Nearly half of the employers in Europe participating in the Great Place to Work survey (“Stress and Wellbeing at Work: A European Outlook”) see stress as the key issue in their organisations and 65% of them confirm that health and wellbeing of employees have become a strategic priority. Unfortunately, the pandemic exacerbated the problems related to stress management and significantly reduced the level of employee wellbeing. On the World Wellbeing Day (celebrated on September 8) it is worth paying attention to activities that provide employees with real support, a sense of value of work and influence on its course as well as appropriate support in psychophysical health.
– During the pandemic, when we combined remote work with household duties, we often looked for solutions that would facilitate our functioning. Takeaway meals, quick snacks and eating more due to pandemic stress have reduced the number of health-promoting behaviours and caused a significant increase in weight for many of us. According to research, we have gained 5.7 kilograms on average. If we are not able to mobilise ourselves to take care of our health, including proper nutrition and activity, the employer’s support may be an additional source of motivation for us – explains Mateusz Banaszkiewicz, health psychologist and lecturer at the SWPS University.
The results of the MultiSport Index survey on the impact of physical activity on motivation and efficiency at work clearly show that lowering the priority for activities in this area in a company may not only lead to a decrease in employees’ productivity but also to the loss of the employer’s good image. This is what companies are already afraid of. According to the “Global Wellbeing Survey 2021” by AON, 50% of them treat employee engagement as an important indicator of their business evaluation. However, the "transaction" is mutual, so employees expect the same commitment from employers. In the MultiSport Index survey as many as 60% of the surveyed employees confirmed that they expect employers to increase their commitment in supporting the health and physical activity of the staff. This opinion is most often expressed by people working in medium-sized companies employing between 50 and 250 people. What is the reason for that? – It is certainly the growing awareness of a healthy lifestyle as well as its positive impact on mental health. As many as 41% of Poles who exercise believe that physical activity reduces stress associated with the pandemic. In turn, according to the Global Wellbeing Survey 2021, since the beginning of the pandemic many employees have experienced mental health problems, including a drop in productivity. As many as 42% of employees have experienced a deterioration in mental health, 28% have problems with concentration at work, 20% need more time to fulfil their professional duties and 15% experience problems with reasoning and making decisions. In addition, our concerns about health, lifestyle changes or the unpredictability of the current situation have remained dangerously high for many months. Since we know that for many of us good health is a reason for happiness and the thought of losing it causes anxiety in us, it is worth taking pro-health measures. The more that each of us can introduce activities that will strengthen our physical and mental health into our daily routine. In this way we will gain a sense of control over the situation – we do something useful that strengthens our psychophysical immunity. It can be sport which is one of the basic elements of prevention and a factor in improving mood. We can also take advantage of meditation or relaxation which will also help us to experience everything in a healthier manner or soothe difficult emotions – adds Mateusz Banaszkiewicz.
Comprehensive approach to wellbeing
Currently, employers are looking for solutions that respond to their teams’ new expectations related to psychophysical health. Non-financial benefits connected with broadly understood physical activity and a healthy lifestyle come to the rescue. According to many employers, they are both an effective form of motivation and a solution supporting the wellbeing of employees. – Organisations have changed, as have our lifestyles, needs and expectations as well as the ways we function in a world full of restrictions. In this new reality comprehensive support for working parents, singles, people in pre-retirement age or people starting their professional careers requires a broader approach than just providing insurance or subsidising holidays. Our analyses show that there is a need for flexible and always available solutions both for employees who are extremely active as well as those who avoid overtime at the gym. Stress-reducing courses and workshops at home as well as professional psychological support as part of therapy are important. There are more and more needs, which is why employers count on customised non-financial benefits. These solutions must be tailored to the individual while being attractive to all, flexible and available anywhere – explains Emilia Rogalewicz, Management Board Member at Benefit Systems.
Health is the most important benefit
The very investment in solutions supporting an active lifestyle brings benefits. According to the MultiSport Index report, among employees who use this type of benefits the level of physical activity is as high as 76%, which is by 13% better compared with the population average (63%). In addition, surveys conducted among the MultiSport Programme users confirm that thanks to the card 78% of employees train more often and 68% use new forms of training.
– Two decades ago, many considered the introduction of MultiSport cards to the market a whim and a solution dedicated exclusively to employees of international companies. Over time, however, our programme has become the most desired benefit and a key addition to the salary. We have worked intensively for this over the years, promoting activity, educating employers and employees. Currently, the market absorbs new solutions faster, for example due to changes and new needs that arose during the pandemic. Therefore, last year, despite the lockdown and numerous challenges related to remote work, we started working on the MultiLife Programme that will provide employees with comprehensive support in various areas of their lives, according to their individual needs. We do not impose anything. We show the possibilities and support using them – adds Emilia Rogalewicz.
According to the Health Capital survey, already two out of five decision-makers in Polish companies believe that promoting physical activity as well as building their physical and mental resilience will be a key activity supporting the health of employees in the future. According to 56% of people managing companies in Poland, the increase in employee satisfaction is currently the greatest advantage resulting from offering benefits in their companies. The following places are occupied by image-related benefits (44%), increased efficiency of the entire organisation (40%) and individual teams (36%). Every one in ten decision-makers providing pro-health benefits, including those supporting physical activity, meaning sports cards, notices a long-term improvement in the health of employees.