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Wellbeing and the Gender Divide
When it comes to addressing the issue of wellbeing in the workplace, it’s essential for employers to understand the finer details. When we meet with clients, one of the most frequently discussed topics is how to create a tailored benefits package when a workplace includes team members with a huge variety of needs. Age, state of health, salary and career stage are all factors that may affect the type of benefit likely to appeal most to the employee but gender is also a significant factor.
A recent survey by Group Risk Development (GRiD) highlighted the difference between men and women in the workplace, showing that women are more concerned about wellbeing. The research study assessed 1165 UK employees in January of this year and asked them to consider six key areas of health and wellbeing to identify whether they were of personal concern to them.
The results showed that, specifically, three key areas concerned women more than men – namely, stress and anxiety related to work, debt and living with long-term chronic illness or health conditions such as diabetes. Only one issue – that of stress and anxiety relating to home life, such as caring responsibilities – was more of a concern for men.
Pressing the Right Buttons
When we create benefits packages for employers, they need to include benefits that appeal to every individual on the team, press their buttons and address key concerns in order to maximise employee take-up. As Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said, the results of this study emphasise how important it is that employers “do not make assumptions about the health and wellbeing needs of their workforce” on the basis of gender or anything else.
Instead, it is important for employers to use the research to support the creation of a strong benefits structure or remain open to tweaking their current arrangements to more adequately respond to the needs of their team.
The sense of uncertainty and fear surrounding COVID-19 has seen instances of stress and anxiety skyrocket. It’s no wonder with so many of us experiencing a major lifestyle shift whether it be working from home, being furloughed, taking a pay cut, or even losing our job entirely.
With all of these events putting people under more financial pressure than ever, it is essential for employers to offer tailored benefits that ease the pressure on employee mental health and support teams in the most effective way to minimise their financial burden.
Stressing about Overtime
When we look more closely at the GRiD survey and the number one cause of stress and anxiety for women, this relates to concerns about working overtime and the uncertainty of their future. Both of these elements have been exacerbated by the current economic climate where seemingly bulletproof jobs hang in the balance and many employees feel pressured to work more and more hours to prove their worth and minimise the risk of drawing negative attention to their performance.
A strong employee benefits offering, specifically one including policies with early intervention and support, will prove vital during these times to minimise the risk of health issues escalating and long-term absence.
When it comes to the issue of gender, issues such as shared parental leave should also be considered when it comes to creating a relevant benefits package as gender roles when it comes to childcare are growing more and more balanced.
That being said, a recent study by Vitality showed that women are more concerned than men about returning to the workplace, specifically as the burden of caring responsibilities makes a full return difficult or even impossible.
In the light of this research, employers should consider that the pandemic has created the need to establish more flexible working arrangements in the longer-term for some employees and subsequently work out the benefits that would prove most valuable to this demographic, with a focus on alleviating stress from such responsibilities to improve overall health and wellbeing.
Free Wellbeing Workshops
In line with our commitment to offering ongoing support services to our clients, Vintage Corporate are currently making plans to offer free wellbeing workshops over the next 12 months. These workshops will provide the opportunity for you to find out more about the many different types of benefits available and ask key questions to ascertain how you can gain the best return on investment from your benefits package. Email your adviser today for more information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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