Health and wellbeing support needs to adapt as 45% are hybrid working

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Research revealed today by Towergate Health & Protection shows that on average 45% of employees are now working on a hybrid basis, splitting their time between working from home and their usual place of work.

The survey of 500 HR decision makers from businesses of all sizes across the UK highlights Towergate Health & Protection’s concerns for employee health and wellbeing.

Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting, Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Without the traditional workplace there is no hub for the delivery and communication of health and wellbeing benefits. Ensuring that employees are well looked after and feel equally valued is a major issue.”

All industry sectors affected

Hybrid working now reaches far and wide. Only 12% of companies said they have no hybrid workers and another 12% said that ALL their employees are now working on a hybrid basis. Perhaps surprisingly, the phenomenon is not limited to office-based industries. Respondents from the construction industry said an average 26% of their staff are hybrid workers. In the hospitality and leisure industry, 32% of employees are hybrid workers, and in manufacturing it is 28%.

Changing requirements

The changing nature of the workplace means that health and wellbeing requirements are changing too. This covers the whole supply chain, from what support is provided, to how employers communicate it, and how employees access it.

With the reported decrease in cancer diagnoses, increase in waiting times for treatment on the NHS, and difficulty getting GP appointments, the need for support has never been greater, and employers need to adapt in how they offer it.

There have been significant developments made to improve the accessibility of support, with greater access to digital GPs, virtual physio, online counselling, screening, home-testing kits and fast-track access to support; and many employers now need to reconsider the support they offer.

Communication issues

Without the office as a hub, communication of health and wellbeing support needs to adapt. Noticeboards in kitchen areas are unlikely to reach the number of employees they previously did. Digital communications are often the best way to ensure that all employees are kept up to date and it is good for these to include a mix – from emails and intranet content to video calls and apps – to resonate with the different ways that employees like to digest information.

Access and delivery

Accessing and delivering health and wellbeing support needs to meet the specific challenges of a hybrid workforce. In today’s work environments, digital interaction is often the best solution as it reaches the widest of employee audiences in almost any setting. Being able to see their options online and manage their requirements in one place helps employees to engage with health and wellbeing support. Virtual consultations with GPs, physiotherapists, counsellors, and other experts mean that employees can access support quickly and easily whether in the office, at home, or travelling.

Debra Clark concludes: “One of the biggest issues with hybrid working is in ensuring employees still feel valued. This is the case for those who are working mostly from home and missing the social interaction of the office, and also for those who are mostly back to their original workplace and feel that they may be missing out by not working so much from home. Health and wellbeing support can actually be enhanced by hybrid working, but only if it is delivered effectively and communicated regularly.”

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    Marja Toseland

    All stories by: Marja Toseland