The importance of employee wellbeing to businesses has become increasingly apparent over the last 18 months, with physical and mental health under the spotlight more than ever before.
The impact of employee health and wellbeing issues is significant. Experts have estimated the cost of long-term sickness absence as £4.17 billion to private sector businesses in the UK and predict this will reach £4.81 billion by 2030 – a 15% increase.1
For many leaders, knowing how to support employee health and wellbeing can feel overwhelming particularly when faced with the demands of the day job. However, putting straightforward measures in place that encourage employees to take small steps to improve their wellbeing can make a huge difference.
Nudge theory is the science behind subtly leading people to the ‘right’ decision.2 Applying this to the workplace, HR experts suggest that persuading people towards better choices rather than mandating changes will empower employees and create lasting change in wellbeing levels.3
This is good news for businesses that want to help employees take better care of themselves and seek help early when needed. Here are some examples of simple steps that can nudge employees towards positive change:
Make healthy choices easier
Businesses can encourage exercise by providing a Cycle to Work scheme, discounted gym membership, or by simply introducing walking meetings as part of company culture. Team up with local cafes to offer staff discounts on healthy lunches or offer a free fruit perk to on-site staff.
Help employees access important health and wellbeing services
Many of the everyday health services people have traditionally taken for granted are now under pressure, potentially making it difficult for employees to get help as quickly as they may need. Businesses can help ease these challenges by adding health care cash plans and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to benefits packages.
Cash plans are an affordable and straightforward way to help employees look after the cost of their health and wellbeing and are significantly cheaper than traditional private medical insurance, with both NHS and private treatments covered. These plans pay employees cash back towards everyday health costs and more specialist treatments, as well as offering additional benefits such as 24-hour GP services. EAPs offer employees confidential support, assistance and counselling for a range of work-related and personal issues.
These affordable, simple but impactful measures can make a major difference to the bottom line, increasing productivity, and reducing the need for or duration of sickness leave by boosting overall health and wellbeing and enabling employees to take action at the first signs of a health problem.
To find out more about these and other steps that businesses can take to manage employee health and wellbeing, read this practical new guide sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/business