Press releases

Almost half of workers willing to share their health data in exchange for improved wellbeing support

4 June 2021

  • Deloitte’s 'UK workers: a year in the pandemic' research of 1,248 UK workers aged 16-75 reveals workers’ attitudes towards sharing their personal health information with employers;
  • Deloitte’s research finds that 46% of workers would share their personal health data in order to improve their wellbeing at work, but 49% say that this information is none of their employer’s business;
  • Overall, 53% of workers think that wellbeing has become more of a priority for their employer over the past year, but older workers are the least likely to find their organisation’s current approach to wellbeing helpful.

Almost half (46%) of workers across the UK would share their personal health data so that their employer could improve their wellbeing at work, according to new research from Deloitte.

The findings, based on responses from 1,248 UK workers across a number of industries, found that one in four (26%) employees would be comfortable for their employer to monitor their personal health data in order to provide improved wellbeing support.

Meanwhile, one in three (33%) workers say that monitoring employee health data collected from devices is acceptable, with 37% agreeing that monitoring health data collected from devices would prove their employer was committed to improving workplace wellbeing.

Additionally, 36% of workers are in favour of sharing data on their stress levels with their employers, while the same proportion (36%) would be willing to provide data on their physical health.

Will Gosling, human capital consulting leader at Deloitte, said: “At a time when a large proportion of UK workers would like to continue to spend most of their working week at home, there is a risk that those struggling with their mental or physical health will go without the help that they need. But out of sight should not mean out of mind and in some instances collecting data can be an effective way to ensure that employee wellbeing is being supported. However, employers should refrain from taking decisions that force employees to share this information. Where data is collected, employers must clearly communicate when they are collecting data, how it will be used and provide workers with the opportunity to opt in to these support programmes.”

Many employees are uncomfortable with the prospect of sharing their health data with their employer. Half (49%) of workers say that their personal health data is none of their employer’s business and 46% say they don’t think their organisation should be able to monitor their personal health data, even if this enables them to offer improved wellbeing support.

Despite this, overall just one in five (21%) say they do not trust their organisation to use their personal health data responsibly.

Ivana Bertoletti, technical director of privacy and ethics at Deloitte, added: “It’s clear that some workers will remain reluctant to share their personal data, even if this means that they forgo personalised wellbeing support. Employers must make sure they are transparent and fair with the way personal data of employees is handled. Most importantly, no employee should feel left behind if they are uncomfortable sharing their personal data.”

Older workers less likely to find support in workplace wellbeing initiatives

More than half (53%) of workers think that wellbeing has become more of a priority for their employer over the past year, with 27% saying their employer has taken significant action to ensure their workers’ wellbeing in supported.

Deloitte’s research however highlights that wellbeing plans do not seem to reach all employees equally. While 82% of workers aged 16-24 say that they find their employer’s approach to wellbeing helpful, just 63% of workers aged 55-75 say the same.

Meanwhile, 14% say that their employer does not have a wellbeing plan, rising to 23% of workers earning below £20,000 a year.

Gosling concludes: “It's positive that the majority of workers have received increased wellbeing support over the 12-months, but it's clear that more must be done to support older workers and those on lower incomes. Wellbeing support has moved from a nice-to-have to a must have, with progressive organisations now building wellbeing into job roles. It’s now likely that when looking for new positions many workers will consider an organisation’s wellbeing programmes alongside other schemes, such as flexible working policies and bonus offerings.”

Deloitte recently launched two new apps to support the firm’s workforce in the UK. My Wellbeing, an app developed by Deloitte Digital specifically for Deloitte’s people, directs employees to resources, networks, communities and events that support a healthy work life balance. The firm has also provided its workforce, of more than 20,000 people in the UK, with access to Headspace which offers content and support on mindfulness and meditation techniques.

-Ends-

Notes to the editor

Research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Deloitte LLP. It screened a nationally representative quota sample of 1,248 UK workers aged 16-75, using its Online Omnibus. Fieldwork took place between 19th and 21st March 2021.

This is a follow-up research to “The impact of COVID-19 on productivity and wellbeing” published in June 2020 and “Mobile readiness for work” published in September 2018.

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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