Posted on April 17, 2018 by staff

Three-quarters of IT workers seeking wellbeing support


Almost three-quarters of IT industry workers are looking for better physical and wellbeing support.

Amid a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, a study by Westfield Health found that 73 per cent of workers in the sector would use wellbeing services if their employer provided them.

The top three services they would like to access are health check-ups (48%), back care and posture (44%) and exercise (35%).

Almost half (46%) of those surveyed believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees.

Current treatments such as health check-ups, cognitive behavioural therapy and chiropractic treatment are provided by the NHS, through National Insurance contributions, but over a third (35%) stated that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services like these.

“The total number of UK working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression resulting from long working hours is 12.5 million,” Westfield Health commercial director David Capper said.

“Therefore, it makes sense for employers to relieve some of the pressure through wellbeing initiatives.

“Not only would they be supporting our economy, they’ll make huge cost savings by looking after their staff’s health, with presenteeism now costing businesses up to three times more than absenteeism.

“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to your overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships.

“As business leaders, we need to create a culture where our people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and ultimately prosperity.”

So is National Insurance becoming unfit for purpose? Employees in the IT industry don’t seem to know, with 30% of employees knowing how much National Insurance they pay and almost a third (30%) knowing how much of the contribution goes where, be it the NHS, social security or their state pension.

With an ageing workforce and more hours spent in the office than ever, should the NHS’s frontline resources continue to be used for wellbeing services? The research found that half (50%) of workers in the IT industry would like to see the Government do more to promote their physical and mental wellbeing.

And over a third (36%) believe their employer is specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Sukh Ryatt, managing director at Gateshead-based intranet software company, Oak, said: “As family-oriented people that have worked in large organisations previously, we understand the pressure an employee feels to deliver at all costs, but we also know the negative impact this has on our wellbeing in the long term.

“Our mantra is focused on ensuring we don’t do anything that would impact staff’s ability to take care of the two things we believe are most important to everyone: health and family. We know that if their wellbeing is foremost, then they’ll remain productive and happy employees.

“As such, we only commit to what’s achievable. We make the work environment relaxed, with free breakfasts, flexible hours to reduce stress, and we encourage open discussions so that we can understand what’s affecting people and how we can help.”