5 Workplace Wellness Trends With Staying Power
The COVID-19 public health emergency ended on May 11 in the United States, but the pandemic’s impacts will be felt in workplaces — and across society as a whole — for a long time to come.
Some impacts are positive, including greater emphasis in the workplace on mental health. Increasingly, this issue is seen as a key component in a total approach to supporting employee wellness. To keep staff healthy and productive, many employers are allocating additional resources to help employees perform at their best while keeping stress at bay and avoiding burnout.
Here are five workplace wellness trends that gained momentum during the pandemic and are likely to continue for the long term:
1. Mental health corporate programs
Many companies have been introducing or investing more in mental health corporate programs, like employee assistance programs (EAPs). These voluntary, confidential programs provide access to counseling services to help employees work through personal difficulties that may be impacting their work performance.
Connecting employees with programs and courses that teach coping and stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation is another way that employers are putting more focus on supporting employee mental health.
Many firms are also making sure these offerings are available to their remote employees. A recent Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers found that those professionals working remotely are more likely to feel their company offers mental health benefits that meet their needs (77% vs. 63%).
2. Stress management
Many companies are finding ways to help their workers, no matter where they are working from, reduce their overall stress, as stress can interfere with optimal mental health. Employees who can effectively manage their stress levels tend to be happier and more productive. Often, they’re more physically healthy, too.
Many leading employers have added new initiatives like caregiver programs and additional paid time off to help reduce workers’ stress and maintain a good work-life balance. They’re also encouraging them to set clear boundaries between their professional and personal lives, to the extent possible, and disconnect from work while they’re out of the office or on vacation.
Read about how to prevent work burnout at your company.
3. Financial health
Economic uncertainty and pressures like inflation have many workers acutely worried about their finances. As a result, employers are focusing on helping staff members find ways to improve their financial well-being.
Hosting in-person and virtual financial planning sessions, offering training in financial planning tools, and providing student loan or tuition assistance are just some examples of these types of offerings.
Remote work became commonplace during the pandemic, and many employees are thriving in ongoing flexible work arrangements. Working from home, at least part of the time, is helping them to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively — leading to reduced overall stress and better mental health.
Along with hybrid work arrangements, many companies are offering flexible daily and weekly schedules, full-time remote positions, and volunteering opportunities — all with the goal of keeping workers energized and engaged.
Learn about the benefits of embracing flexible work for the long term.
During the pandemic, many employers stepped up efforts to eliminate barriers and disparities that may prevent staff members from seeking the healthcare they need. Amending employee benefits plans to cover health services through telemedicine is one example of those efforts.
Through telemedicine, employees can get support from healthcare providers without having to worry about time-consuming trips to the doctor’s office. They can also avoid the risk of sitting in waiting rooms filled with potentially infectious patients.
For all the upheaval the pandemic brought, it also shed light on additional ways for employers to help employees work better, happier and healthier. Programs and benefits related to supporting workers’ mental health and overall wellness are also vital for talent retention: Research for Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide found that more than 80% of companies have added new perks, like mental health resources and wellness programs, to help them remain competitive in a challenging hiring market.