Health & wellbeing: the view of HR professionals throughout the pandemic

According to the CIPD’s twenty-first survey report exploring absence and wellbeing practices in UK workplaces, employee wellbeing continues to rise up the corporate agenda. The survey, conducted among 668 HR professionals, found an encouraging fall in the proportion who report their organisation is ‘much more reactive than proactive’ on health and wellbeing (27%, down from 41% the previous year). A summary of the key insights found:

    • Three quarters (75%) believe that senior leaders have employee wellbeing on their agenda; yet still just 50% have a formal wellbeing strategy (albeit an increase from 44% in 2020).
    • Most organisations have taken additional measures to support employee wellbeing in response to Covid-19, most commonly through an increased focus on mental health, tailoring support to individual needs, and providing support for those working from home.
    • Just over three quarters (77%) believe their organisation actively promotes good mental wellbeing (up from 58% last year). However, just half believe it is effective in tackling workplace stress or in identifying and managing the mental health risks arising from Covid-19.
    • Alongside this, however, ‘presenteeism’ and ‘leaveism’ are still widespread. The large majority (84%) have observed ‘presenteeism’, both in the workplace (75%) and while working at home (77%) over the past 12 months. Seven in ten (70%) have observed some form of ‘leaveism’, such as working outside contracted hours or using holiday entitlement to work.
    • Mental health remains the most common cause of long-term absence followed by musculoskeletal injuries and stress.