How might employee well-being evolve in 2019?

Happy New Year! It’s now the second week of January, and although many of us are still brimming with optimism for 2019, we’re also starting to feel the aftermath of savoring the holidays. The physical ramifications go without saying; we all know we could be eating better and exercising more. But what about the mental and financial pains that typically set in around this time of year?

The interconnectedness of wellness

It’s been proven year after year that mental health troubles like stress and depression tend to spike in January. Employees across all industries generally take more sick days around this time, and many report feeling lethargic, unfocused, and sometimes even suicidal.

The reasons for these psychological symptoms are varied and highlight the interconnected nature of our overall well-being. For some people, it’s a matter of simply not wanting to return to work. For others, seasonal affective disorder brought on by harsh and dreary weather plays a role. Many of us are concerned about credit card debt after the holidays, too. All of these issues, compounded by not eating, sleeping, or exercising well over the break, can mean your employees aren’t bringing their best selves into work.

Why organizations should care

The factors mentioned above can take a serious toll on our well-being and impede our productivity when we go to work. Moreover, many of these issues are recurring throughout the year, not just in January.

That’s why it’s crucial for organizations to provide round-the-clock support for their employees through comprehensive wellness programs. Without easy and constant access to wellness resources, employees simply can’t do their best work. They’re more likely to feel disengaged, make preventable mistakes, and even quit their jobs.

Corporate wellness in 2019

If your organization wants to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to addressing employee well-being, take note of these emerging trends:

  1. Well-being is a company-wide effort, not just the responsibility of HR. All departments should be run through an employee-centric lens, encouraging staff to sit less, talk openly about mental health, feel connected to one another, etc.
  2. No more “set it and forget it” programs. Organizations will need to keep their workforce involved in shaping their wellness offering by asking what resources are most important to them. Many employers have been surprised to find out their staff is most interested in getting assistance with student loan repayments, retirement planning, or volunteer opportunities than more traditional benefits.
  3. Wellness for recruitment, training, and rewarding staff. If you have a stellar wellness program, why not flaunt it to your prospective hires to make your organization stand out? Furthermore, it can be incorporated into training procedures (ex: group stretch breaks, standing meetings, etc) and rewards (ex: giving fitness wearables, onsite massages appointments, or nutritious cookbooks as prizes).
  4. More personalization and smart targeting. Your wellness resources should be as tailored to each employee as possible to maximize effectiveness. Targeting their individual interests and pain points will give you better insight into what they need and when.
  5. Overhauled work schedules. An increasing number of organizations are rejecting the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday workweek by embracing more flexible options. Many have shifted to four-day workweeks, reduced pressure for staff to be physically present in the workplace, adopted flexible hours so they can choose when and where they work, and even granted unlimited vacation time.
  6. Further emphasis on improving mental health and other invisible illnesses. While much progress has been made to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, many employees struggle with other invisible conditions including cancer, migraines, infertility, lupus, lyme disease, and multiple sclerosis. The most competitive wellness programs will address a wide range of conditions, both physical and mental.
  7. More value-add through AI. Robots have already begun to take over repetitive, mundane tasks like writing basic code, drafting simplified content, organizing files, and creating reports. Eliminating these time-sucks enables employees to spend more time on valuable activities, and therefore feel more connected to the organization.
  8. Increased effort to give employees a sense of belonging. We thrive when we feel appreciated and accepted by those around us. Employers will need to find creative and sustainable ways of engaging their staff socially so they feel like they truly belong.

LifeSpeak is on the cutting edge of employee well-being

Regardless of how advanced your wellness program is (or isn’t), we can help bring it up to 2019 standards. Our digital well-being platform already supports 550 employers in their efforts to address the points above, as it contains over 2,000 resources on topics from physical and mental health to financial resources, parenting and relationships, and even professional development. To learn how LifeSpeak can revolutionize wellness in your organization, book a free walk-through with us today.