Supporting your employees' wellbeing

As businesses adjust to the ‘new normal’ after the covid crisis, employers are turning their attention to how they can support employees as they deal with the wide-ranging health and economic effects of the pandemic.  The pandemic has changed the way we live and work and this has not only introduced new risks for employers across the full spectrum of wellbeing, it has exacerbated pre-existing ones.

A recent study revealed that nearly half (49%) of SME owners are concerned about the future of their business.

We have identified four key risk areas that employers should be aware of as they look ahead to supporting wellbeing within their workplace

The new key risks we have identified are as follows:

1. Financial pressures

Due to the pandemic, some rural businesses find themselves facing increasing financial pressure which is having a huge impact on the mental health of both employers and employees. Research from charity Mental Health UK found that 78% of SME owners are worried about cash flow. In 2020, 58% of employees reported that they were stressed by their finances and with the impact of the pandemic this is set to be far higher now. Financial concerns amongst employees can be particularly damaging, leading to increased anxiety, decreased productivity levels and can lead to more time off work due to stress.

2. Uncertainty, anxiety and stress

Ongoing lockdowns, the stresses of adapting to working from home, acclimatising to home teaching, and nationwide bans on travel and seeing family and friends, have caused huge disruption for employees.  The uncertainty around what the future holds has caused many businesses and employees heightened stress and anxiety. A recent study revealed that 68% of business owners have seen an increase in mental health issues in employees since the onset of the pandemic. An increase in those suffering from mental health problems may lead to a rise in absences and lower levels of engagement. Therefore it is critical that businesses take action to support themselves and their employees in order to minimise the impact on mental health.

3. Social isolation and loneliness

As part of the pandemic restrictions and the social distancing measures, many people living in rural communities have experienced social isolation increased loneliness. This inability to access social resources previously relied upon has heighted the risk for employees previously suffering from mental health issues as well as those who have not previously experienced any mental health problems. A study by the Royal Society for Public Health, found that women are more likely to feel isolated as compared with men (58% vs 29%) which further emphasises the irregular impact on different groups of people. For rural employers, it’s important to consider how to best support wellbeing within their businesses and to create a supportive and inclusive culture for the employees working within it.

4. Maintaining physical health

The pandemic not only presents challenges to employees’ mental health but their physical wellbeing too. . For example, increased working from home has resulted in increased musculoskeletal problems due to a lack of adequate home office equipment and space.

The demands placed on the NHS during the crisis and the backlog that now ensues means that some employees are having to wait longer than normal for diagnosis, medical advice and treatment.

There is also growing evidence that employees have put off seeking help for non-COVID related illnesses during the lockdown periods. For employers, this backlog of potential physical health problems is likely to become an increasingly significant wellbeing risk area.

Popular wellbeing solutions include:


Give your employees unlimited access to speak to a GP any time day or night, from anywhere in the world. Using Med24, your employees can book a call with a qualified, practising GP any time, day or night. They can speak to an NHS GP over the phone or face-to-face via eConsultation with no time limits or restrictions on the number of appointments. Med24 gives your employees and their families fast and unlimited access to a virtual GP surgery from anywhere in the world. Providing them with peace of mind that they can access medical support when they need it most.

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Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)

EAPs provide confidential access to services that help your people manage troubling times in their life.

Employees can call 24 hours a day to get advice, information and counselling for anything from mental health, relationship problems and stress issues, to childcare, debt and legal worries.

They’re becoming more and more popular as employers recognise the widespread prevalence of stress and mental health issues in modern life.

EAPs are very affordable and extremely easy to set up. They can help to combat absence rates and boost engagement levels. Line managers can use the service to answer concerns they might have about employment issues or employee health. They are a valuable component in helping you meet your duty of care responsibilities.

Health Screenings

A health screen may help you to identify if you are at risk of certain conditions or diagnose a disease or condition before you experience symptoms. Without regular health checks you may not be aware that you have health problems developing. Identifying problems early means that suitable treatment or advice can be offered. Early detection of potential issues can be key to achieving a fit and healthy future.

The health screening programme can be conducted in the comfort of your own home using the very latest mobile testing equipment. Each assessment is undertaken by experienced screening practitioners, supported by GPs and is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible.

To find out more details and what is covered, speak to a member of the CLA Healthcare team.

Financial education programmes

Money worries are one of the main causes of stress amongst employees.  A financial education programme can help your workforce to:

  • Take control of their finances
  • Give them the tools to manage financial unpredictability and unexpected expenses
  • Manage debt and plan for their financial future

Our financial education programmes are aimed at creating confidence for your employees to make well-informed financial decisions and eliminate stress.

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To find out more or to discuss your options in more detail, the expert team at CLA Healthcare are on hand to help.

Call 01274 717361 or email healthcare@cla.org.uk to find out more.

1 PwC’s 9th annual Employee Financial Wellness survey (2020)

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