CIPD report highlights both positive and negative health and wellbeing outcomes 2 years into the pandemic
The CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing survey in partnership with Simplyhealth, has been published. We are now more than two years on from the start of the global pandemic, which saw a change in focus with many organisations accelerating their employee wellbeing activity. The survey provides a wealth of benchmarking data on key areas like mental health, managing attendance and upskilling line managers to support wellbeing.
Two and a half years on, the coronavirus pandemic continues to heavily influence employee health and wellbeing. The virus has caused severe disruption due to absence, while many organisations have employees experiencing long COVID. Although organisations are clearly still committed to supporting their people, evidence suggests that activity in this area is starting to slip, and a more holistic approach – based on the health risks and needs of the workforce – is needed.
There is less management focus on health and wellbeing compared with the first year of the pandemic. Evidence points to a small but disappointing slip in attention to employees’ mental and physical health. Seven in ten (70%) of HR respondents agree that employee wellbeing is on senior leaders’ agendas (down from 75% last year) and 60% believe that line managers have bought into the importance of wellbeing (down from 67% last year).
More organisations are taking steps to tackle presenteeism. Working when ill (presenteeism) remains prevalent – and is even higher for those working from home (81% versus 65% among those in a workplace). In response, 52% of HR respondents are taking steps to address this trend and investigate potential causes.
COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on employee health. Only 3% of organisations haven’t suffered any COVID 19-related absence, and just under half (46%) have employees who have experienced – or are experiencing – long COVID. Long COVID is now a major cause of long-term absence.
New or better support for people working from home. Just under three-quarters of organisations (72%) are providing new or better support for people working from home. For example, nearly half (47%) are encouraging more responsible use of digital technologies, acknowledging that regular movement breaks and time away from screens are essential for health and wellbeing.
Looking after people throughout the employee lifecycle. Report findings show that many organisations have a holistic approach to wellbeing, based on the health risks and needs of the workforce. This includes offering support to meet the potential challenges individuals may experience at different life stages, such as caring responsibilities, pregnancy loss or chronic health conditions.