A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies conducted by bucks consultants, found that 72% of UK respondents are very concerned about the effect of stress on their workforce. These findings on stress, however, are lower than the results for 2009.

Lack of physical activity and poor nutritional habits immediately follow stress as the most important concerns for UK participants when thinking about their employees’ health (60% and 58% respectively).

Of the 1,200 organisations surveyed, 63% highlighted an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) as one of the most common tools for stress management within their organisation. Although workplace wellness programmes were found to be growing in popularity, initiatives measuring the effectiveness of these programmes remains low.

The top objectives for implementing a UK workplace wellness strategy remain the same as those in 2009: improving productivity and reducing absence. The survey also revealed a significant increase in the importance placed by participants on the need to comply with legislation, further organisational values and increase corporate social responsibility activities.

Given the focus on smoking cessation in recent years, the results also showed that smoking is seen as a much less important health risk for participants, but substance abuse has become a bigger issue, with 55% of respondents saying that this was a concern.

Mike Tyler, UK managing director, Health & Productivity at Buck Consultants, said: “Workforce stress levels are at the forefront of UK employers’ minds. At the same time, we see a rise in employers’ recognition of the benefits of a workplace wellness strategy and their increasing appetite to implement one.

“We see room for improvement in measuring the effectiveness of a wellness strategy in order to identify the particular challenges each employer will face. Organisations that measure the impact of their workplace wellness strategy are more successful at improving their employees’ health, thereby impacting productivity, absence and engagement. However, we recognise that many employers simply don’t know how to measure their results or they don’t have the resources to do so.”