A third (33%) of respondents believe that financial wellbeing benefits, such as a pension, holiday and bonus pay, are very important when considering where to work, according to research by UK consultancy Barnett Waddingham.
Its Why BWell: where’s your head at? report, which surveyed 3,000 full and part-time employees between the ages of 18 and 65, also found that 49% would make use of financial wellbeing benefits, for example employer loans or financial education, if they were offered in the workplace.
More than half (54%) of respondents state that they do not have access to a wellbeing strategy at work, compared to 21% who do. Two-fifths (40%) of employees believe a wellbeing strategy is designed to improve productivity, 53% feel it helps to keep employees fit and healthy, 34% think is aims to reduce sickness absence and 31% feel it should improve happiness in the workplace.
Less than a third (29%) of respondents somewhat agree that their organisation provides benefits that will support them if something were to go wrong; a further 36% state that protection benefits are moderately important when deciding whether to work for an organisation. In addition, 24% somewhat agree that they value the flexibility to change their protection benefits.
A quarter (25%) cite that they have access to a range of benefits to take care of their dependants; however, 19% somewhat disagree that they have benefits that support older dependants or parents.
Under a third (30%) somewhat agree that they feel comfortable discussing mental health at work, whereas 17% somewhat disagree. Also, 14% of respondents strongly disagree that managers in their organisation are equipped to effectively deal with employees’ mental health issues, while only 8% strongly agree with this statement.
Laura Matthews (pictured), workplace wellbeing consultant at Barnett Waddingham, said: “Mental health is beginning to get some of the attention it deserves in workplaces and thankfully, more employers are now looking out for the signs of issues such as stress and anxiety. This is great progress, but as part of the same conversation, employers should be thinking more broadly about employee happiness and the positive impact this can have on all areas of the business, from productivity and innovation to profitability and corporate reputation.”
In terms of presenteeism, 30% of respondents somewhat agree that they feel under pressure to be at work when they are not feeling well; this increases to 54% for respondents aged between 18 and 29, 49% for respondents aged between 30 and 49 and 40% for those aged 50 or above.
Only 17% of respondents feel that their overall wellbeing is very important to their employer, compared to 36% who believe it is moderately important, and 24% who think it is neither important or unimportant. Half (51%) also believe that the overall level of employee wellbeing within their organisation is moderate or medium, compared to 15% who feel it is high and 17% who think it is low.
A third (33%) somewhat agree that they feel recognised and rewarded for the contributions that they make to their organisation; 28% neither agree or disagree with this and 15% somewhat disagree. More than one in 10 (14%) of respondents cite that they are very happy at work.
Almost two-fifths (39%) of employees feel they can achieve the right balance between their work and personal lives, and 34% somewhat agree that they are able to switch off from work outside of their normal working hours. A third (33%) state that flexibility within a job role is very important for them, compared to 41% who think this is moderately important and 22% who feel it is neither important or unimportant.
Just under half (47%) of respondents would prefer to be communicated to about wellbeing and benefits face-to-face, for example in a meeting. This compares to 20% who prefer communications via their line manager, 28% who like to receive emails and 6% who value paper media, such as posters and leaflets.