The world changed one year ago. There is no question that COVID-19 has caused a major shift in the workplace and its effects will more than likely continue to be felt in the coming year. While trying to adjust to these changes and cope with the heightened uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, employees are looking for mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Considering the life-changing events of the past year, it can be argued that employee wellness will be the top workplace trend in the coming future.
In the past, workplace wellness was a luxury that some, but not all, employees received from their employers. Now, businesses and start-ups are now using health and wellness programs to improve employee productivity and support and bring awareness to the necessity of healthy employees. Improving the employee well-being program also increases engagement, morale, and keeps your workforce healthy, in turn reducing the number of sick days. Employees can use these programs as a means of managing work-related stress and striking a healthy work-life balance.
Workplace health and wellness trends to watch for
Post COVID-19, as businesses bring employees back to the workplace, personal health and health care will be in the front and center. Looking into the future, workplace wellness programs and strategies will become increasingly important. As employers look for ways to adapt their wellness offerings in the coming year, here are the trends to look for as we forge our way through the pandemic and beyond:
A holistic approach to wellness programs
Due to the unexpected change forced upon us with COVID, the transition to a well-rounded program has become even more urgent. Employee wellness programs can reflect the interconnections between physical, nutritional, mental, social, financial, and even environmental health. The best strategies will start with listening — listening to the needs of employees. The suite of benefits will then be based on the needs of the group.
Creating a healthy office environment is one of the top corporate wellness trends of 2021. The pandemic has profoundly changed workplaces and the ways in which work is conducted. A healthy workplace can lead to healthier behaviors and attitudes and increase employee engagement. Few simple ways to make the workplace healthier include:
Incorporating healthy activity into the workplace like standing meetings
Maintaining good air quality
Games and gym facilities
Indoor plants and biophilic elements
Ergonomic office space with comfortable and adjustable chairs and standing desks. Learn more on how ergonomic furniture boosts wellness.
Focus on mental Health
United Nations said that the pandemic led to widespread psychological distress in populations. 2021 will see the expansion of mental health support as part of corporate wellness programs. This will include digital tools such as virtual therapy and sleep aids. Other innovations may include remote monitoring of software used to curb always-on culture and reduce stress and burnout.
Learn more about workplace strategies for mental wellbeing
Back to work Planning
After a year of remote working, many companies are planning a return to the office. Just as every business has its own unique company culture, every plan will need to be tailored to fit the needs of its employees. They are likely to feel anxious about returning to work and may worry about the safety of being around others, so companies need to plan ahead with all the safety precautions in mind.
Learn more about our report on Back to Work.
Organizations must be prepared to keep up with the increasing demand for technology in the workplace. It is important for remote workers to stay connected to boost employee morale and productivity. Communication technologies, such as video conferencing can keep employers in touch with remote employees and serve as a convenient way to connect to remote clients. Digital health platforms and apps can improve access to mental health professionals and ensure issues are being addressed and treated in a timely and efficient manner.
Wellness will become a Manager's concern
Managers are responsible for creating a welcoming and safe environment for their teams as well as encouraging active participation in well-being practices. They have a key role to play in providing information, reach out and communicate effectively about wellness offerings and benefit plans. Now, managers will take charge of the well-being of their teams.
Social and community involvement
It is important to encourage and facilitate regular communication with employees and find ways for them to remain connected to the workplace and their colleagues. Encouraging employees to be engaged in charitable work can also be beneficial and help employees feel a greater sense of purpose. Expect to see more team chats, lunch and learns, corporate social responsibility programs, and happy hours with teammates, keeping the workplace connected and having fun!
Flexibility at work
Flexibility in the workplace is one of the best ways to improve employee wellness, as there's now an increased focus on work-life balance. Flexible work schedules and flexible working environments have been proven to reduce turnover rates and absenteeism, and increase productivity and job satisfaction. Being able to choose when work is getting done helps employees feel in control and more productive.
Learn more about flexible working.
Looking to the future
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of accessible financial, mental, emotional, and physical well-being programs. The long-term trend remains increased corporate investment with the largest businesses leading the charge and driving change. Look for corporate wellness trends and program benefits that will help your team to feel active, productive, rested, and recharged for the year ahead.