With the anxiety and devastation caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, everyone across the globe is hoping that 2021 will be better. Employees, employers, and almost every single person have been affected in many different ways.
One of the most common areas that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic is employee wellness. Many studies have shown that lifestyle habits have changed during the lockdown. These habits have impacted employee wellness and their holistic health, which need attention and care for a better 2021 and future.
“A employee health and wellness study showed that employers can save up to $730 billion in healthcare costs by changing employee lifestyle habits.”
Employee health and wellness have been associated with many business aspects, including –
- Healthcare costs
- Employee engagement
- Absenteeism rates
- Workplace productivity
- Employee turnover rates
- Workplace culture
So, if employers are looking to improve employee wellness habits to achieve the best outcomes for their business goals, it is worth implementing a corporate wellness program.
Studies have shown that a well-designed corporate wellness program can offer many workplace benefits, like improving employee wellness, workplace culture, and more.
To make sure employees are healthy and prepared to face 2021 in a better way than 2020, they must make a few changes to their lifestyle habits, and employers must focus and encourage these changes. Here are the top 5 employee wellness trends for 2021.
Acknowledging Employee Well-being as a Benefit Strategy
It is evident that employee wellbeing impacts workplace wellness. While happy and healthy employees build a strong workplace culture and grow business, disengaged, unhappy, and unhealthy employees can be the cause of downfall. With a tough year with the pandemic, employees are looking out for help from their employers. Almost two-thirds of American employees have felt the brunt of the pandemic and agreed that it affected their holistic wellness. Many employees also reported that they did not receive any support from their employers for their financial wellness, physical or mental health. With suitable corporate wellness programs, employers can offer all the required support for their employee wellbeing, which reflects in workplace wellness, organizational productivity, and overall business growth.
Prioritizing Employee Mental Wellness
A Total Brain study reported a 14% rise in stress and 41% anxiety issues in employees since the pandemic started in 2020. As per June 2020 data, 54% of American employees were at a higher risk of acquiring depression. Many other studies have shown the significant impact of the pandemic on employee mental wellness and have outlined its effects on overall employee wellbeing, workplace productivity, and business growth. Many employees have shown interest in having corporate-sponsored employee mental wellness programs that can help them overcome tough situations. However, 60% of employees who already had access to corporate wellness programs said their mental health initiatives did not suit their wellness requirements. Employers must not only work on reducing the social stigma around mental health issues but also offer the right mental wellness modules to boost the value of the employee benefits offerings.
Supporting Social Wellness and Building Connections
The pandemic-caused social distancing, isolation, and remote working has taught the need to have healthy social connections and the importance of social wellness. The distance has made it difficult to foster social connections within the workforce and has impacted employee engagement, team relationships, and overall workplace productivity. Employers can incorporate social wellness challenges ideas in their employee wellness programs to encourage healthy social connections and better interaction. If they are working remotely, schedule virtual team meetings that are face-to-face rather than camera-off or phone call meetings. Prioritize team challenges and tasks, and celebrate all accomplishments with rewards and incentives as a token of appreciation.
Focus on Financial Wellbeing
The pandemic caused a global economic crisis, and many lost their jobs and income, leading to a financial mess. However, a 2020 Bank of America study shows that Americans had financial crunches even before the pandemic hit, and it only got worse during the economic crash. This financial stress has deteriorated overall employee wellness, increased mental health issues, increased absenteeism and presenteeism, reduced workplace productivity, and has impacted employees and employers in many ways. Financial wellbeing programs offered as a part of employee wellness programs are gaining popularity. Employers can offer employee benefits packages like HSA contributions, 401(K) plans, expert consultations, student loan repayment assistance, and other financial-based benefits to support their workforce.
Personalized Employee Wellness Solutions
Every employee is different, and so will be their health and wellness needs. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work well with employee wellness solutions. Despite offering plenty of wellness modules, the cookie-cutter strategy does not give the desired outcomes. Tailored corporate wellness programs with best-suited wellness challenges ideas can ensure that all employee health and wellness needs are taken care of, motivating them to achieve their individual wellness goals. Employers can conduct employee pulse surveys or hold discussions to know their employee wellness requirements, and personalize the corporate wellness program modules accordingly. Such customized employee wellness solutions will not only improve holistic wellness in the long run, but will also boost employee engagement, productivity, and workplace culture.
In addition to these 5 key employee wellness trends, employers can also consider and offer other wellness benefits like –
- Corporate wellness platforms and wellbeing apps
- Fitness devices and access to tracking apps
- Behavioral change programs
- Workplace coaching programs
- Immune-boosting activities
- Holistic wellness challenges
- Employee benefits and perks
While the remote working has caused employee burnout for many, many others are facing mental stress due to various reasons. With the right the health and wellness initiatives, employers can make sure their workforce is in line with the latest employee wellness trends 2021, and are prepared to face any uncertain situation.