A Third of Workers Think Employers Should Offer Financial Incentives for Keeping Healthy

In Industry News, Insurance by PCH Staff

A third of UK employees believe their employer should reward them financially for keeping healthy, a new global study has revealed.

For its 2017-2018 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, Willis Towers Watson polled 31,000 employees across 22 markets, including almost 3,000 employees working for medium- and large-sized private sector organisations in the UK.

The survey found that 33% of UK respondents said their companies should pay them for keeping healthy. A further 34% said they would only get involved with their employer’s health initiatives if there was a financial incentive attached – a marked increase from the 26% of respondents who indicated the same in the 2013 survey.

In addition to wanting cash incentives to participate in health and wellbeing programmes, a significant proportion (70%) of respondents said wellbeing-related rewards do not meet their needs. Such rewards often include health screening, gym or sports club membership, physiotherapy treatment and spa days.

Interestingly, 23% of global respondents said they take advantage of health and wellbeing programmes offered by their employer during periods of high stress, a reality that suggests such initiatives do provide benefits.

Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson, said focussing on health and wellbeing was win-win for employers and employees.

“Having a healthy workforce does, of course, greatly benefit employers, [because] it leads to lower levels of sickness absence, productivity loss and employee turnover, but employees reap the rewards of living healthier lives too,” he said.

UK employers neglecting mental health of their employees

Meanwhile, a separate study has found that a significant proportion of UK employees believe their employers are not doing enough to address the mental health issues of their staff.

According to the study of nearly 1,300 workers by ADP®, almost a third (31%) of employees say their employer has little or no interest in their mental health. This despite the fact that a fifth (20%) experience stress on a daily basis, with almost a third (33%) saying it’s got so bad that they’re actually considering finding a new job.

It’s thought that one in four people experience a mental health issue every year, but the associated figures do not often reflect this because of the stigma attached to the subject means fewer people reveal that they are suffering. This is despite a push by high profile figures, like Prince William and Prince Harry, to get people talking about mental health and break the taboo once and for all.

Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP UK said, “A certain level of stress is natural, even healthy, in the workplace, but it’s important that it doesn’t get out of hand. Employees who endure consistently high levels of stress are in danger of suffering from anxiety and even burnout.”

The ADP study also found that workplace-related stress peaks among younger employees, with 22% of individuals under 35 saying they experience stress on a daily basis. In comparison, only 19% of workers over 35 experience stress every day.

Should employers provide incentives for some staff in order to encourage healthy behaviours? Smart employers are placing workplace wellness at the core of their business by recognising the importance of their staff.

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