The next government should do more to improve staff wellbeing, nearly a fifth of UK employers and employees have said, according to industry research.
500 UK businesses employing up to 1,000 staff members were surveyed by Group Risk Development (Grid) in addition to 1,000 employees. As well as 19 per cent of those polled expressing hopes that the next government would focus more on staff wellbeing, 20 per cent of employers thought that merging income tax and national insurance to create a simpler system was also an important issue to be addressed.
Among the key health and wellbeing issues employers wanted the next government to focus on, promoting a healthy work-life balance, introducing more flexi-working initiatives and managing stress were cited as three of the most important.
However, Matthew Lawrence, Head of Broking for Health and Risk questioned whether it should be the government’s responsibility to promote workplace wellness initiatives. “Businesses are right to focus on improving staff health and wellbeing,” he commented, “but should it solely be the government’s responsibility to influence this? As an industry, we should be making a much more effective business case ourselves, so that employers clearly recognise the value of engaging fully in health and wellbeing issues.”
Commenting on the study, Katherine Moxham spokesperson for Grid, said health and wellbeing was ‘clearly a priority’ for many and added that whilst it was encouraging that employers were recognising the importance of having a healthy workforce, it was also evident that employers wanted greater support and incentives to help them implement health and wellbeing initiatives.
The government’s new Fit For Work service brings employers ‘to the brink of a new era,’ she said, ‘where greater focus will be placed on supporting employees with health conditions to stay in the workplace.’
She continued: “From helping to achieve a sustainable return to work for those who have had to take time off sick to fast-track access to counselling, all serve to make life better for both employer and employee.”
Lawrence added: “The majority of employers are actually switched on to the fact that it’s not just about managing ill health. Of course, strategies do need to be put in place to manage such situations, it’s also about preventing ill health and trying to influence healthy behaviours. Understanding health risks whilst promoting prevention is key.”
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