Health demand

Employee demand for health support up 70 per cent in lockdown three.

Latest figures released by the company behind digital health and wellbeing app Engage shows growing demand amongst UK employees for GP services and carer support and advice during each of the UK’s three lockdowns. Since October 2020, the Engage app has had an average 200,000 user sessions, according to analysis by its developers and providers HIVE360, an employee benefits and outsourced payroll specialist.

Amongst the most startling statistics are a 70 per cent jump in demand for the app’s personal doctor service during the third lockdown when compared to user numbers in lockdown two, as well as a 39 per cent rise in users accessing carer advice and support.

HIVE360, which operates extensively in the GLAA and industrial recruitment sectors, has seen usage and take-up of Engage soar since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first week of lockdown in March 2020, Engage had an unprecedented 273 per cent increase in demand for its mental health support services.

David McCormack, HIVE360 CEO, says: “User numbers of our employee digital health and wellbeing app have shown sustained growth over the last 12-months, significantly recording an average of around 200,000 monthly user sessions since October 2020.

“With huge swathes of the UK’s working population combining full- or part-time work with caring for an unwell or disabled loved one, as well as home-schooling children throughout the lockdowns, the demands and pressures on this so-called ‘sandwich’ generation that is looking after both young children and elderly relatives is at an unprecedented level.”

McCormack added: “Perhaps it is unsurprising therefore that, the Engage app’s health section has recorded such huge jumps in demand. The number of people using its health, wellbeing and fitness advice has risen by as much as 300 per cent since March last year. We have also recorded peaks in users that coincide with government announcements on changes to the COVID-19 restrictions – for instance, this was up by 265 per cent between October and November 2020, and 850 users visited the mental health support features in December 2020 when the new COVID-19 variant came to light and Christmas ‘bubbles’ were cancelled.”

Analysis of the user data for the third lockdown suggest that UK workers are beginning to feel the strain and proactively seeking out support to manage their mental and physical health and wellbeing. The growing dependence on working online and fully digital has triggered a rise in employee stress, with a syndrome ‘technostress’ – which leads to anxiety, burnout and depression – topping the list of mental health issues.

“Even as we begin to embark on the roadmap out of lockdown, employers must aim to proactively offer a variety of benefits that will help foster wellbeing, provide welfare support, and counter the onset of issues such as technostress,” says McCormack. “Using a dedicated engagement portal certainly enables staff to access lifestyle benefits, health advice and support, confidentially, securely and 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”

HIVE360’s mobile, customisable engagement app and platform give employees access to a range of benefits and services, from a personal doctor, personal support helpline and care support, to gym memberships and high-street, lifestyle, dining and insurance discounts, along with access to their digital payslips and a real-time workplace pension dashboard.

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