The COVID-19 pandemic has improved awareness about health and wellbeing. It has also fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and how people work. GlobalData findings highlight that a healthy work-life balance is what consumers value the most as the UK embarks on the world’s biggest four-day week trial, with no loss of pay.
According to GlobalData’s 2021 UK Insurance Consumer Survey, 29.7% of consumers see an adequate work-life balance as the most important employee benefit. Employers also believe that work-life balance benefits are the most important to provide to employees, as cited by 28.9% of businesses participating in our 2021 UK SME Insurance Survey. Work-life balance benefits may include flexible working, enhanced maternity or paternity pay, and number of days of annual leave.
More than 3,300 workers across 70 companies in the UK will see their working days reduced to four for full-time pay. Employees will be expected to fulfil their previous responsibilities in the reduced timescale in a pilot that will last six months.
A four-day working week for full-time pay is not a new concept. In recent years, trials have been carried out around the world. Advancements in technology were already transforming the way we work, creating the prospect of higher unemployment. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has accelerated the changes that were underway. The pandemic has shone a light on employee wellbeing, flexibility, and shifting values as individuals spent more time at home during lockdowns. Now more than ever, businesses are recognising the need to improve wellbeing support offered to employees.
Offering benefits to improve an employee’s mental and physical wellbeing goes beyond the provision of a healthy work-life balance. Employee benefits packages may comprise private health insurance, life insurance, dental plans, and employee assistance programs. Since the start of the pandemic, insurers have revamped their products, enhancing their wellness solutions to resonate more with customers.