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Can companies do more to support physical activity and mental health?

Can companies do more to support physical activity and mental health?

New research by our partners Westfield Health suggests that more than 80% of working adults in the UK believe companies could do more to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employers

With workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues becoming a bigger concern than ever, is it time for employers to be taking the burden from the NHS? More than half of working adults believe that UK businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, according to a new study released today.

The vast majority (86%) believe that firms are specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.

With seven out of 10 of those surveyed by Westfield Health saying that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services, such as health check-ups and cognitive behavioural therapy. Almost three quarters agreed it would be a good idea for a portion of their National Insurance contributions to be redirected towards employee wellbeing programmes. Currently 12% of the average salary (£157-£866 per week) goes towards National Insurance.

Commercial Director of Westfield Health, David Capper, said:  “A government-backed auto-enrolment scheme for wellbeing programmes – funded by employers and by a portion of employees’ National Insurance contributions – is just one of the ideas that could form part of a revamped funding plan for the NHS to address its long-term financial needs. The research found that six in 10 would like to see the Government do more to promote the physical and mental health of Britain’s workforce.

“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to your overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships. As business leaders, we need to create a culture where our people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and ultimately prosperity.”

Dr Anouska Carter, Principal Researcher at AWRC (Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre) at Sheffield Hallam University, said: The prevention of chronic disease and maintenance of good health, require complex lifestyle behaviour change interventions that are based on sound scientific principles.”

“There is an urgent need for a new approach to stem the rapid increase in chronic disease. Workplaces have the opportunity to offer the ideal setting for a preventative approach to health and wellbeing, with adults spending most of their waking hours at work.

For more information about workplace health and wellbeing, visit www.westfieldhealth.com/business.

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