The Future of Workplace Wellness
By Brian Whitney, Corporate Health Unlimited
The health and wellness industry continues to rapidly expand, as does its influence on the corporate world. In fact, by 2025 the corporate wellness market alone is expected to be worth $84.9 billion. As every generation becomes more comfortable with technology, the demand for higher quality and more personalized wellness services continues to substantially increase. With this trend, among other factors such as how Covid-19 will affect the future workplace, employers need to be ready to implement a variety of wellness solutions to meet the needs of their employees, and to help them stay competitive in the marketplace when trying to attract new talent.
Corporate wellness is quickly shifting from being a nice perk, to a must have. Likewise, gone are the days where having a wellness event here-and-there is the norm, it has now shifted to being a 24/7 opportunity, and expectation. So, what are the benefits and how can employers meet the needs of their employee population when it comes to wellness? Keep these two wellness trends top of mind and be ready to implement.
- Customized Wellness Experiences
A benefit that has stood the test of time and has increasingly become a leading advantage to attracting talent and increasing employee retention and overall health is having an on-site fitness center. Physical health is, and always will be, extremely important, but we are now seeing a shift in the importance of having a holistic wellness approach – including mental, nutritional, emotional, financial, social, and physical wellness.
We are quickly realizing that there is not one solution that meets the needs of everyone. While having an on-site fitness center might be a deciding factor for some, another individual may find more value in access to nutrition coaches, personal coaches, on-site wellness events, yoga classes, smoking cessation programs, massage therapy, mindfulness tools, financial tools, or social connectivity. Companies should offer a multitude of wellness initiatives to make sure they are meeting the needs of their entire population, not just one subset. As more companies continue to realize and implement a holistic approach to wellness, organizations who do not jump on board could quickly fall behind.
- Technology – Virtual Wellness and Engagement Platforms
By now the whole world has seen how fitness centers across the globe, ranging from large chains to boutique gyms, have shifted their focus to offer online virtual workouts during Covid-19. Virtual wellness programs are no different and suggest being more important now than ever.
The term “work-life balance” has taken on a new meaning. We are all increasingly starting to rely on technology to connect back to the office while at home, which is only going to increase the demand for digital wellness solutions. We check our emails while watching TV at home and more recently find ourselves dealing with childcare and other family tasks while working full-time from the house. Our life has seemingly blended with work, just as work has blended with our life. Companies are quickly realizing the importance of keeping their employees engaged and motivated no matter where they are working. Because of this, workplace wellness programs can no longer just be offered at the workplace. Employers need to bridge the gap between an employee’s personal life and work life.
Third-party vendors offering wellness technology platforms can bridge the gap for companies by rolling out a tailored wellness solution to their employee population. Offering a platform where employees can access wellness content, virtual workouts, educational workshops, as well as socially connect with their co-workers plays a large role in improving the wellbeing of their workforce while they are at home. A wellness platform will help increase employee engagement, productivity, retention, and culture and is the solution to what employees are both eagerly searching for and expecting. Keep in mind, these digital platforms still need to offer a holistic view of wellness, including mental, nutritional, emotional, financial, physical, and social tools.
Benefits of Workplace Wellness:
You still might ask, “what are the benefits of having an employee wellness program”? Let me answer that in two ways.
First, if you are just now asking this question, be aware that you may be close to falling into the “quickly left behind” category.
Second, the core of any good wellness program goes far beyond simply offering a program to your employees. The goal should always be to inspire behavior change. With the right education, motivation, tools, and social support from co-workers and/or family, people change behaviors. What is behavior change and why is it important? Behavior change is the ability to making lasting changes as it relates to your health, nutrition, and overall wellbeing. It is important because lasting changes = lasting benefits, both for your employees and your company.
To summarize, a good wellness program should be personalized to your population which significantly increases the chances that your employees will adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. To meet the needs of your employees and help inspire change, you should offer wellness tools and services both on-site and virtually. On-site, this could mean wellness events and health fairs, yoga or group fitness classes, massage services, team building events, or access to a fitness center, among other things. Virtually, this means providing your employees the tools to connect to wellness content, wellness programs, workouts, educational classes, and each other when they are offsite working from home or another location.
Two Final Tips:
1. If you do not have the resources to roll these programs out yourself, find a third-party vendor who specializes in workplace wellness. A good vendor will be an extension of your team, openly willing to customize solutions to your needs, offer detailed reporting, and help setup KPI’s specific to your company to help measure success.
2. Make sure you communicate your wellness program frequently to raise awareness, and soon wellness will become a part of your company culture.