellbeing support.
The report makes five key recommendations for proactively supporting employees’ health and wellbeing:
- Devising a proactive wellbeing strategy that helps employees avoid getting sick
- Looking at data to determine how employee health has an impact on the wider business
- Utilising digital solutions that are inclusive and accessible for all
- Looking at alternative ways to help people who are waiting to access NHS support
- Normalising anxiety by ensuring that staff know is okay to feel the way they are feeling.
The report’s findings were revealed ahead of the MAD World conference which is taking place today (21 October).
MAD World co-founder Simon Berger said: “The findings of the PAM Group survey accentuate the need for all employers to act now. The pandemic has provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent ways of working that enhance mental health. Look after your human capital and they’ll give you better passion, performance and profits.”