The concept of employee health and wellness is changing drastically with time, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic has made workplace wellbeing a priority like never before.
A recent UnitedHealthcare Wellness Checkup Survey showed that a majority of the American employees are making healthy and positive changes to their lives.
With the employees taking measures for their holistic wellbeing, they also have expectations from their employers to support them through the process. For employers who are looking to work towards their employee health and wellness, and also keep up with the latest corporate wellness trends, this is the best time for them to invest. Employers can play a crucial role in motivating and fostering healthy habits in their employees, either at the workplace or while working remotely.
Employees Embrace Corporate Wellness Programs
The survey emphasizes the importance of offering comprehensive employee wellness programs at the workplace to reduce absenteeism, decrease turnover rates, improve productivity, lower healthcare costs, and establish overall workplace wellness.
As the pandemic has changed the daily routines, the survey respondents answered the survey questions with the new changes.
Here is a brief of the survey outcomes that is hugely based on the opinions of health and wellbeing preferences of the 1000 adult employees living in the USA.
Impact On Health and Wellness
From the surveyed employees who were already a part of their corporate wellness programs, almost 77% agreed that their wellbeing program left a positive impact on their overall health and holistic wellness.
Every 1 in 5 respondents agreed that the pandemic shifted their focus on health and wellbeing, especially encouraging them to make healthier eating choices. 21% of the respondents agreed that their diet choices have improved since the pandemic as they are more focused on their health and wellness. However, 30% said that their food choices have worsened during the pandemic, owing to the more binge-eating opportunities while working remotely.
Furthermore, 17% said that their workplace wellness programs helped them deal with their chronic health conditions. Another 17% said that these wellbeing programs helped them identify an underlying medical condition or disease.
With the flu season approaching soon and the fear of the COVID-19, 30% said there is a high possibility that they may get their annual flu shot this year.
Changing Exercise Preferences
With the pandemic restricting exercising at the gyms or group physical activities, many employees who exercise regularly have changed their exercise routines. Almost 68% of the respondents said walking was their preferred form of exercise during the pandemic. A majority of this group included the Baby Boomers and Gen X generation employees.
Here are the other preferred physical activities –
Modifying Workplace Habits
With the pandemic safety regulations enforcing the social distancing norms, the way people greet each other in person and interact with each other has changed. In short, the back-to-workplace strategies are quite different after the pandemic to what was before the pandemic.
While 34% of the participants said they would completely avoid shaking hands at the workplace, 31% said that they had no problem with it and would still continue shaking hands despite the risk of a potential COVID-19 infection. 35% said they would greet people either by fist bumps or elbow bumps. 45% of the Baby Boomers and 33% of the Gen X employees said they would stop handshakes with others in the workplace.
Impact On Job Performance
According to the survey, the employee wellness programs had an obvious positive impact on job performance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 51% of the respondents said that the wellness programs notably improved their productivity at work; 54% said it helped in reducing stress; 31% said their absenteeism rates due to illness reduced. On the other hand, 71% of the respondents who did not have any access to the employee wellness programs said they would be glad to participate if such initiatives were offered to them.
Encouraging Employee Wellness Initiatives
With the spotlight on health and wellness, employers are more than willing to invest in employee wellbeing initiatives. With the pandemic impacting employees and employers in many ways, it is probably the perfect time to follow the corporate wellness trends. A study by the National Business Group on Health showed that almost 67% of the organizations are looking to expand their employee wellbeing initiatives in the next few years.
Employers can invest in well-planned corporate wellbeing programs that can help in encouraging employees to adopt healthier lifestyle habits at the workplace or while working remotely. They can also set up wellness initiatives like employee health screenings, flu shots, health coaching, mental wellbeing programs, financial support, and other benefits that contribute to employee holistic wellness.
Employers can seek employee feedback and offer them the best-suited wellbeing modules like wellness challenges to be done at home, daily health tips, meal vouchers, online educational resources, and more, to improve employee engagement and wellbeing. At the workplace, they can offer simple physical activity challenges, outdoor breaks, team lunches, expert seminars, spa vouchers, and other fitting employee wellness activities and benefits.
By implementing the right corporate wellbeing program, employee engagement, wellness, and productivity can be boosted, all of which contribute to business growth.