The new anxious world
Over the last four months all of us, irrespective of our level, have faced new health and wellbeing challenges because of the stress and anxiety which have been caused by the onset of COVID-19 and the lockdown. Social isolation and remote working have created a cocktail of emotional concerns. The increased emotional stress has arisen for a range of reasons and these play on one another to further increase the level and intensity of that anxiety:
This list is not exhaustive and its aim to highlight some of the areas that are impacting on people’s wellbeing and illustrates that improved levels of support are required by employees from their employers.
Time to support
As our working routines change and new work practices start to be implemented, now is the time to ensure that there is a new wellbeing support available to all employees. To help them manage their health and to support them to be effective in their roles.
This is where the expertise from benefit providers becomes invaluable for businesses, no matter what their size. Benefit providers like Busy Bees Benefits can quickly put in place a range of wellbeing services and communication programmes that help employers to engage and motivate their employees.
What support is available?
Employee Assistance Programmes
Services such as an Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), gives access to information and counselling services and can also help employees with their financial wellbeing through education support and access to accessible loans and salary advances. In terms of our EAP, we would normally expect to see a split of 65% of all cases being for emotional support and 35% of all cases being for work/life practical services. Since the onset of COVID-19, the number of workplace support cases we have seen in the last 2-months has reduced drastically, but this has led to an increase in calls / cases in other areas.
For those employers that don’t provide EAP services, you should know that these are low cost services but because they are available 24/7, they have become an important benefit at this time of need and can help employees have a sense of control.
Big White Wall
The ‘Big White Wall’ online community that that employees can sign up. This provides a safe space for employees to share their experiences with other members. This can be done in words or images, there is a library of information and courses on topics that include managing anxiety, positive thinking and problem solving. Members can assess themselves using a range of tests on emotional health, and issues surrounding healthy lifestyles. These tests allow members to record the results over time. Importantly there are always trained counsellors called Wall Guides to provide support. The service is easy to use and completely anonymous.
Healthy Living – Cycle to Work
To help support travel to work and keep social distancing, the cycle to work scheme may offer a practical solution in avoiding public transport and the costs of using cars or taxis. It can also be a practical wellbeing aid in keeping people healthy whilst gyms are still closed. So not only can they help employees to exercise, but shop and travel to work whilst maintaining a safe distance from others. And the introduction of more e-bikes, makes cycling accessible for many more people, by taking away some of the hard work a will help employees arrive at their place of work cool and refreshed.
The cycle to work scheme is an affordable way to purchase cycles as it a Government-backed initiative which helps employees save 25-39% on the cost of bikes, e-bikes, cycling accessories, clothing and bicycle components by spreading the cost interest-free (typically over 12 months). Employees can choose from a vast range of bike brands available in the UK market. The employer will then provide employees with their chosen bicycle and take an equivalent amount of the employee’s normal salary as a salary sacrifice. Unlike the salary, employees do not pay any tax or National Insurance on the value of the bike, so there are savings for both the employer and the employee.
Managing the health and wellbeing of employees will be something that employers will need to support for the long term. Every workplace however needs to consider its own position and what support arrangements it needs. Benefit providers such as Busy Bees Benefits are there to help structure and support employers put these in place.
Managing Director, Busy Bees Benefits
Provider of the SmartHive Platform
Smart Hive is an integrated, cost effective employee benefits platform that provides your employees with access to all their health and wellbeing benefits in one place. Talk to a member of our team today or book your very own demonstration.