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Why Employers Should Do More To Support The Healthcare Of Their Employees

By David Saunders| UPDATED: 10:28, 27 February 2020

New research from Simplyhealth has found that almost three quarters (72%) of Brits do not receive any support, guidance or benefits from their employer to help them manage their everyday healthcare, despite this being something that the majority (66%) would like their workplace to provide.

The survey of 3,000 UK adults highlights a clear need for Britain’s employers to do more to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce, with dental cover (23%), access to counselling/therapy (19%) and optical cover (15%) amongst the top benefits Britons would like to see introduced in their workplace to promote their health.

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“It’s important for businesses to remember that a healthy workforce is a productive one. I would encourage employers to take a preventative approach to protecting the physical and emotional health needs of their workforce. Simple measures, such as implementing flexible working policies and helping employees to manage their everyday healthcare needs will go a long way to help.”

— Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Simplyhealth

In addition, over a quarter (29%) would like their workplace to adopt a flexible working policy to support their physical and mental health – for instance by enabling them to attend an appointment with the dentist, physiotherapist or other healthcare professional when required.

Other benefits Brits would like their workplace to provide include free or subsidised gym memberships (22%) and free or subsidised nutritional meals (15%), while a further 13% would like their workplace to offer yoga or massages to promote their physical and mental health.

Mental health a key concern

The research findings suggest that support with mental health in the workplace is a key area of concern, with the struggle to achieve a healthy work-life balance leading to burn out among some British workers.

An estimated 12.8 million working days are lost every year due to employees suffering from stress, depression or anxiety2, yet the research commissioned by Simplyhealth found that just a quarter (25%) of UK adults have access to counselling or therapy in the workplace.

The need for better support with mental wellbeing at work is particularly evident among younger adults. For instance, over a quarter (27%) of Generation Z and Millennial4 respondents5 stated they would like their workplace to provide support with counselling or therapy, compared to just 13% of UK adults aged 55+.

However, it seems there remains a taboo associated with mental health in the workplace, with just over one in 10 (13%) respondents stating they feel more comfortable discussing personal mental health issues now than they have previously due to the support they have at work.

Simplyhealth enables businesses to support the health and wellbeing of their employees by providing quick and easy access to GP services, a 24/7 advice and counselling helpline. It also enables employees to claim money back on routine healthcare treatments such as physiotherapy, dental check-ups and eye tests. To find out more, visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk

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