More people prioritise mental wellbeing than physical health, according to Legal & General Group Protection’s Wellbeing at Work Barometer.
The SME-based research found mental health was a top wellbeing priority for 61% of all those polled and was rated as an important part of wellbeing by 74% of women and 54% of men.
However, being in good physical health was only important for 54% of employees, with 71% of women and 44% of men calling it a priority.
Opinium surveyed 1,055 employees who were middle managers and below and 1,011 senior managers, in business with 10-249 employees in May.
Prioritising mental health appeared to increase with age, as 76% of those aged 55 and over said it was important, compared to 67% of those aged 35 to 54 and just 49% of 18 to 34 year olds.
A similar pattern emerged as being in good physical health was rated important for 68% of over 55s and 42% of under 35s.
Appreciation and flexible working
When asked what employees thought would improve their own personal wellbeing, recognition for work well done (45%) was rated as having the most positive impact, closely followed by more flexible working options (44%).
Commenting on the findings, Jo Elphick, marketing director at Legal & General Group Protection, said thank you and well done was worth their weight in gold in terms of overall wellbeing.
“Meanwhile the pandemic has accelerated the preference for more flexible working options among many employees,” she said.
“Yet with increasing diversification of workplace wellbeing options, and individuals placing importance on differing aspects of wellbeing depending on a wide range of factors, there’s never been a greater opportunity for SME employers to build their workplace wellbeing strategies to reflect those needs.”
Elphick added that employers should start thinking differently about what wellbeing means to their people by thinking beyond obvious categories and considering elements such as feeling appreciated and creating clear career pathways.
“The great news for SME employers is that some of these elements don’t cost anything,” she continued.
“As always, communication is key and, when reviewing benefits packages with their intermediary, employers should ensure they look at integrating protection benefits more broadly with culture, training and other dimensions that employees are saying they need.”