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The CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing survey – the 22nd of its kind and the 12th in partnership with Simplyhealth – comes two years on from the start of the global pandemic, which saw many organisations accelerate their employee wellbeing activity. It provides a wealth of benchmarking data on key areas like mental health, managing attendance and upskilling line managers to support wellbeing. 

Two years on, the coronavirus pandemic continues to heavily influence employee health and wellbeing. The virus has caused severe disruption due to absence, while many organisations have employees with long COVID. Although organisations are clearly still committed to supporting their people, evidence suggests that activity in this area is starting to slip, and a more holistic approach – based on the health risks and needs of the workforce – is needed.

The research includes:

  • forewords from the CIPD and Simplyhealth

  • detailed analyses

  • case studies from Leek United Building Society and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)

  • a concise guide outlining how HR practitioners can support employees’ physical and mental health as we emerge from the acute phase of the pandemic.

Explore the research:

Key findings

  • There is less management focus on health and wellbeing compared with the first year of the pandemic. Our evidence points to a small but disappointing slip in attention to employees’ mental and physical health. Seven in ten (70%) of HR respondents agree that employee wellbeing is on senior leaders’ agendas (down from 75% last year) and 60% believe that line managers have bought into the importance of wellbeing (down from 67% last year).

  • More organisations are taking steps to tackle presenteeism. Working when ill (presenteeism) remains prevalent – and is even higher for those working from home (81% versus 65% among those in a workplace). In response, 52% of HR respondents are taking steps to address this trend and investigate potential causes.

  • COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on employee health. Only 3% of organisations haven’t suffered any COVID 19-related absence, and just under half (46%) have employees who have experienced – or are experiencing – long COVID. Long COVID is now a major cause of long-term absence.

  • New or better support for people working from home. Just under three-quarters of organisations (72%) are providing new or better support for people working from home. For example, nearly half (47%) are encouraging more responsible use of digital technologies, acknowledging that regular movement breaks and time away from screens are essential for health and wellbeing.

  • Looking after people throughout the employee lifecycle. Our findings show that many organisations have a holistic approach to wellbeing, based on the health risks and needs of the workforce. This includes offering support to meet the potential challenges individuals may experience at different life stages, such as caring responsibilities, pregnancy loss or chronic health conditions.

Since 1872 we’ve been simplifying access to healthcare, and making it sustainable for the many. We believe that no-one should go without the healthcare support they need, which is why we aim to help as many people as possible to gain access to the right healthcare easily, quickly and affordably.

Our purpose hasn’t changed. Today we’re delighted to be the UK’s leading provider of health plans and dental payment plans, which help individuals, families, employees get support with their health, when they need it.

Making it easy for businesses to take care of their employees 

Embracing a preventive healthcare model is proven to help build a resilient, productive workforce.

We offer two types of preventive health plan:

  • Optimise – health and wellbeing: Our corporate health plan, covering a range of treatments including physio fees, dental check-ups, eye tests, and more. Our online portal provides access to a 24/7 employee assistance programme (EAP) and a 24/7 GP helpline. There are also other benefits that support overall health, like discounts on gym memberships. 

  • Denplan – dental healthcare: Our dental plans help patients avoid dental problems before they start. They enable patients to easily spread the cost of routine treatments and benefit from check-ups, hygiene visits, restorative treatment, and accidents and emergencies. 
Find out more about how we can help you support employee health and wellbeing

Driven by our purpose 

Our purpose and values lead every decision. With a passion for making healthcare access easier, customers can enjoy straightforward online claiming and fast, convenient access with the Simplyhealth App. 

Our company assists local and national healthcare charities that support adults and children to access healthcare. Simplyhealth reinvests up to 10% of its profits into charitable causes every year, providing financial and volunteer support to large and small causes who share our values.

We ensure our business takes care of the planet too, by reducing its environmental impact and building sustainable working environments for our people.

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