- 67% believe that some of the National Insurance payments should be redirected towards improving wellbeing
- 68% do not believe the NHS has enough budget for wellbeing services
- Over half (57%) think the Government should be doing more to promote wellbeing
- Three quarters think their employer could do more to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees
- 61% would use wellbeing services if their employer provided them
With a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, over a third (36%) of working adults in the legal industry believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, according to a new study.
Current treatments such as health check-ups, cognitive behavioural therapy and chiropractic treatment are provided by the NHS, through National Insurance contributions, but 68% of those surveyed by Westfield Health stated that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services like these.
So is National Insurance becoming unfit for purpose? Employees in the legal industry don’t seem to know, four in ten (40%) of employees saying they do not know how much National Insurance they pay and over a third (37%) saying they do not know 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 over half (57%) of workers in the legal industry would like to see the Government do more to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. And three quarters (74%) believe their employer is specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
Similar to the recent rollout of the workplace pension opt-out, could a government-backed auto-enrolment scheme for wellbeing programmes – funded by employers and by a portion of employees’ National Insurance contributions – be one of the solutions to address the NHS’s long-term financial needs?
Certainly the appetite is there in the legal industry with long working hours leading to stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation and pressure coping with deadlines impacting on their overall health and productivity. As a result, almost two thirds (61%) of employees stated they’d use wellbeing services if their employer provided them.
The top things they would like to be offered are:
- Health check-ups (55%)
- Back care and posture (48%)
- Counselling (43%)
David Capper, Commercial Director of Westfield Health, said: “The total number of UK working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression resulting from long working hours is 12.5million days. 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.”
Chris Allen, Managing Partner at Blacks Solicitors LLP, which is passionate about wellbeing in the workplace, commented: “Law is a highly competitive industry and so standing out and attracting the best talent is paramount.
“We’ve recently moved offices to create a more positive and collaborative working space for our employees, with lots of natural light and social spaces. We purposely have kept our office open plan to encourage junior staff members to feel at ease with senior staff and partners, and to reinforce our open door policy.
“I believe our high retention rate is due to us investing time to nurture and care for our employees. In addition, I consider sport as an important part of maintaining both a physical and mental healthy lifestyle. We have set up both a netball and football team that take part in matches every week. This not only acts as a great teamwork building exercise, but also encourages staff to look after themselves and help relieve any stresses from the week. We still have a way to go, but health and wellbeing is firmly on our agenda in order to keep ahead of the competition.”
For more information about workplace health and wellbeing, call 03331 227343 or visit www.westfieldhealth.com/business.
(Source: Brass Agency)