Employers overestimating effectiveness of their health benefits, poll finds


Three in five (63%) business leaders think employers have more responsibility for their workforce’s mental and physical health outside of the workplace than a year ago, but there is a significant gap in how employers and staff view the effectiveness of the support on offer, according to research.

More than half (54%) of firms claimed to have improved the benefits they offer to support mental health and wellbeing. However, they were overestimating the quality and impact of the health benefits they provided.

In the UK, 40% of businesses rated the support their company provides for stress as “good”, but only 23% of employees who work from home and 32% of those still working in an office said the same.

In fact, 22% of UK employees working remotely thought the support for stress provided by their company was “poor”, although this was significantly better than when employees were asked the same question before the pandemic (41%).

A third of UK workers surveyed rated their employer’s support for mental health issues (such as stress and anxiety) as “good”, while 44% of employers said the same.

Sixty-three per cent of employees said working for an employer that provides mental health support is now more important to them than it was a year ago.

Damian Lenihan, executive director for Europe at medical insurance firm Aetna International, which commissioned the poll, said: “Our research suggests there is still more do to ensure health benefits and HR strategies are not only fit for purpose today, but also for the future. The views of employers and their employees remain polarised when it comes to the steps businesses need to take to strengthen workplace wellbeing provisions.

“There’s no doubt the pandemic has taken a toll on people’s mental and emotional resilience; this year, businesses everywhere need to consider their role in addressing this burden.”

The research examined the views of over 4,000 office workers and 1,000 businesses in the UK, USA, Singapore and UAE.

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