Until the COVID-19 pandemic, no event had led to such a tense shift in the economy and corporate wellness market. Employers had to change their workplace policies overnight to ensure employee wellbeing and safety.
Our previous blog briefed about the Corporate Wellness Trends 2017 – 2020, which showed the changes in how employers perceived employee wellbeing over the years.
In another blog, we reported the top wellness program components from the workplace wellness trends 2020 – 2021.
All these reports, along with many other studies, have given clear insights into employee health and wellbeing changes and trends over the years.
As a continuation of our previous 2 blogs, in this blog, we outline the outcomes of post-pandemic employee wellness trends as reported in the Shortlister survey.
In this part – III of the Shortlister Employee Wellness Trends 2020 – 2021, more than 125 of the top employee benefits consultants were asked about the 11 different employee wellness solutions and how employer’s interests in these programs have changed since the pandemic.
Behavioral Health Interests
Employee behavioral health has been highly affected during the pandemic, especially due to social isolation, remote working, changes in their daily routine, and other stressors. Employers have started considering offering behavioral health programs to employees as they play a major role in managing physical and mental wellbeing. The study showed massive growth of 14% in 2020 to 29% in 2021 in employer interests in implementing behavioral health programs.
Biometric Screenings Interests
Health assessments and Biometric Screenings are vital onboarding activities that give an insight into employee health and wellbeing, the potential risk factors, and medical history. Even before the pandemic, many employers showed less interest in these screenings. This poor interest only got worse during the pandemic as most employees were working remotely, and there were subsequent lockdowns. Almost 88% of the survey respondents reported a fall in employer interests for Biometric Screenings, and the in-person screening solutions also dropped.
Eldercare/Caregiving Support Interests
The remote working situation due to the pandemic has forced many employees to juggle multiple responsibilities at home. Working parents struggled to manage their kids, online schooling, and their work tasks. Also, with the COVID-19 posing high risks to seniors, many employees found it difficult to manage the health and safety of their families, while managing other responsibilities. All these pressures caused a lot of stress to the employees impacting their health and productivity. And so, many employers have started showing interest in supporting their lifestyle challenges by providing caregiving or eldercare programs. Studies show the interest in these programs improved from 35% in 2020 to 53% in 2021, and are likely to grow even more in 2021.
Lifestyle Habits Programs Interests
In a 2019 Wellness Trends report, many benefits consultants had expected Diabetes Management as a section of the corporate wellness programs that would grow immensely in the near future. However, the interests to implement these point solutions in their corporate wellness programs were rather unaffected during the pandemic. Likewise, the interest in other point solutions like Tobacco Cessation programs also remained unchanged. In fact, there was a slight decrease in these interests, and consultants felt it would be the same through 2021 too.
Workplace Ergonomics Interests
The 2020 remote working situation has made the beds, couches, and even dining tables the workstations for many. The home environment, without colleagues and management around, has made it easy to slouch and work for long hours in the wrong posture. This has affected the musculoskeletal health of the employees. Employers are adjusting to these changing challenges and are taking adequate measures to make the home workspace as good as the workplace workstation through ergonomic and musculoskeletal programs.
Financial Wellness Interests
The economic changes and the related stress during the pandemic have shifted the focus on financial wellbeing. Many employees had to go through layoffs, lower-income, lost bonuses, and the uncertain threat has impacted their overall health and wellbeing. Financial wellness programs have been becoming popular in the past few years, and employer’s interests in including these programs in their employee wellness solutions have only intensified from 32% in 2020 to 45% in 2021 since the pandemic.
Telehealth and Digital Health Solutions
Out of all the 11 wellness parameters studied in this Shortlister survey, Telehealth grabbed the most attention. The pandemic has shifted the routine to the virtual side. Schooling, work, social communications, and almost everything have become virtual, and so, medicine followed suit. With the need for timely healthcare rising to ensure employee health and wellbeing, many employers have adapted to this change and have shown a lot of interest in implementing digital health solutions and telemedicine for their employees.
Physical Health Programs
The pandemic had reduced social gatherings, closed gyms, and restricted going to the stores and offices. The remote working and lockdowns had reduced the little physical movement the employees had, and their physical health training came to still. Many employers started offering online physical health resources like fitness applications and healthy habit programs as a part of their employee wellness solutions. There was a 10% increase in interest in these weight and fitness management programs in 2021.
Sleep Management Programs
Like almost every other health and wellbeing dimension, even the sleeping habits of employees have changed since the pandemic started. The lack of structure, multiple responsibilities, work overload, and stress has led to an erratic sleeping schedule. The irregular and lack of sleep have affected employee health and wellbeing, impacting their productivity. Many employers started offering sleep management programs through their corporate wellness programs. Though there was an apparent increase in interest in the sleep management programs, it was not as high as the other wellbeing solutions.
In addition to these employee wellbeing solutions, the survey also studied the interest in women’s health programs, and there was not much change in 2021 compared to 2020.
The overall study summary showed that the employee health and wellness dimensions that needed one-on-one interactions like biometrics or lifestyle habits lagged in the interest quotient, whereas issues that could be tackled or got worse by the pandemic like Telehealth and mental wellbeing programs saw an uplift in the interest and implementation in the corporate wellness programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the routine, and these changes have affected employees and employers. The outcomes of this Shortlister study and many other studies can give a clear insight into the trending wellbeing modules to implement in the corporate wellness programs for better workplace productivity and employee engagement.