Mon 15 / 02 / 21
Brand new insights: SME workers on Covid-19, stress, workplace wellbeing, employee benefits and more...
Brighton-based insurance and wealth management firm Drewberry advises clients across the UK on protection insurance, pensions, investments and employee benefits.
This year, their brand new Employee Benefits and Workplace Satisfaction Survey asked 2,000 SME workers about a range of topics - and highlights areas staff wish employers would improve.
Tom Connor, Director at Drewberry has shared their key findings from the survey, plus insights on some of the most in-demand employee benefits.
By Tom Connor of Drewberry
Survey highlights: what employers should know
The survey covered areas employers should be considering, especially during these strange and unusual times. These areas included:
- Employee stress levels - 58.3% of workers admitted to regularly feeling stressed.
- The causes of stress - 61.7% of employees were stressed about work, 52% about money and 38.5% by their mental health. The percentage of employees stressed by mental health saw the biggest rise.
- Home working, mental health and productivity - 39.3% of workers said their mental health had improved since working remotely, while 49.7% said they'd become more productive since working from home.
- What workers want from a post-pandemic future - for 2021 and beyond, the most important factors for workers seeking a new job were salary and working hours. Job security is now the fifth most important factor, up from seventh in 2019.
How employers can help
It goes without saying that 2020 was a stressful year. The pandemic, lockdowns, furloughed employees and a faltering economy made for truly uncertain times.
Perhaps it's therefore not surprising that almost 3 in 5 employees said they regularly felt stressed.
Stress is a mental health condition itself; it can also cause further mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. Stress can also manifest physically, lowering the immune system and reducing sleep. It's therefore important for employers to tackle it, not only for employee wellbeing but also because it impacts productivity and a company's profitability.
But how can employers help?
The benefits of benefits
One way employers can make a difference is by introducing employee benefits, particularly those that are most popular with their employees.
Drewberry's survey found some of the most popular benefits workers wanted were:
- Group Health Insurance (35.3%)
- Death in Service Insurance (33%)
- Group Critical Illness Cover (30.7%)
The percentage of workers wanting Group Critical Illness Cover experienced a percentage rate rise of 28% - the biggest increase for any benefit.
Nadeem Farid, Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry, says: "The additional services insurers offer free with their policies mean employee benefits today go far beyond ‘just’ insurance. For example, many Group Life plans offer staff remote GP services and telephone counselling, which can help reduce stress.
“Meanwhile, Group Income Protection offers employers services too, such as absence management programmes. These support a business when employees are off sick. At the same time, they also help speed employees return to work where possible with access to physiotherapy or counselling.”
Covid-19 accelerated remote working: is it the future?
Another area the survey examines is the huge shift to home working due to the pandemic.
Employee feelings about this are mixed. 39.3% of workers said their mental health had improved since working from home; however, for 21.9% of staff it had worsened. Of the employees whose mental health had declined since working remotely, 69.7% put it down to a lack of social interaction, while 63.3% felt isolated.
Despite the impact of home working on workers' mental health appearing mixed, it doesn't seem to have dented productivity. 49.7% of workers felt either more productive or far more productive at home, with a further 36.1% saying their productivity stayed the same.
Of course, remote working hasn't been without challenges. The main difficulties faced while working remotely are:
- Feeling less connected to colleagues / the organisation (37.1%)
- Difficulties communicating with colleagues (33.9%)
- Distractions from family (32.3%)
This is perhaps why, on the surface, workers seem fairly keen to return to the office. 45.7% of workers were either very keen or fairly keen to do so - yet not on the same terms as before.
Just 13.5% of workers wanted to return to a 5-day week in the office, The main preference was for 3 days in the office and 2 days at home. Clearly, employers will have to consider hybrid working event after the pandemic ends.
Tom Connery is Director at Brighton-based insurance and wealth management firm Drewberry. They advise on Income Protection, Life Insurance, Critical Illness Cover, pensions, investments, business protection and employee benefits. Its brand new Employee Benefits and Workplace Satisfaction Survey questioned 2,000 SME workers. See the full results of the survey on Drewberry's website here.
For questions or further information, contact Michael Englefield, Drewberry's Head of Content.
If you want to contribute to the Chamber blog, contact us on email@example.com