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Half of manufacturers increase spending on wellbeing

COVID-19 has led to more investment in health and wellbeing support by manufacturing companies despite the pandemic’s impact on budgets, according to research by Make UK.

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Make UK’s Health and Wellbeing 2021 paper shows that more and more manufacturers are recognising the importance of looking after mental wellbeing if they want to keep hold of, and attract, skilled staff.

Recent research found that more than a third of UK manufacturers have seen an employee leave because of a lack of mental wellbeing support on offer.

According to Make UK’s report, physical illness remains the most common reason for long-term employee absence. However, an increasing number of manufacturers are citing mental health and stress as a common reason for short-term and long-term absences.

In total, 50 per cent of companies surveyed by Make UK said they had increased their spending on health and wellbeing support since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a further 45 per cent maintaining investment levels despite the financial strain over the last year. Nearly a quarter of companies now also have a senior manager responsible for mental health.

Tips for a happy, healthy workforce

The most popular measure invested in is third party mental health advice (57 per cent), following by line manager training (55 per cent), mental health apps for staff (30 per cent), in-house mental health support (35 per cent) and peer-to-peer support groups (24 per cent). 

Engagement with staff also increased during the pandemic, with 46 per cent of manufacturers having regular support calls with workers. More than a quarter (27 per cent) have also put on staff events to keep employees engaged and maintain a sense of togetherness.

Using compassion in manufacturing

As a result of investing in health and wellbeing, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of manufacturers said their productivity has increased, while 24 per cent reported increased staff retention and 21 per cent saw a drop in the number of days lost to absence.

The report also provides some helpful definitions when talking about mental health with staff and top tips for getting started with mental health support without a dedicated budget.

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