Mental health will top the list of support most demanded by employees in 2024, according to new research from Towergate Health & Protection.
Employees demanding support
The research into health and wellbeing support in the workplace asked 500 HR professionals which areas they thought would see the biggest increase in demand for support over the next 12 months. Mental health topped the list with 41% of employers expecting to see increased demand from employees. Financial health came second, with over a third (34%) of employers stating they think they will see increased requests for support this year.
Employers planning to increase support
Indeed, it would seem that many employers are willing and able to meet this rising demand, as over half (52%) stated that they are likely to increase support for the mental health of their employees over the coming year, such as arranging access to counselling. This increase in mental health support was at the top of the list of priorities for businesses, followed by increasing the level of support for the financial health of employees, stated as being a priority by 48% of employers, followed by social health (45%), and finally physical health (42%).
Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Whilst it is concerning that so many employers expect to see increased demand for mental health support, the positive news is that employers will offer greater support in the workplace. Employers must, however, give equal consideration to mental, physical, social and financial support. These are the four pillars of health and wellbeing and if one is lacking, the whole structure becomes unstable – if an employee is struggling financially, this can impact their mental and emotional health. If they are not mentally well, it can impact their physical health.”
Room for improvement
However, it would seem that there is still room for improvement among employers, as over a third (34%) stated that their focus is on other areas of running the business, not the health and wellbeing of their staff.
Debra Clark comments: “It is short-sighted for a third of employers to not equate focusing on the health and wellbeing of employees with the success of the business. Healthy and happy employees are key to any business succeeding, and wellbeing is absolutely interwoven with productivity, loyalty, and lack of absenteeism, as well as supporting recruitment and retention.”
It is vital that employers give equal consideration to each area of health and wellbeing, ensure that they provide support for them all, and widely communicate the availability of the support. There are lots of ways to encourage and monitor utilisation of health and wellbeing support, these include using a digital platform to give an overview and clear analysis of what is being provided, take up and, therefore, value.
Health and wellbeing needs constantly change and evolve, and support needs to adapt to meet the requirements. Employers must also remember that it is not just a case of providing support for all four pillars of health and wellbeing but also making sure that they are being utilised and are effective and valued.
Debra Clark concludes: “When all four pillars of health and wellbeing are supported, and employees are healthy and happy, employers are likely to see that their other business concerns, such as productivity, absenteeism, recruitment and retention, lessen.”