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The CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing survey – the twenty-first of its kind and the eleventh in partnership with Simplyhealth – comes just over a year after UK workplaces began protecting their workforces against COVID-19. It provides a wealth of benchmarking data on key areas like absence management, wellbeing benefits and mental health. The report includes forewords from the CIPD and Simplyhealth, detailed analyses and sector-based summaries, case studies from two organisations, and a concise guide outlining the steps you can take to support your employees’ wellbeing.

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Key findings

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed work on an unprecedented scale. Employers and employees have had to deal with a host of challenges, from sickness and loss to furlough and redundancy. Although more employers are committing to their employees’ health and wellbeing (especially their mental health), there’s significant room for improvement – particularly in the area of line manager support.  
  • Presenteeism and leaveism are widespread, with many employees feeling like they can’t switch off: More organisations are tackling presenteeism and leaveism compared with last year, yet two-fifths of organisations experiencing these issues are taking no action whatsoever.  
  • Employee wellbeing continues to rise up the corporate agenda: Senior leaders are taking mental health seriously, with most putting additional measures in place to support their employees in response to COVID-19. However, despite the increased focus on people’s mental health, organisations need to do to more to support their employees’ financial wellbeing
  • HR professionals are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on mental wellbeing: Many organisations have stepped up their efforts to promote good mental health and tackle stress. However, there’s a disappointing fall in the number of organisations training line managers to support people with mental ill health, while more action is needed to manage the health risks from increased homeworking. 
  • The most common challenge organisations face in managing people with a disability or long-term health condition is the development of their line managers: Around three-fifths of organisations have a supportive framework to recruit, manage or retain people with a disability and/or long-term health condition, yet very few organisations collect and publish workforce disability information. Although line managers are key to managing people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, less than a third provide these managers with training and guidance to effectively do so. 
  • Only one in 10 organisations haven’t experienced any absence due to COVID-19: Musculoskeletal injuries are the second main cause of both short- and long-term absence, while mental ill health is the top cause of long-term absence.  
  • Most organisations use a combination of methods to deter and manage sickness absence and promote attendance: The most common methods are return-to-work interviews, trigger mechanisms to review attendance, and leave for family circumstances. 

Listen to the key findings

Listen to a concise summary of the 2021 Health and wellbeing at work survey

Duration: 00:02:21

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a huge threat to people’s health and transformed work on an unprecedented scale. Employers and employees have had to deal with a host of challenges, from sickness and loss to furlough and redundancy.  
 
Meanwhile remote working has offered benefits to many, but left other people feeling like they just can’t switch off from work. 
 
The CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing survey – the 21st of its kind, and the 11th in partnership with Simplyhealth – reveals that presenteeism and leaveism are a common issue – whether employees are working from home or physically in the workplace. 
 
But there is hope.  
 
More and more employers are committed to their employees’ health and wellbeing – especially their mental health, while the critical role of line managers is increasingly acknowledged.  
 
Our latest report comes just over a year after UK workplaces began protecting their workforces against COVID-19, and provides a wealth of benchmarking data on key areas such as absence management, wellbeing benefits and mental health.  
 
The report includes forewords from the CIPD and Simplyhealth, detailed analyses and sector-based summaries, as well as case studies from two organisations – Co-op, and Essex County Council – whose response to the pandemic put employees’ needs front and centre of their health and wellbeing agendas.  
 
We’ve also produced a short guide out of this research, outlining the steps you can take to support your employees’ wellbeing. You’ll be able to use it to identify the main threats to wellbeing at work, and to systematically improve health and inclusion outcomes for employees. 
 
It shouldn’t take a global pandemic to push people’s health and wellbeing to the top of the corporate agenda. The challenge, now, is for employers to remain committed even as the pandemic evolves. The CIPD’s latest health and wellbeing report is grounded in evidence, and is a necessary starting point to do just that.  

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Health and well-being at work

Since 1872 we’ve been simplifying access to healthcare, and making it sustainable for the many. We believe that no-one should go without the healthcare support they need, which is why we aim to help as many people as possible to gain access to the right healthcare easily, quickly and affordably.

Our purpose hasn’t changed. Today we’re delighted to be the UK’s leading provider of health plans and dental payment plans, which help individuals, families, employees get support with their health, when they need it.

Making it easy for businesses to take care of their employees 

Embracing a preventive healthcare model is proven to help build a resilient, productive workforce.

We offer two types of preventive health plan:

  • Optimise – health and wellbeing: Our corporate health plan, covering a range of treatments including physio fees, dental check-ups, eye tests, and more. Our online portal provides access to a 24/7 employee assistance programme (EAP) and a 24/7 GP helpline. There are also other benefits that support overall health, like discounts on gym memberships. 

  • Denplan – dental healthcare: Our dental plans help patients avoid dental problems before they start. They enable patients to easily spread the cost of routine treatments and benefit from check-ups, hygiene visits, restorative treatment, and accidents and emergencies. 
Find out more about how we can help you support employee health and wellbeing

Driven by our purpose 

Our purpose and values lead every decision. With a passion for making healthcare access easier, customers can enjoy straightforward online claiming and fast, convenient access with the Simplyhealth App. 

Our company assists local and national healthcare charities that support adults and children to access healthcare. Simplyhealth reinvests up to 10% of its profits into charitable causes every year, providing financial and volunteer support to large and small causes who share our values.

We ensure our business takes care of the planet too, by reducing its environmental impact and building sustainable working environments for our people.

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