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Employers more concerned than ever about employee health and wellbeing

Published: 14 October 2021

A new report from Public Health Wales highlights the increasing concerns that employers have for their employees’ both mental and physical health and wellbeing, following the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Employer research undertaken by the Healthy Working Wales team at Public Health Wales between March and May 2021 identified that 73 per cent of employers stated poor mental health and wellbeing had become a bigger issue for employees and employers are more concerned than ever about their role in supporting and managing this.  

Employers also expressed concern about a perceived increase in physical health issues among their staff, particularly musculoskeletal disorders, and an increase in unhealthy behaviours such as alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits leading to weight gain. All of these are risk factors for chronic health conditions developing over time. 

Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Employer Innovation and Best Practice’ focuses on the impact of Coronavirus on the workforce in Wales and how employers have responded to the demands of the pandemic. This includes a series of case studies demonstrating how Healthy Working Wales award holders have embedded new ways of working to best support their workforce. 

Mary-Ann McKibben, Consultant in Public Health at Public Health Wales, said:  

“Many employers have taken innovative action to respond to the pandemic, flexing to find ways to best support their workforce. This demonstrates that, with the right guidance and support, employers can emerge from the pandemic having embedded new ways of working that promote health and wellbeing, making them better able to deal with future challenges. 

“Healthy Working Wales will continue to play a vital role in supporting employers to promote, protect and enhance their employees’ wellbeing in a post-pandemic world. This includes tailoring approaches to sectors and size of organisations, and equipping employers with the skills, knowledge and resources to understand and best support the wellbeing needs of their workforce.” 

Llinos Gutierrez-Jones, Human Resources Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who won a Healthy Working Wales Platinum Corporate Health Standard Award winners, said: 

"We are delighted to have been awarded the Platinum Standard which demonstrates our commitment to support not only our staff, but also other employers and our local community.  

“We have worked hard to ensure that sustainable development is an integral part of our business practice with a number of noteworthy initiatives involving achieving energy and fuel efficiencies across our service area, and we continue to work to achieve a better quality of life for our own and future generations. 

"It was pleasing to receive such favourable feedback from the Public Health Wales Assessor, confirming our belief that the issue of sustainability is one that is comprehensively considered by our organisation.” 

Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government are holding a commendations event on 8 December to celebrate the adaptations and innovations Welsh employers have implemented during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Entries are currently open in a range of categories including supporting staff mental and physical health and wellbeing and approaches to promoting inclusive, diverse workplaces as well as contributions to sustainable business.  To find out more about submitting an entry or registering for the event visit the Healthy Working Wales Commendation Event website