Following on from the announcement that stress has become the top health and safety concern in the workplace on National Stress Awareness day, UK job network City Calling reveals how companies are tackling this issue with ‘soft benefits’ aimed countering rising stress levels.
Today see’s the nation engaging in National Stress Awareness day, a campaign to teach people how to combat stress and live a healthy lifestyle.
Replacing a traditional benefits package, companies are offering perks that improve employee wellbeing, such as nap pods, meditation classes and time off to volunteer for good causes.
This forward thinking mentality shows just how far businesses have come when looking after their employees.
To show how times have changed, City Calling has compared a typical employee benefits programme from 1960 with the most popular soft benefits listed on its site today.
Cars vs trains
Companies used to offer schemes that allowed employees to pay into a company car. Growing awareness of global warming and rising oil prices quickly made this a less viable option. Companies now offer season ticket loans on train services. Train ticket sales have risen by more than 2 per cent in the last year but employees often can’t afford the upfront cost of a season ticket. A loan scheme makes this option more affordable.
Take a nap
Businesses used to encourage staff to take voluntary leave to offset the day-to-day stresses of work. More companies are now letting staff take 20 minute naps in special nap pods to recharge the body and mind.
Paid holiday has always been a perk to employees but staff often complain that they struggle to simply get out of bed after a long week in the middle of winter. Many businesses now let staff take ‘duvet days’ which are essentially short notice leave for those that need those extra few hours in bed.
Companies used to encourage employees to take a walk halfway through the day to keep the muscles active, businesses now offer subsidised gym memberships and time off work to keep active.
Paul David Munnelly, City Calling’s CEO, says, ‘With today’s unpredictable economic climate and our digitally connected, always-on mindset, stress in the workplace is a serious issue.
‘In response to this, we have seen a notable rise in ‘soft benefits’ specifically designed to counter stress; perks such as duvet days, early finish Fridays and flexible working hours are increasingly valued over traditional benefits like healthcare.’