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    Study shines light on UK attitudes to employee benefits

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    Wetones asked employees at 133 workplaces across the UK how their health and wellbeing needs and habits have changed, and whether updated benefits packages from their employers would help to support their wellbeing.

    What they discovered highlighted a gap between company benefit schemes and employee lifestyles. So how can companies get up to date with their employees’, offering benefits that truly enhance their life and wellbeing?

    Key findings include:-

    Employee benefits programmes are out of date. Over four in every five UK employees (81%) state that their company’s employee benefits scheme doesn’t fit their lifestyle

    82% state that employee benefits play a key role in whether they want to work for a company

    – Current company benefit schemes are most suited to people aged between 45 and 54. The highest majority (36%) of employees whose company provides a benefits scheme that suits their lifestyle are in this age bracket

    – 84% of employees are more physically active since working from home

    The biggest ‘want’ from employees is greater flexibility on working hours – this was top of the list for 70% of UK employees

    – Employees from large companies are nearly five times less physically active when working from home than employees from SMEs – different size companies should include wellbeing measures adapted to their employees’ routines

    – SME employees are least likely to take up mindful activities, with just 11% starting regular meditation or yoga

    With the lines between work life and home life becoming ever more blurred, it’s more important than ever that work and wellbeing go hand-in-hand.

    Not only is this increasing crossover a result of the pandemic, it reflects the different approach that many people now take to their careers. In today’s non 9-5 world it’s much easier to become consumed by your work – meaning that wellbeing isn’t something you just do in your spare time but an essential component of the job itself.

    In addition, they’re essential for attracting young talent:

    – 93% of young UK employees (under the age of 25) state that employee benefits play a key role in whether they want to work for a company

    While it’s important for older age groups, this figure decreases the older the employee is – 66% of those aged between 45 and 54 say it plays a key role

    An employee benefit scheme is also a means to attract the best and brightest talent – 85% of those with bachelor’s degrees state it plays a key role in attracting them to a company. This rises to 90% of those with postgraduate degrees

    People are exercising more often through the week when working from home – rather than spending a longer session ‘binge exercising’ at the weekends. 84% of UK respondents say they are more physically active since they started working remotely – and just 15% are less physically active.

    Regular and short periods of physical activity prove to be the most effective for many people. This means a shift towards home exercising and methods that don’t require a membership, and employers need to recognise this.

    Since the pandemic began we’re not simply finding more time for wellbeing – we’re finding new ways of achieving it during the working day too.

    The UK has become a nation of walkers – nearly three in five (56%) of employees now walk more during the working week, and not just on weekends

    – Two in five (39%) feel they have had an improved diet – with more ditching takeaways and pre-packaged meals to cook healthy home cooked meals

    – 25% of people in the UK are also taking part in more wellness activities such as engaging with nature and gardening

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien