It is no surprise that developing a healthier workforce will result in a productivity boost. Corporate wellness programs are no longer seen as nice perks that companies offer but as essential drivers of organizational performance and success.
Emerging Wellness Trends in the Workplace
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a wellness revolution, and employee wellbeing initiatives quickly became a top business objective. While many wellness companies already have robust programs and tools, new trends are emerging that are changing the industry in the last year.
The shift we are seeing is an increased interest in non-traditional benefits, inclusive of all dimensions of wellness, the emotional, physical, mental, and financial. The overall wellness approach companies are taking is more holistic, caring for the whole employee.
Although these trends are influenced by the events that happened these last two years, employers have embraced this new all-around approach to wellbeing. Providing tools and resources to help in child and elder care, mental and physical health, and financial wellness, is critical in keeping productivity high and helping employees thrive.
Mental Health Services
As the past year has been filled with anxiety and uncertainty, there is a greater focus on mental health programs to support employees. Unsurprisingly, according to a wellness trends survey conducted by Shortlister, behavioral health offerings saw massive growth in interest in 2020.
Some popular mental health resources are stress management and resilience training, virtual mental health services, mindfulness and sleep apps, and counseling sessions. Investing in mental health programs is a trend that is here to stay, especially since studies show that mental health interventions yield the most significant ROI compared to other initiatives.
Today, more than 53 million workers double as caregivers to adults or children with special needs. The balancing act of caregiving responsibilities with work-from-home caused many employees that are also primary caregivers to experience burnout.
In response to these lifestyle changes, companies started to include caregiver support in their employee benefits packages. Most commonly offered workplace caregiver benefits include flexible work hours, paid family leave and sick days, and introduction to caregiving programs, including giving referrals and information on EAP (Employee Assistance Programs).
Financial Wellbeing Services
As the U.S. and the rest of the world experienced a rampant rise in unemployment, many households were left with only one income source, reduced salaries, and many furloughed employees. During the pandemic, financial stress skyrocketed and impacted a large percentage of the workforce. Financial wellness programs are not necessarily a new benefit, yet the demand for these programs is at an all-time high.
Financial wellness programs may come in many forms, like short educational courses or workshops, providing employees with useful tools and calculators, and giving access to various financial benefits. Employer-matched retirement savings, Health Savings Account, and even extended paid leave can all be a part of the perks an employer offers to promote financial wellbeing.
Many people experienced loss and grief during the COVID-19 pandemic. People who suffer from bereavement are less likely to keep their job and experience serious mental health struggles. To help employees cope with grief, employers are revisiting their bereavement policies, increasing paid time off, providing flexible hours, and offering grief workshops and retreats.
One of the most shocking findings is that while healthcare spending continues to grow, the U.S. ranks 68th in the world on health and wellness outcomes. One industry that aims to give better access to care, cut spending and waiting times is the telehealth industry.
Telehealth or telemedicine is essentially the use of technology to evaluate, diagnose, treat, and deliver medical care remotely. The interest in telehealth services significantly increased during the pandemic as it offered a safe way to provide medical care without any physical contact. However, the benefits of telehealth like easier scheduling of virtual appointments, being more convenient, and 24/7 access to health information means this trend will not disappear any time soon.
Most employers have already included telehealth services as part of their workplace wellness programs. Due to its convenience, this benefit is here to stay even after employees have returned to the workplace.
Employees play a vital role in the growth and profitability of an organization. HR professionals need to identify the best strategies to build a culture of nurture and wellbeing. Companies that prioritize employee wellness as a business objective build a remarkable competitive advantage over their competitors.