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Rise in companies offering wellness benefits

The growing number of Brits out of work due to mental health conditions has prompted a surge in companies promoting wellness perks to new recruits.

Over the past 12 months job adverts referring to wellness subsidies, budgets or discounts rose 310%, while those mentioning employee counselling services doubled (up 95%), reveals research by social media recruitment platform Socially Recruited.

Many of the companies offering well-being bonuses were in the hospitality sector, including US restaurant chain Chipotle, which provides an online wellness hub that includes licensed counselling services for employees and their dependents.

Department store Harvey Nichols and food company 2 Sisters were among other businesses that advertised counselling services to staff.

Job adverts referring to a four-day week were also up 137% as employers seek to attract candidates seeking better work-life balance.

Long-term sickness, in particular mental health conditions, has been the biggest contributor to the rise in UK’s economic inactivity, with almost nine million adults neither working nor seeking work. NHS research also revealed that economically inactive and unemployed people were substantially more likely to have reported experiencing a common condition, like anxiety — the theme of next week’s Mental Health Awareness Week — than those in work.

In March’s Budget the Government pledged to invest in mental health services as part of a £406 million funding package to help people back into employment3.

Meanwhile, a recent study suggested that work-related stress was costing the UK economy £28 billion a year, with a fifth of adults describing themselves as “struggling” with mental health and nearly half of employees overwhelmed and uncertain about their future4.

Ben Keighley, founder of Socially Recruited, said:

“For many Brits, how they perform and are treated at work plays a substantial role in their mental well-being. It is vital that provision is in place, not only to support those already in employment, but also to attract the new workers and returnees needed to drive the economy forward.

“The emergence of recent employee trends such as ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘bare minimum Mondays’, particularly among younger generations, suggests a pushback against a culture where they can feel overworked and underappreciated.

“Delivering corporate wellness and mental health benefits is a positive move that will not only help individual workers but have a collective impact and likely pay dividends by engendering greater productivity and loyalty.

“It is important however, that these services become normalised within businesses and form part of a wider company approach to address mental health openly and without prejudice.

“Companies that practise well-being washing — delivering counselling with one hand but unreasonable expectations with the other — must adjust their approach or else risk being left behind by employees increasingly willing to vote with their feet.”

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