One of the many health and wellbeing challenges of the pandemic has been the difficulty in accessing routine health checks and treatment. From dentists, to eyecare, to physiotherapy, essential Covid measures have reduced appointment availability or closed clinics altogether at certain times. The good news is that many health and wellbeing services are now back up and running – with visits long overdue for many people.
Eye and dental health
By law, as part of their duty of care, businesses must protect employees from the potential health risks of working with display screen equipment such as laptops and smartphones. These risks include eye health implications, making it essential that employers provide an eye test if workers ask for one, and encourage their staff to stay on top of eye health maintenance. With visits to the optician requiring masks and social distancing, it’s understandable that many may have skipped their routine check-up. However, added screen time has actually made it more important for employees to get regular eye checks, with a third of people reporting that their vision has worsened since the pandemic.1
Employees face similar issues with dental care. With dentists forced to run at limited capacity due to Covid restrictions, many people have struggled to schedule their routine NHS dental check-up or have had to wait for treatment. This increases the risk of routine teeth problems and more serious oral health issues go undetected3, which could lead to illness and absence from work. Employers can address this by giving employees cost-effective ways to access private treatment as an alternative, where NHS appointments are not available.
Pain in the neck
Employers are also required by law to help their employees prevent back and muscle pain associated with workstation set up and screen use. Months of working from home have created issues with poor workspace set ups, and the reopening of gyms and fitness classes has increased the threat of strains and injury. As well as working with employees to conduct a workstation assessment and providing them with information to create the correct set up, many employers are now offering health and wellbeing benefits to give them affordable access to important treatments such as physiotherapy, reflexology, sports massage and acupuncture.
Health care cash plans
One straightforward and cost-effective way to empower employees to get back on top of routine health maintenance is by offering a health care cash plan as part of employee benefits packages. These lower cost alternatives to traditional health insurance can be funded either by employers or employees themselves. The plans pay employees cash back towards everyday health costs such as dental treatment, eye tests, glasses/contact lenses, physiotherapy and much more.
Asset from Sovereign Health Care, is an employer paid health care cash plan with features and benefits that support both the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. Along with everyday health care costs and ad-hoc health and wellbeing treatments, Asset also gives employees online or telephone access to a GP and private prescription service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAPs can provide confidential support for a wide range of challenges including mental health, personal, financial and work-related issues.