Personal Group, the technology-enabled employee services business, has today unveiled research which shows significant demand amongst UK employees for employee benefits that improve or sustain a healthy lifestyle.

For example, more than 40% of employees surveyed want health insurance to be added to their workplace benefits programme; more than a third (34%) would like their employer to introduce discounted gym memberships,and more than one in four (28%) want to have access to rewards linked to physical activity. In addition, almost a quarter (24%) want physical health-based incentives, such as interdepartmental step challenges or competitions added to their company-wide benefits programme.

Surprisingly, despite warnings from experts and recommendations from Public Health England for employees to stand or move for at least two hours during the working day, the data shows that 70% of those surveyed who sit down to work only get up from their desk or workstation every hour at best, whilst a whopping 38% only move every two hours or more. Furthermore, a large proportion of employees eat at their desk or workstation on a regular basis (32%) and the majority choose to drive to work (60%) over walking (15%) or cycling (3.5%). All this demonstrates that despite the increased risks of developing cardiovascular and lifestyle-related diseases, a large number of employees continue to live a relatively sedentary lifestyle during their working day.

That said, the data from Personal Group shows that many employees recognise this and are keen for their employers to support them to reduce this physical inactivity in 2019.

Other highlights include:

  • Three in ten people are happy for their employers to have access to their health stats if they are offered physical health employee benefits
  • Respondents aged 45-54 were the most reticent about employers having access to their health data with 45% stating they don’t think that employers should be allowed access to their health data;
  • More men than women think that employers should be able to access their health stats if they offer physical health-based incentives (40% of men compared to 24% of women);
  • The men surveyed are more enthusiastic about the idea of a Cycle to Work scheme (15% compared to 8%women) and a video doctor service (13% compared to 9%), whereas women seem to prefer the idea of physical health-based incentives such as step challenges to their male counterparts (28% of women compared to 19% of men);
  • Over half of all age groups, apart from 18-24 year olds, drive to work most days;
  • The most popular benefit 18-24 year olds would like to see implemented is discounted gym membership, with over half (55%) wishing their employer offered this; and
  • The most desired benefit for those 35 and over is health insurance (42%).


Rebecca Tapping, Group HR Director at Personal Group commented: “Being active at work can be difficult. We can see from this research just how much of the UK’s workforce is neglecting physical wellbeing during the working day, and that many are in fact looking to their employers to support them in the area. Whether that’s through greater access to health benefits such as discounted gym membership or health insurance to interdepartmental challenges to get people moving and increase their workplace steps.

“It is surprising to see that so many people would be happy to share their personal health data if their employer provided physical health benefits, but it demonstrates a clear opportunity here for employers to help increase the wellbeing of their workforce, increase productivity and create an environment where people want to work.”

Personal Group surveyed 1,007 people in the UK. The survey ran from 19th November until 31st December 2018.