Hybrid working patterns prompting employers to change the way they offer health and wellbeing support

Although there has been a growing number of employers adapting health and wellbeing support to better cater for employees who have adopted a hybrid approach to their working location, the industry body for group risk (GRiD) warns that more companies need to be on board with the changes that are clearly here to stay.

Related topics:  wellbeing,  Employee Benefits,  mental health
Warren Lewis
5th April 2023
remote working
"Ignorance is not bliss. Every employer needs a benchmark from which to monitor the progress of their health and wellbeing programme, and more importantly, whether it is delivering successful outcomes for staff."
- Katharine Moxham, GRiD spokesperson

New research from GRiD found that of all the organisations where some or all staff now work in a hybrid model, 30% are using apps or other online means to make it easier for staff to access existing support and benefits remotely and 28% have introduced new health and wellbeing benefits to support employees e.g. for their mental health and physical health.

22% have increased support that can be accessed remotely (virtual GP appointments etc), and the same number have organised more social events.

According to GRiD, it is vital that to meet the changing needs of their staff, employers need to continually review the support they offer and how it is delivered. Even those who have already made steps to alter their health and wellbeing support may find that it needs further adaptions as staff make different choices about how they work in the future.

The industry body further cautions that employers should ensure that any enhancements they make to their benefits to reflect changes in working patterns, supports all of the four pillars of health and wellbeing: physical, mental, financial and social health. The four are so intrinsically linked that where a staff member has a specific issue in one area, they may also have concerns in another. Holistic support needs to underpin all health and wellbeing programmes.

More positively, 67% of employers claim to measure the impact of hybrid working on the health and wellbeing of their staff, with 54% measuring productivity, 52% measuring employee engagement and feedback, and 46% stating that they measure staff retention. 40% of employers said that they measured rates of absence.

Referrals/signposting to support services and insurance (such as an Employee Assistance Programme, Private Medical and Group Income Protection Insurance, vocational rehabilitation, etc.) are measured by 29% of employers.

28% measure their ability to recruit and a similar number (27%) measure utilisation rates of support services and insurance (such as an Employee Assistance Programme, Private Medical and Group Income Protection Insurance, vocational rehabilitation, etc)

GriD warns that employers who do not measure cannot begin to understand how hybrid working is impacting their staff and secondly, cannot evidence whether any investment in health and wellbeing benefits is having a positive impact.

Commenting on these findings, Katharine Moxham, GRiD spokesperson, has said:

“It’s good to see that some employers are making adjustments to reflect that their employees are working remotely or have adopted a hybrid approach to their working location, but this new world is here to stay, and we’d like to see more employers stepping up. Offering access to virtual physiotherapy consultations or remote mental health appointments is not a thing of the future, it’s readily available now and needs to be on the health and wellbeing menu for all employees.

“Although, some employers tackled support for home workers quickly, these findings show that others are still getting to grips with making modifications to health and wellbeing benefits and their measurement. It’s undoubtedly a challenge and will continue to be so as working practices ebb and flow. However, an employer who doesn’t move with the times is not supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff as well as they could.”

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