Why Leading Companies Are Providing Mental Health Benefits - and Why You Should, Too

The challenges of the pandemic have seen a significant increase in leading companies providing mental health benefits for their employees. Here we share why your business should start offering workplace support.

Yugi the Giraffe - 4 August 2021

In recent years across industries we have seen a big shift toward mental health in the workplace, with an increasing number of companies adding wellbeing initiatives and mental health support resources to their employee benefits packages.

During the pandemic, these offerings have increased exponentially.

The past year’s challenges have resulted in 42% of employees being more stressed than they were before the onset of Covid-19 [1], making mental health at work a more pressing concern than ever. People’s expectations have changed significantly, and employees are now turning to their employers for health and wellbeing support.

With 93% of people saying that their employer has an obligation to protect their wellbeing at work,[2] businesses have been forced to take a fresh approach to how they look after their staff, meaning many of the world’s leading businesses are now putting mental health and employee wellbeing much higher up the priority list.

As the ‘Great Resignation’ takes effect, with 41% of workers considering quitting their job this year - companies will no longer be able to offer health and wellbeing initiatives as an afterthought if they want to take care of their people and retain and engage the best talent.[3]

93% of people feel their employer has an obligation to protect their wellbeing at work.

There are plenty of measures that can be put in place to support employee mental health, but what are the benefits of a comprehensive mental wellbeing strategy?

Here we share why your business should start prioritising employee mental health, and some simple steps you can take to achieve this.

Providing employee benefits at work pays back

Many businesses commonly provide some form of Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which give staff access to a range of support services including counselling and clinical treatment pathways for mental health problems.

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace pays back in many positive ways for a business - way beyond the obvious cultural benefits. Poor employee mental health can lead to burnout, disengagement, and increased absence, ultimately impacting overall business performance.

However, the value of mental health benefits at work is seriously limited unless employees know exactly what’s available and how they can be accessed.

Only 14% of UK employees say that they already take full advantage of the workplace benefits on offer at present.[4] This suggests there’s a worrying gap between the employee mental health support being offered and what people actually need and use.

One way you can make your EAP more effective is with better signposting. By proactively sharing how your EAP works and documenting the benefits of the service, you can ensure you’re reaching those in need of support and helping your workforce to thrive.

Money worries impact employee mental health, which affects performance

We tend to underestimate the impact that financial wellbeing can have on employee mental health. With uncertainty continuing to remain in the wake of the pandemic, people need to feel reassurance and security.

Research has demonstrated a direct link between levels of financial confidence and mental wellbeing, which is why helping your employees build financial resilience is vital to improving mental health.[5]

Financial health shouldn’t be seen as a work perk, but an essential mental health tool. Businesses that fail to tackle their employees’ financial stresses are more likely to encounter poor work performance and a lack of engagement.[6] And now, employees are increasingly expecting support in this area, with 69% believing that their employers have a duty to help them with financial wellbeing.[7]

Group Income Protection can be a valuable company benefit that may ease anxiety about what might happen if an employee is struck with an illness and forced to stop working. Knowing that a safety net like this is in place means there’s one less thing to worry about.

Educating staff about how to manage their finances is another great way to reduce anxiety about money and improve mental wellbeing in the workplace. With the rapid development of digital options, it’s never been easier to provide employees with services that can support them with money worries. Alleviating this stress offers real peace of mind that can boost productivity and performance output.

Employee wellbeing initiatives allow you to create a healthier workplace

Mental and physical health are strongly interconnected. Not only can poor workplace wellbeing contribute to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, but it can seriously exacerbate physical illness too. Meaning that businesses not investing in mental health support at work pay the price of increased absence - up to 16% of the annual salary bill may be spent on sickness absence alone.[8]

In turn, by encouraging employees to improve physical health, you can help alleviate poor mental health in the workplace. There is a wealth of evidence suggesting that exercise is as effective as many clinical interventions for preventing and treating mental health problems, and according to YuLife’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, moderate exercisers are 30% less likely to suffer a depressive episode.[9]

Businesses not investing in mental health support at work pay the price of increased absence.

Sometimes the smallest habits make the biggest difference because they’re much easier to start and maintain. Encouraging employees to practice micro-habits such as short walks can add up over time to give a significant boost to health and wellbeing.

Offering incentives is another great way to encourage your staff to make positive changes to their lifestyle, particularly given that 65% of employees would do more physical activity if they were rewarded for this by their employers.[10]

YuLife offers companies an easy way to provide extra financial protection that comes bundled with a comprehensive package of wellbeing initiatives, including a gamified app that rewards employees for engaging in health-enhancing behaviours such as walking and meditation.

Click here to get a quote and learn more about how YuLife is working with hundreds of growing businesses to provide Company Life Insurance that engages, rewards and protects their people whilst looking after their mental wellbeing.

  1. YuLife's Health and Wellbeing Survey 3.0 ↩︎

  2. YuLife's Health and Wellbeing Survey 3.0 ↩︎

  3. Microsoft: The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work - Are We Ready? ↩︎

  4. YuLife's Health and Wellbeing Survey 4.0 ↩︎

  5. Claro Mental Health Project Report ↩︎

  6. Workplace Insight: Financial stress can impair employee performance and attendance ↩︎

  7. YuLife's Health and Wellbeing Survey 3.0 ↩︎

  8. The Institute of Employment Studies: Costing Sickness Absence in the UK ↩︎

  9. Dr Rangan Chatterjee Podcast: How Exercise Changes Your Brain and Reduces Your Risk of Depression with Brendon Stubbs ↩︎

  10. YuLife's Health and Wellbeing Survey 3.0 ↩︎

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.