Active Lancashire says businesses need to respond in order to recruit and retain key staff.
Two years on since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, businesses and their people have endured significant stresses.
As companies continue to get to grips with hybrid working and how they can introduce greater flexibility in order to provide staff with a better work/life balance, employees are faced with a steep rise in living costs, which meaning these stresses are continuing to be felt.
In recent research, the employee engagement business, Edenred, asked 2,000 British workers how current circumstances are affecting them and what support they need.
It found that health and wellbeing continues to be a priority for employees, with 30 per cent saying they want better support for their health, not just mental wellbeing.
Adrian Leather at Active Lancashire says the findings come as no surprise: “Throughout the pandemic, while the prospect of getting ill from Covid-19 has been the chief health concern for most people, other existing conditions being have been ignored.
“Employees that have been storing-up these wider health concerns are now faced with backlogs in the NHS and so are going to be looking for extra support wherever they can find it, including through their employers.
“A big problem, and one that’s been made worse by the pandemic, is a lack of physical activity. Here in Lancashire, 29 per cent of adults are inactive and there are strong links between a lack of physical activity and poor health.
“Employers have an important role to play in encouraging and supporting their people to get more active. That doesn’t have to mean handing out gym memberships or sending staff to bootcamps.”
He said even just holding “mobile meetings”; that take place on a short walk rather than around a table, or setting a fun, daily mile walking challenge, could make a difference.
As well as reducing sick rates, businesses that can be seen responding to employee demand for health support will find it easier to attract and keep top talent, he added.
In a UK first, the Active Lancashire charity has launched Business Health Matters, a ground-breaking programme to help improve workforce health across the county by providing health champion training and conducting health screenings for businesses and their people.
It is also sponsoring the Medium Business of the Year Award in this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs.
Adrian added: “We’re delighted to be involved with the BIBAs this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the county’s medium-sized businesses have been up to and how they’ve coped with all the turmoil of the last year or so. It will be particularly interesting to see how many of the entrants in this category have prioritised workforce health and wellbeing as part of their approach to getting back-on-track.”
BIBAs organisers are now sifting through nearly 500 applications from 271 county businesses before judging starts later in the year.