10 June 2021
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Do you have access to your work email on your phone? Have a WhatsApp group with your colleagues? Maybe you have control over your company’s social media pages, and tweet on the train during your commute? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you might be one of the 30% of UK workers with a poor work-life balance...
The corporate world was already struggling to secure a work-life balance prior to the recent pandemic that has swept the globe. Since then, it has had a cataclysmic effect on the concept of Wellness in the Workplace....
A recent study reported that 22% of 3,762 participants diagnosed with Long Covid (symptoms persisting longer than 6 months) were still unable to return to work. Of those who did feel well enough to return, 45% were working at a reduced capacity. Meanwhile, many of those lucky enough not to have contracted the virus, reported a rise in musculoskeletal pains, from not being provided with the correct facilities to work remotely. Yet, the health implications are far from just physical.
Remote work is now more popular than ever, and this has come as welcome news to contractors who favour flexibility and independence. However, for some employees, this has brought nothing but trial and tribulations. In early 2021, the Office of National Statistics reported that the number of adults suffering from a form of depression had doubled from 10% to 21% in just one year. It would be easy to blame the pandemic directly for this figure, but we must look at the more indirect complications of the lockdown lifestyle if we want the situation to improve: Isolation, loss of motivation; increased alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, bereavement; and anxiety around the uncertainty of it all. Each of these will have had a detrimental effect on employee wellbeing, especially in addition to the poor work-life blend and stressful schedules we were already balancing pre-pandemic.
Employees are unlikely as ever to report these issues to their employers, specifically when they are related to mental health. So despite the complexities surrounding the distance between colleagues working from home, the onus is still on employers to gauge the welfare of their workforce. And it seems with 9 in 10 organisations now offering at least one wellness benefit, and 3 in 5 attributing a wellness budget, the most popular way of doing this is by deploying a wellness programme.
Like many organisations, a pre-pandemic Workday were searching for a way to bring their employees together by investing in a people-centric future. In 2017, they introduced an initial pilot programme with Better Up featuring one-to-one coaching for their people managers. By increasing knowledge and skills, they aimed to diagnose and close hidden cultural and behavioural gaps within their workforce and succeeding, ultimately increasing their morale and productivity.
Yet this was not the first time they found themselves ahead of the curve. Just two years later, months before the first case of Covid-19, Workday Ventures invested in a wellness scheme once again called Vida Health This platform focuses on holistic wellbeing and provides its users with access to digital therapists, clinicians, health coaches, certified diabetes educators and nutritionists, capitalising on the now-familiar staple in any wellness programme, Telehealth.
The use of telehealth, also known as virtual healthcare, has escalated dramatically due to public health guidance, during this pandemic period. 99% of GP practices now use remote consultations to triage patients before offering face-to-face appointments. A study carried out by Wellable, found that 87% of employers are planning to invest in Telehealth this year.
The same study also found that 88% of employers were increasing their investment in mental health programmes, as their employees began returning to work. While 81% were beginning to invest in stress management, and 69% in mindfulness and meditation.
Despite these stats, there is still dispute among the corporate world as to how seriously employers are treating this issue, with 70% of employers believing that they are doing everything in their power to combat these difficulties, while 23% of employees think otherwise. So why is this topic sparking such a debate?
Wellness benefits are essential in attracting and retaining talent have a tremendous effect on productivity and morale. Yet, ever-changing compliance mandates, new policy implementations and administration costs make it difficult for employers to implement these initiatives. So if you’re an employee, wanting to improve your wellness within the workplace, and you’re unhappy with your employer’s input, here are some self-care tips that you might find helpful.