What’s missing from your wellness program?

Research from a major life insurer shows employers and employees are on different pages when it comes to workplace wellness programs.

The MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study, based on the attitudes of 300 Australian company managers and over 500 Australian full-time employees, found that employers tend to underestimate their employees’ concern with their emotional wellbeing and overall mental health, focusing their benefits programs on their employees’ physical health.

When asked what the greatest health fears for their staff were, employers were most likely to say cardiovascular disease (43 per cent) and high blood pressure (40 per cent). They also ranked their employees’ medical problems (88 per cent) over their emotional health (69 per cent) and lifestyle issues (62 per cent).

But employees are actually less concerned with medical problems and more concerned with their emotional health and lifestyle than employers predict. 

In fact, 84 per cent of Australian workers worry about their emotional wellbeing, compared with 70 per cent that are concerned with medical issues. However, as employees get older, they become increasingly concerned with cancer and report lower levels of depression and anxiety.

Straight Up PR founder and managing director Hannah O’Donnell says companies have a huge role to play in the wellbeing of their employees, but it needs to come from the top down. 

“I do think though that they have started to make some headway here and there are a lot more corporates offering wellbeing programs internally and also bringing in experts to help motivate and inspire their teams – this is a space we will only continue to see big growth in,” Ms O’Donnell told Wellness Daily. 

“I believe that they’ve realised that if they don’t answer the wellbeing needs of their staff then they will leave and go for another business that will – as individuals and as corporates we’ve all realised the importance of putting our wellbeing first and understand that if this is in check then our work will only be better too – corporates can’t afford to ignore this fact.”

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