After a period of seasonal excess, the new year provides a perfect opportunity to hit the reset button and make a fresh start.

It’s a time when plenty of promises and plans are made, many of which are related to improving our health, wellbeing and fitness.

With this in mind, many companies will be thinking about current healthcare benefits available to employees as well as plans for the future. Here, we look at some of the key areas that employers are focusing on in 2024 when it comes to supporting the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

1. Tackling stress and burnout

Experiencing a degree of stress at work is normal, but at a certain level it can be problematic for both employee and employer. Experiencing elevated levels of stress for prolonged periods can be a trigger for declining mental and physical health. This can potentially lead to absence from the workplace, which has a corresponding impact on the productivity of the organisation.

The State of the Global Workforce report compiled by Gallup reveals that worker stress has stayed at record highs since the pandemic, with more than two-fifths of employees saying that they experienced a lot of stress the previous day.

Employers have the potential to support stressed employees on two fronts. Firstly, the provision of healthcare benefits such as counselling or mental health services can help tackle the adverse impacts of stress. Secondly, there is potential to shape a culture that promotes healthy working practices while avoiding the behaviours that can be a trigger for stress.

These two approaches are likely to be increasing areas of focus among employers in 2024, with 82% of respondents to one survey agreeing it’s their responsibility to create work conditions that are beneficial to mental health.

2. Facilitating access to convenient healthcare

Demand for private healthcare has only grown stronger in recent years as the pressures facing the NHS have resulted in continued treatment delays. With no signs of this trend easing in 2024, private medical insurance remains a valued employee benefit. Indeed, a reported 51% of the UK workforce are seeking access to private healthcare via their workplace.

While there are various benefits that make private healthcare desirable for employees, a key aspect is being able to access virtual GP appointments. This plays into both the increased acceptance of digital healthcare services in the wake of the pandemic and increasing frustration around being able to quickly access a GP appointment when needed.

For employers, the provision of private medical insurance can, therefore, deliver against the demands of prospective employees while also helping maintain the wellbeing of the existing workforce.

3. Helping individuals achieve work-life balance

From meeting everyday living costs to fulfilling caring obligations, employees can face a range of difficult demands on their time and money outside of work. These circumstances are not necessarily understood and addressed by employers, however, with a study in the US revealing that only 29% of employees felt they were offered benefits that aligned with their lifestyle.

In recent years, more sympathetic employers have looked to make changes in a bid to satisfy the requirements of their workforce. This can be seen in the provision of flexible working (which workers now have the right to request from day one) as an invaluable means of easing the pressure on stretched employees. The availability of targeted subsidies can also provide precious financial assistance in areas such as childcare.

Given that an estimated four million people have changed careers because of a lack of flexible working options alone, addressing such issues will only continue to play an important role in retaining valued workers.

4. Taking a personal approach

While benefits such as private medical insurance and flexible working are likely to have universal appeal, employers are also becoming increasingly sensitive to the importance of taking a personal approach to the health and wellbeing of their workers.

Whether helping to understand and empower neurodiverse individuals or providing support in areas such as menopause and fertility, companies are going beyond the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model with a view to creating an employer offering that appeals at an individual level.

As with any of the other strategies mentioned above, implementing such a change can add complexity for employers, but they also have the potential to be highly effective. The ultimate measure is when they are regarded less as a New Year trend and more as part of long-term efforts to sustain a happier, healthier workforce.


The information contained within this communication does not constitute financial advice and is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to such information. Vintage Health or any of its associated representatives shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the content of this communication.