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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact organisations and affects how and where employees work, 95% of employers around the world now include emotional and mental health programmes in their corporate wellbeing platforms.

The findings of a just-published survey on employee health and wellbeing also suggested that emotional and mental health programs can be particularly valuable to employees – many of whom may be adjusting to working from home or may have had changes to their workspace and routine due to health safety.
 
The report conducted by Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments surveyed 152 employers, including 96 global organisations.

“Employers are facing a completely different set of wellbeing challenges this year as they and their employees try to adapt to changes to their physical work environment or their job status,” said Shams Talib, head of Fidelity Workplace Consulting.

Some of the more commonly offered mental/emotional help programmes among surveyed companies included teletherapy – offered by 69% of employers in 2020 – stress management (50%) and resiliency programs (49%). Another 33% of employers will offer programmes to help improve sleep, a jump of from 25% in 2019.

Teletherapy is advice from a certified therapist via a secure video connection.

Employers are also increasing their emphasis on helping employees improve their work/life balance, with 78% of employers including these types of benefits in their well-being platforms. Benefits include caregiver support (46%), tools for new parents (36%) and child care support (35%).

“The expanded focus on mental and emotional well-being comes at a time when a growing number of employees may be facing increased anxiety and stress based on the evolving social and economic landscape,” added Talib.

Average budget for wellbeing initiatives up 36%
As wellbeing platforms evolve and expand, the average being budget continues to increase commensurately, along with the number of employees committed to these programmes.

The average budget for wellbeing programmes increased to $4.9 million (HK$38 million) in 2020, up 36% over 2019. Among large organisations – 20,000+ employees – the average budget earmarked for such programmes jumped to $10.4 million.

Almost one-third (31%) of employers surveyed suggested they will have at least two full-time staff members dedicated to the company’s wellbeing programme – while 13% will have more five or more full-time employees dedicated to managing such programmes.

The majority of incentives are tied to physical health initiatives, but 15% are linked to initiatives designed to address non-physical programmes – addressing mental, financial and emotional health.

While just 12% of multinationals currently offer financial incentives to employees outside of the US, this figure is expected to jump as high as 17% in 2021.

Want to know more about mental health obligations for your team? Check out the upcoming Uniqskills course, Managing Health and Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace, with renowned Hong Kong psychologist, Dr Adrian Low. More details here.