Conversations once considered taboo in the workplace are being tackled and how business supports employees is being put under the spotlight since the pandemic.
Health screenings and menopause support are increasing and businesses are also waking up to the need to acknowledge neurodiversity in their diversity and inclusion (D&I) agendas.
Nearly half of UK companies have said expanding their healthcare offerings, particularly through telehealth services, will continue to be a top priority over the coming years.
Neurodiversity becoming part of D&I
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for several neurodevelopmental areas such as dyslexia, attention deficiency hyperactive disorder and autism.
It is estimated one in seven in the UK are neurodiverse and yet, research on the lived experiences of neurodiverse employees is lacking.
The competitive edge a neurodiverse workforce brings has been recognised, with Siemens reporting a 50% increase in productivity.
With this growing awareness of the strengths a neurodiverse workforce offers, businesses will be looking at how they can nurture a supportive culture.
A WTW study found 70% of neurodivergent employees experienced mental health issues and 50% felt burnt out at work compared to 38% of neurotypical employees.
The impact of trying to fit in, while not having their own needs met, places stress on these employees.
Organisations will be considering how they can nurture a pro-neurodiverse workforce by educating teams, identifying reasonable adjustments to support individuals’ needs and ensuring corporate healthcare packages are inclusive of these employees.
Menopause focus for HR
Momentum gathered around menopause in the workplace last year. The impact of the menopause on women’s careers was recognised in the mainstream, with celebrities such as Davina McCall speaking out on their experiences.
The NHS offered its employees greater flexibility, introducing the UK’s first workplace guidance for the menopause, and legislative change to add menopause as a protected characteristic was called for.
Menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic and almost eight out of ten menopausal women are currently in work, according to The Faculty of Occupational Medicine.
It’s an issue that is therefore affecting a significant proportion of the workforce at any one time and women are exiting the workforce due to lack of support available.
The menopause was mentioned 207 times in tribunals in 2021, up 75% on 2020, with one in 10 women who were at work when experiencing the menopause leaving their jobs due to symptoms.
There is demand for educational and awareness sessions and for menopause-related appointments with GP services.
Shifts towards preventative health measures
Last year greater emphasis was placed on preventative healthcare with the launch of the UK’s Our Future Health Project.
This is also reflected in the corporate world, with health screening rising up the agenda.
Preventative strategies can have significant return on investment (ROI) for businesses, alongside supporting the health of staff members.
We have seen a more than 20% increase in demand for employee screening as businesses return to the office, post-pandemic.
Previously predominantly reserved for senior employees, this service is now being offered to employees of all levels on a funded, co-funded or self-pay basis.
Employers are acknowledging the crucial role they can play in building a more productive and resilient workforce.
The areas featured here will resonate among employees, while also bringing true ROI for businesses.