At a time when UK businesses have been turned upside down by Covid-19, many are looking to understand steps they can take to be more resilient during the crisis. One in four (24%) SMEs want advice about supporting their employee’s wellbeing, and 38% of medium sized businesses want to know what their duties as employers are to their staff.

The pandemic can make accessing support and services more difficult, and remote healthcare services can help employers during this difficult time. 

With this in mind, employee benefits provider Unum has enhanced its Help@hand health and wellbeing app by fully integrating their Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided by LifeWorks. The app which is powered by Square Health now provides employees and their families with fast, easy access to:

  • Employee Assistance Programme tools and services – including a 24/7 confidential helpline
  • Unlimited live video consultations with UK-based remote GPs 24/7 – including prescriptions and medications delivered directly to individuals where needed**Mental health support when it’s needed most
  • Personalised physiotherapy treatment
  • Medical second opinions with a consultant

These services could be especially key at a time when employees may be struggling emotionally, physically and financially without access to traditional workplace support networks. With significant pressure currently on the NHS, remote healthcare services such as Help@hand can help to play a vital and important role in providing access to necessary support. 

And, to support small businesses during this difficult time, Unum is offering free access to Help@hand for businesses with less than 100 employees from 1st May – 31st July, 2020 that have a Unum Critical Illness or Dental policy, including customers who hold one of these policies through Benni. Businesses with less than 100 employees that have a Unum Group Income Protection policy can also extend Help@hand to their uninsured employees free of charge from 1st May – 31st July, 2020 under this arrangement.

Demand for Help@hand has risen sharply in recent months, with over a 50% increase in employers registering for the service since the World Health Organisation announced a pandemic on 12th March.

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum UK commented: “Covid-19 is having a profound impact on British businesses. While the economic impacts are already being felt, we are only just beginning to appreciate the effect on employee wellbeing with repercussions on productivity likely to play out long after we’re back at work. Since launching Help@hand we have continually been looking for ways to improve the customer experience and support employers in consolidating their health and wellbeing offering in one place. That’s why we have taken the decision to expand our service to incorporate a range of legal and financial support services as well as lifestyle services so employees have access to a comprehensive support package wherever they are working. And as we appreciate that life is particularly tough for smaller businesses, we hope we can help alleviate some concerns around employee health and wellbeing by extending our offering with free access to Help@hand, available to many more Unum policy holders over the next three months of this difficult period.”

More than 45,000 employees currently have access to Unum’s Help@hand services.  Examples of conditions that people are using Help@hand’s remote GP service for include skin complaints, joint and muscular problems, children’s health and stress or anxiety.


Reference: Impact of coronavirus on UK SMEs (Opinium, 2020)

Bethany Wright
Article by Bethany Wright
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