The ongoing pandemic has forced employers to rethink their investment areas and plans for employee wellness in 2022. Since many have started normalizing remote working, living spaces have turned into workspaces, schools, and child/eldercare centers. As employees juggle multiple responsibilities, their health and wellness are no more a priority. Likewise, as employers are focusing on improving virtual communication and engagement, offering wellness programs fell to the bottom of the list.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create anxiety and uncertainty across the globe, offering workplace wellness programs must be a top priority for employers. Employee wellbeing trends have evolved with time, especially because of the pandemic, and so, employers must look into offering the best-suited modules.
Here is a brief of the workplace wellness trends for 2022 that employers must consider and prioritize this year.
Focusing on Mental Wellbeing and Stress Management
COVID-19 has affected many areas of life, and employee mental health is a leading cause of concern. A recent Willis Watson Towers survey studies employee mental health, stress, and burnout issues in pre and post-COVID times. According to the study, there was a 61% reduction in social connections, causing loneliness and affecting emotional wellbeing. Also, the increased caregiving responsibilities and the inability to disconnect from work have disturbed their work-life balance, causing burnout. In the survey, almost 93% of employers said they would prioritize mental wellbeing and behavioral health for the next 3 years. Another Business Group on Health study showed that overall employee mental health has worsened during the pandemic, leading to prolonged stress, substance use, and burnout.
Employers must invest in digital health solutions, coaching, and providing mental health resources through workplace wellness programs to ensure employees can have easy access to behavioral and emotional healthcare. Also, employers must be prepared to deal with the emerging mental health challenges.
Financial Wellness and Secured Future
Financial wellness is an emerging workplace wellness trend. The pandemic has made everyone understand the importance of having a secured financial future and enough emergency savings. A PwC Employee Financial Wellbeing survey showed that financial or monetary matters caused stress to 54% of the respondents. Another Willis Watson survey showed that 57% of employees struggled financially in the past two years.
A recent study showed that 53% of the respondents were saving up to make larger expenses, and 72% prioritized building an emergency fund for the future. While 74% were interested in making the right investments, 83% preferred following a budget. In short, most employees were expecting their employers to offer financial wellness programs with access to online tools, calculators, expert consultation, and resources that can help them plan and secure their financial wellbeing.
Health Equity and Healthcare Expenses
Health discrepancies have grown since the pandemic, especially due to deferred care, and employers are now facing the wrath of higher healthcare expenses. Studies show that employees, especially millennials, are at a higher risk of acquiring chronic health diseases. The rising healthcare costs and higher claims have added to the economical woes of organizations. Also, health inequities have made it difficult for many to access quality healthcare, affecting their prospects of managing chronic health conditions and other concerns.
To assure health equity and address disparities in 2022, many employers are working on providing affordable and inclusive health benefits, along with workplace wellness programs. Employers can design comprehensive wellbeing programs with best-suited modules including, preventative screenings, assessments, and disease management programs. Also, many employers have started prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to build healthy workplace culture, and curb any issues of bias or racism concerning health status, mental health, and health outcomes of marginalized groups.
Holistic Wellness Practices
The pandemic has brought many unthinkable changes to different aspects of living and work. Employees and employers have realized that workplace wellness is more than just physical and mental health. The emphasis is now on the 9 different holistic wellness dimensions, broadly including – physical, emotional, social, financial, intellectual, environmental, occupational, cultural, and spiritual health.
Personalized and robust all-inclusive workplace wellness programs are trending as they are the need of the hour. These holistic programs help employees cope with stress, make better financial planning, and address different wellbeing concerns. Providing holistic programs shows that employers care for the overall wellbeing of their workforce, thus reflecting higher recruitment of skilled talent, lower turnover rates, and better employee engagement.
By combining these workplace wellness trends with the latest employee wellbeing trends 2022, employers can focus on the evolving employee wellbeing priorities. Motivating employees by prioritizing their health and wellbeing can help them have a better work-life balance, reduce absenteeism and turnover rates, boost engagement, and enhance overall productivity, which automatically reflects workplace wellbeing and business growth.