What’s under your umbrella?
Here’s an interesting statistic. There are over 5 million self-employed people in the UK*. Of course, this figure includes people like hairdressers, plumbers, and other services to the residential market. But it also covers contracted commercial staff, whether directly engaged or employed through an umbrella company.
The issue of contractor management has come to the forefront in recent years, as the employment landscape has shifted, and many organisations have come to rely on contracted staff. Contractors are widely used in industries such as technology and engineering that are heavily project-based, and many more organisations outsource non-core functions to contractors.
It’s no wonder that the last decade has seen umbrella companies flourish, as employees seek the flexibility of contract work but crave the security net of state benefits and financial management.
The importance of wellness
Moving to another issue that tops many companies’ agenda is the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Indeed, ‘wellness’ is one of the fastest-growing markets globally, worth a staggering $4.5 trillion, and the evidence supporting the belief that workplace schemes positively influence employees’ health and wellbeing is mounting. And with COVID adding to the mental pressures of insecurity and isolation, it’s never been more important.
Whilst many companies offer wellness services to their directly employed staff, contracted staff often miss out. Numerous surveys show that contractors are feeling more isolated and disconnected during the pandemic, partly because they feel they do not have access to the same sort of support offered to permanent employees.
How often are these two areas brought together?
If organisations value their contracted staff, their wellbeing will be of equal importance as their permanently employed team. The reality is often that contract workers are made to feel that they are not appreciated in the same way. One way to address this is to include contractors in a strategy that helps to maintain a culture of wellbeing. This will not only contribute towards keeping them healthy and productive but will ensure they do not feel like second class workers and keep them engaged with your brand.
The challenge for umbrella companies, of course, is that you may not be set up to provide such benefits directly. If that’s the case, it makes sense to look for a trusted partner who can deliver wellbeing benefits to your contractors on your behalf.
Remus Rewards takes the subject of mental health very seriously. We provide a wide range of tools for umbrella companies, available on our platform, that promote various areas of wellbeing.
These include support for personal health such as an always-available GP helpline with online face to face consultations, free eye tests, online fitness videos and discounted gym membership.
Relieving the stress of financial worries is also addressed, with access to free credit reports, specialist contractor mortgages, financial planning services, zero commission foreign currency purchase and a health cash plan. Stress and anxiety can be helped with our online mindfulness course.
Full details can be found here.
With an estimated 15% of UK freelancers and contractors now using umbrella companies** competition is greater than ever. It makes both sound financial and ethical sense to offer services such as these, that ensure your contractor base is healthy and productive.
Do you currently offer wellness benefits through your umbrella organisation? If so, has it had a positive effect on your business? Let us know your thoughts below.