66% believe workplace flexibility can boost mental health

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More than two-thirds of employees believe flexible working can support their overall wellbeing, according to Vitality in partnership with CBI Economics

New data has found that 66% of office employees believe that increased workplace flexibility will better support their mental and physical health. 

The survey, conducted by Vitality in partnership with CBI Economics, used a pool of 352 C-Suite executives and 2,005 office-based employees, also found that one-fifth (22%) of employees want the freedom to tailor their health and wellbeing to best suit their age and lifestyle.

“For many, the world of work looks markedly different in the wake of the pandemic, with firms and employees working together to hone their own hybrid futures,” Jordan Cummins, health programme director at CBI said. “Yet flexible working is just one facet of a growing business focus on wellbeing, with employee health increasingly now regarded as a sensible investment rather than a cost to be managed.

“With employee expectations undergoing a similarly seismic shift, firms which fail to evolve their health provision risk being left behind by more proactive competitors. There are big prizes on offer for companies which develop the right package for their workers. It can be easier to recruit and retain staff, job satisfaction rises while sickness absences decrease – and there are productivity gains too. This makes good health both a critical pillar of business success and a key driver of economic growth and societal prosperity.”

Workplace flexibility is paramount for women

The added flexibility to work schedules, such as four-day work weeks and flexitime have proven to be invaluable to women in the workplace – especially those who have caregiving duties, such as looking after children or relatives. 

McKinsey has reported that a record number of employees have quit their jobs or are thinking about quitting their jobs, for reasons such as exhaustion from the competing pressures of working from home and juggling childcare responsibilities, struggles with returning to the office but not finding consistent childcare, and reevaluating their overall work–life balance. 

Vitality’s research also found that 82% of employers felt a greater sense of responsibility to support physical and mental wellbeing since COVID-19. However, 28% of employers admit that they do not currently measure employee health and wellbeing at all.

Neville Koopowitz, chief executive officer of Vitality UK, said: “What is clear is that there is no magic solution, no one-size-fits-all approach. It requires the right technology and data to understand the make-up of your business and the individuals within it, so that you can formulate the optimal employee engagement strategy.

“It also needs to be prioritised at the very top of a business to foster a deep-rooted commitment to health and wellbeing at all levels. This is both a challenge and opportunity for business leaders. Get it right, and businesses will unlock greater productivity and retention.”


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