The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness about the importance of health and wellness. Employee emotions towards health and wellbeing have shifted towards self-comfort, healthy eating, and other creative ways to keep themselves and their family healthy and immune to illnesses. Right from homemade bread to growing homemade produce and an explosion in the sales of home activewear, employees are ruling their remote working situation with sweatpants and new diets.
Many employers have emphasized employee health and wellness owing to its impact on their productivity and business ROI. Many have started offering corporate wellness programs and employee benefits packages that meet the wellbeing needs of remote working workforce too.
A recent 2021 SurveyMonkey study was conducted with 1,606 US adults to study their fitness, diet, mental health, and purchase ideas. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the sample was balanced based on age, gender, and US location. The survey outcomes outweighed most of the employee health and wellbeing issues that were of concern due to the pandemic in 2020.
Here is a brief of the study outcomes and ways how employers can address any issues through their corporate wellness programs.
Healthy Lifestyle and Positive Feelings
After a year of uncertainty and anxiousness, employees were asked about their feelings, spending habits, lifestyle habits, and behaviors. Surprisingly, a majority of the participants felt their lives were generally healthier than at the start of the pandemic. Almost 82% of the respondents said their lifestyle became somewhat healthier, and one-third of the users said they had an extremely healthy lifestyle. While 43% said the pandemic was the reason to change their habits for a healthy lifestyle, 12% contradicted it saying it was an excuse to overlook their health and wellbeing. 34% of the respondents were eating healthier and exercising more than they did in mid-2020. 46% of people under 24 years of age said they were feeling extremely healthy, and 43% of people who were 75 years of age and above felt the same.
Motivation is Still Work-in-Progress
While people are having strong intentions to eat healthily, work out regularly, and lead a healthier life, they struggle with maintaining consistency and discipline. While 57% of the survey respondents said they were likely to make changes to follow a healthy diet in the next 1 year,
- 33% said they cannot stick to a healthy diet for a long time
- 25% said they do not have the time to prepare healthy food
- 22% said they could not afford healthy food
There is enough evidence that the pandemic has affected employee mental health too. 50% of the survey participants said they faced work burnout issues and their mental health was just hanging on by the skin of their teeth. However, they were committed to improve their mental health and holistic wellbeing.
Employers can implement corporate wellness programs with suitable wellness challenge ideas that motivate employees to follow healthy eating habits, stress management, and maintain consistency. Through the corporate wellness programs, employers can also arrange health coaching programs to encourage and guide employees through their wellness journey.
Strong Intentions to Meet Fitness Goals
The pandemic led to job loss and remote working situations in 2020, and it was evident that many did not get their daily dose of physical activity. With in-person events getting canceled and things getting virtual, even the minimum daily movement became restricted. However, with time, many adapted to the changes and started experimenting at home to ensure they get enough physical activity. Right from online fitness sessions to purchasing home fitness equipment, it all grew for many.
According to the survey results –
- 32% of the respondents were using home fitness equipment
- 28% were using some kind of fitness apps
- 24% were using fitness tracking wearables
However, there were issues with consistency like –
- 53% were not motivated enough to exercise regularly
- 35% felt they were too tired to exercise
- 29% said they were unable to stick to a routine
Corporate wellness programs with wellness challenge ideas that encourage physical activities like daily step count challenge or distance covered challenges can help in motivating employees to exercise regularly. Many corporate wellness programs also incorporate the latest corporate wellness technology in their wellness program platform to offer virtual wellness challenge ideas that can double as step count challenges, in a more fun way.
Health and Wellness Outcomes Based on Gender
In addition to the aggregate lifestyle habit outcomes, the study also clearly showed the report of health and wellbeing commitment based on different genders. Men had elevated their fitness plans with 30% of them agreeing that they exercised more currently than they did 3 months ago, while only 25% of the female participants agreed with the same. However, when it came to overall healthy practices, women outplayed the men in 2021. 38% of women were planning on eating healthily compared to only 27% of men. Also, while 30% of women were planning on achieving their weight loss goals, compared to only 21% of men.
Health and Wellness Initiatives for 2021
Despite facing work burnout and other limitations, the people were committed to making serious changes to their lifestyle to improve their overall health and wellness. Here are the key intentions that the respondents were planning on making for their health and wellness in 2021 –
To achieve their health and wellbeing goals, they were also ready to invest a significant amount. While 13% were ready to allocate more than $500 for their health and wellbeing, 29% were willing to spend between $50 and $500.
Many 2021 surveys have shown that people, especially employees who had to change their daily working routines due to the remote working situations and changing workplace policies, are prioritizing health and wellness. Employers are also looking for different ways to incorporate corporate wellness technology in the corporate wellness programs to encourage employees to adopt healthy habits and follow them consistently for better holistic health and wellness.