80% of employees in education looking for better physical and wellbeing support in workplace

Seventy-three per cent of employees in the education sector believe that some of the National Insurance payments should be redirected towards improving wellbeing

With a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, over two thirds (64%) of working adults in the education industry believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, according to a new study released today.

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 education industry don’t seem to know, almost half (45%) of employees saying they do not know how much National Insurance they pay and 48% 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 two thirds (68%) of workers in the education industry would like to see the Government do more to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. And 80% 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 education 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 quarters (73%) of employees stated they’d use wellbeing services if their employer provided them.

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The top things they would like to be offered are:

  1. Health check-ups (53%)
  2. Emotional wellness (53%)
  3. Counselling (48%)

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.”

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