Flexible working delivers emotional well-being

Flexible working is most popular way to deliver emotional well-being. Businesses that believe they have an emotional duty of care to their employees, see flexible working as the most popular way to support staff.

This is according to GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector who found that out of the 88 per cent of companies who believe they have an emotional duty of care to their employees, 43 per cent believe flexible working is the answer.

Below is the list of the best way’s employers think they can support their staff emotionally:

• Flexible working (43 per cent)
• Work-life balance (33 per cent)
• Ability to take days off to support mental health (31 per cent)
• Arranging social events (31 per cent)
• Access to professionals, such as counselling (27 per cent)
• Stress management (19 per cent)
• Mental health initiatives (18 per cent)
• Specialist providers in place to provide support (18 per cent)
• Mental health first aid training (15 per cent)

Still, there are over 700,000 (12 per cent) UK businesses that do not believe in supporting the emotional well-being of staff. Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said Group life assurance is the most popular group risk product with over 9.8 million people insured. As well as providing a financial pay-out, it can be hugely beneficial to staff as it often includes access to an Employee Assistance Programme which will support staff with day-to-day emotional well-being and access to counselling, neither of which are claim-dependent.

During 2019, there were 75,446 interactions with the additional help and support services that are funded by group risk insurers across employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness policies. Whilst this is an impressive number, given that the overall number of people covered by this industry exceeds 12.8 million, it’s clear that many more people could benefit from this emotional support. It’s vital that both employers and employees know they have access to this added-value support, as for many it really is an untapped resource that is not being used to its full potential.

As for the 12 per cent of businesses that do not believe there is any requirement to support the emotional well-being of staff, they will certainly feel the consequences at some point, whether that be a higher-than-average absence rate, falling productivity, or lower staff retention. No forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional well-being of its most valued asset.

This research was undertaken by Opinium, a strategic insight agency, on behalf of GRiD amongst 500 HR decision makers. HRreview’s poll which asked ‘which do you feel is the most attractive benefit you can offer an employee’ found that 71 per cent believe flexible working is the strongest benefit to offer. Followed by a longer amount of holiday (14 per cent), an effective reward scheme (12 per cent and training courses (3 per cent). The poll had 372 HR individuals vote in it.

Article by Darius McQuaid

3 minutes
by Claire Newman
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