Reducing employee stress with employee benefits

As we approach the end of Stress Awareness Month, it’s important for businesses and HR to remember the importance of reducing employee stress continually beyond April.

Employee health and wellbeing has been a key priority for HR over the last year. Mental health in particular has been under the spotlight and managing stress effectively is a vital part of any business’ strategy when it comes to managing employee health and wellbeing.

Spotting the signs of stress has been made even more difficult with social distancing restrictions and many businesses working remotely, making health and wellbeing employee benefits even more important.

Having a comprehensive package of health and wellbeing benefits in place, along with good employer-employee communication on the topic of mental health, sends a strong message to employees and job candidates that the company is taking employee health and wellbeing, including stress, seriously.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

The Employee Assistance Programme is a 24/7, fully confidential helpline specifically dedicated to supporting your staff with any kind of mental health challenges they face, including stress.

With any mental health challenge, a vital step to overcoming the challenge is speaking to someone.

Speaking to anyone in confidence, whether it be a family member or even a colleague at work can really help.

The EAP, however, gives employees the chance to speak confidentially with a qualified professional about their challenges.

This can be a vital support channel for anyone experiencing stress, helping them better understand stress, how to manage it and ultimately how to overcome it.

Through the pandemic, the EAP has been vital in supporting employees with the various mental health challenges the effects of COVID-19 have thrown their way.

For businesses, not only implementing the EAP employee benefit but communicating with staff and encouraging the use of the benefit is crucial and can be a key driver in alleviating employee stress.

The EAP is quick, easily accessible, and free for employees and is completely confidential and available 24/7 too.

The Gym Scheme and the Bike to Work Scheme

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in helping deal with many mental health challenges, including stress.

However, stress itself can be a barrier to exercise, along with finding the time to exercise and affording a gym membership.

Making exercise a habit is much easier when the exercise itself is fun and engaging. Virtually anyone can go out for a long walk or a run or even do a home workout, but things like cycling and using the gym or health clubs can be a little less accessible.

Making more forms of exercise more easily accessible can give employees a helping hand in making exercise a habit and thus helping to reduce stress.

Both the Gym Scheme and the Bike to Work Scheme help make the Gym, Health Clubs, and cycling more affordable and easily accessible.

The Gym Scheme gives employees discounts on their Gym or Health Club memberships which can really add up over time, while employees can save up to 42% on the cost of a brand-new bike and accessories through the Bike to Work Scheme.

Employee benefits can help not only encourage regular exercise but make it more accessible too, helping reduce, avoid or alleviate stress.

The Health Cash Plan and Private Medical Insurance

The strain on the NHS through the pandemic has caused an ever-increasing waiting list for operations and medical procedures, while routine healthcare has been voluntarily delayed by patients due to restrictions and other priorities.

The longer the waiting lists become, and the more routine healthcare is delayed, the more stress these are likely to cause.

When tackling employee stress, it’s important to consider both physical and mental health as well as the key things that are causing your employees stress.

The Health Cash Plan and Private Medical Insurance (PMI) can help.

With the Health Cash Plan, employees save on routine healthcare while Private Medical Insurance gives employees access to private healthcare helping them avoid waiting times.

So, whether it’s a routine dental check-up or major surgery, health and wellbeing employee benefits like these can really support your employees in reducing the healthcare burden and the stress it can cause.

Financial wellbeing

Whether your employees have been hit hard financially over last year or not, everyone has certainly become more aware of their financial situation and how it can affect them going forward.

Worries around finances have certainly been heightened during the pandemic and could be one of the main causes of any stress among your employees.

Whether it’s planning for retirement, alleviating debt, saving or investing, there are financial wellbeing employee benefits that can help.

The financial planning employee benefit gives employees access to a team of expert financial advisers located throughout the UK, while Workplace ISA’s give employees access to savings and investment options they won’t find on the high street.

Anything that helps create more certainty and stability over your employees’ finances will help to reduce financial-related stress.

The general uncertainty around the pandemic has been one of the major causes of worry and anything that helps add more certainty to the lives of your employees will go a long way in helping reduce stress.

There are many ways to tackle stress and thankfully there are a number of employee benefits out there that can help.

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Employee benefits also have the added benefit of enhancing your employee experience, helping make your employees’ paycheques go further, and generally improving the lives of your employees.

At caboodle, we help you build your ideal employee benefits package through our market-leading employee benefits platform Salary Extras. Head over to our website to find out more or get in touch for a free demo.