Wellbeing in the time of Covid

youdo research with Censuswide

Covid has changed the way we work, perhaps indefinitely. For many companies, remote working / working from home was a completely new concept when the first lockdown hit in March of 2020. For others, it was something that applied to a small minority of their workforce. Then all of a sudden, everyone needed to do it and businesses had to scramble to figure out how to make sense of this new operating paradigm. youdo’s mission is to realign our connection with each-other and with the planet and we wanted to better understand the impact that the shift to remote working has had on companies, and specifically attitudes towards employee wellbeing. To this end, youdo worked with Censuswide, a global research company, to create two surveys which we sent out in June, 2020 and January, 2022.

The focus of the 2020 survey was to try and understand at a high level how business leaders reacted to the challenge of remote working in the early stages of the pandemic; what tools / programmes were already in place, what new/different tools might companies need, were they willing to invest in them and what were the expected benefits? We surveyed 155 UK companies across a range of industries and company sizes (sole traders to 500+ employees), speaking to HR directors, business owners and C-level executives.

Over 70% of the companies surveyed intended to invest in one or more new tools to help employees stay connected. Expected benefits were higher productivity, recruitment & retention rates and rankings on Glassdoor(!). Of the 30% of companies who said they did not plan to invest, nearly half already had tools in place. But it’s interesting to note that this left around 7% of companies who said they didn’t think this was important / a priority.

Over 30% of companies surveyed had no mental programmes or initiatives in place at the time of the survey. Our (incorrect) assumption was that the majority of these respondents would be sole traders and small (1-9 employees) businesses but in fact they were companies with 100+ employees. The majority of respondents provided a company intranet with support materials and advisory services, with nearly half of companies also providing subscriptions to mental health / wellbeing services (e.g. Calm) and access to mental health professionals.

In terms of investment, nearly half of the companies surveyed said they weren’t planning to change (lower or raise) their investments in mental health and wellbeing initiatives as a result of C-19. However a significant proportion (~25%) of those companies were sole traders / small businesses.

The 2022 survey looked at how companies were implementing wellbeing strategies and what level of financial and resource investment this required. In this survey, we spoke to HR decision makers at 250 UK companies with over 100 employees.

A clear majority (+70%) of the companies surveyed outsource implementation and deployment of their wellbeing programmes to a third party service or technology provider. It was interesting to note that in spite of this, companies were still spending, on average, 45 days a year running wellbeing programmes (mean of 5 programmes per year and 9 days per programmes).

Average spend on wellbeing per employee was ~£165, with the largest segment spending £101-200 and the remainder equally split between £51-100 and £201-300. This budget was expected to cover the following aspects of wellbeing; mental, physical, financial and social.

The final question we asked was ‘How much more budget, if at all, would you require to support your employees wellbeing needs (%)?’ 4% of respondents said they wouldn’t require any more budget (well done those companies!) whilst 20% said they would need between 50-100% more budget(!). The majority of respondents were looking for between 5-50% additional budget with an average of a 33% increase across all respondents.

So what insights can we extract from the results? We believe the following to be the most interesting findings;

  • There are still a significant proportion of companies that have not invested in wellbeing since the pandemic and that do not have a wellbeing strategy in place

  • In spite of the above, the majority of respondents are spending between £100-300 per employee per year

  • There is a trend towards outsourcing wellbeing initiatives to 3rd party providers

  • On average companies are spending 45 days / year planning and implementing wellbeing programmes

Hope this was interesting, please get in touch via info@youdoplay.org if you'd like to discuss your wellbeing strategy. We'd love to hear from you!