engagement workplace wellness

Report: Workplace Wellness Focuses on Engagement, More Need for Mental Health

Engagement of employees is key focus for any workplace wellness program. After all, without active participation, it becomes much more difficult to improve employee health and reduce overall health costs.

But a new UK report asks if more focus could go towards assisting employee mental health.

The Workplace Insight post is titled “Wellbeing programmes that focus on staff engagement neglect a need to address mental health.”

It states: “Although mental health in the workplace is the top priority for almost three in five (60 percent) CEOs in the UK and the area of employee wellbeing with which their Board is most concerned, currently, the key drivers of wellbeing strategies are to improve engagement and culture. Well over a quarter (30 percent) of respondents said wellbeing strategies are primarily driven by a desire to increase employee engagement and 23 percent to improve organisational culture.”

Other key stats:

  • “Other concerns include employees’ physical inactivity (55 percent) and managing the wellbeing of an aging workforce (36 percent).”
  • “Most employee wellbeing strategies address physical activity (85 percent), health and safety in the workplace (85 percent) and mental health (84 percent).”
  • “Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) address work-life balance and over two thirds (69 percent) cover nutrition and healthy eating.”

Engagement, But Mental Health, Too?

Though company boards see the importance of mental health, do wellness programs — and companies — put enough focus there?

We previously reported on a Wildgoose  survey of employees from 250 companies across the UK and asked the participants. One conclusion: “It is imperative that employers address the issue of mental health symptoms within the workplace, particularly as it is estimated that the average cost to a business per employee as a result of absence due to mental health symptoms totals £1,035 per year.”

And this might be an area where workplace wellness programs should focus.

The Workplace Insight post notes that “nearly three quarters (73 percent) of respondents” to the annual wellbeing report ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2018’ from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) “admitted that high pressure working environments are now the biggest threat to wellbeing.”

However:  “Just a third (34 percent) of respondents provide mental health training for line managers, and despite a similar percentage (35 percent) planning to introduce this training in the next 12 months, one in six (14.9 percent) say they have no plans to introduce this sort of training.”