Several changes are taking place in the corporate wellness industry. This industry is a fairly new concept. Executives and managers are starting to see the need for employee self-care. When employees and team members prioritize their mental and physical health, they are happier and more productive in the workplace. Employee wellness can help to boost morale and assist individuals with adopting healthy habits overall.
Employee wellness has also served as an indirect marketing tactic for companies. When job seekers know that companies are focused on helping employees achieve their best health, they are likely more willing to become team members.
Here are six employee wellness trends and opportunities that are becoming more commonplace. There will likely be more trends added in the future to keep team members healthy, motivated, and determined to improve themselves personally and professionally.
The Legality of Workplace Wellness
The court decision to eliminate wellness program regulations goes into effective on New Year’s Day, 2019. The decision comes as a result of the AARP vs EEOC case. Since there will no longer be clear regulations, bosses are faced with finding out whether their wellness programs are considered voluntary requirements. The regulations are issued by the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and GINA, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
The rules for wellness programs will be released in June 2019. The process is lengthy, so it will be at least 2020 before final regulations are issued by the EEOC. Employers who commonly offer wellness programs are encouraged to continue monitoring developments. This includes issuing new program rules and working with legal counsel. Attorneys can help to ensure company wellness initiatives adhere to applicable laws.
Concerns with Privacy
It’s important to realize that the IT department is not the only one that has to deal with data security. A recent Kaiser Health News article brought up concerns about employee health information collected through workplace wellness programs.
There are several methods used to collect wellness data. These include gym records, surveys, portals, wearable devices, and lab tests. These methods are being used more commonly, indicating the need to be forthcoming about how the data will be used. Employers also need to ensure wellness vendors are serious about data security and privacy, as well as standards of compliance.
Making Self-Care a Priority
Recently, Apple announced its “Best of 2018.” Self-care was listed as the trend of the year. It’s very likely that this trend will still be very popular in 2019. More people are coming to the realization that self-care is extremely important. Society previously viewed self-care as a luxury; however, the mindset is shifting. Mindfulness practice has become more common in office settings, and is an important aspect of caring for self. Some of the largest companies in the world are using this method to reduce stress in the workplace. Mindfulness also increases office productivity.
Self-care will continue to be commonplace as employers make holistic health a priority. This comes as good news, since leaders can emphasize self-care by example and enforcement. Harvard Business Review states that wellness programs aren’t effective unless they are accepted in workplace culture. When employees know that caring for their overall health is encouraged in their offices, they are more likely to experience positive results. Self-care keeps people from becoming burnt out at work and helps with stress management. People who engage in self-care regularly also tend to be more confident becasue the process helps them realize their self-worth.
The Issue of Burnout
It’s no secret that working adults are under an extreme amount of pressure. This is more prevalent than ever before. Life is extremely hectic, and most employees have a difficult time achieving a work-life balance. Employee burnout is an issue in all industries. It can cost bosses a considerable amount of money, since workers are not as productive when they are exhausted. Burnout also causes low professional engagement. Employees are much more likely to make mistakes at work when they are extremely stressed. This can lead to an increased number of workplace injuries.
Burnout can be prevented by encouraging employees to recharge and relax. This can be accomplished through short breaks during the workday. Adopting healthier sleeping habits and taking on more flexible work schedules is helpful as well. Employers should encourage their team members to take advantage of paid time off.
Wellness is a personal journey. The choices employees make for self-care are customized to their personalities and needs. While all individuals face workplace challenges, each person may need a different action plan for resolution. AI or artificial intelligence is making huge changes in the corporate wellness world. This technology is giving workers access to helpful and applicable information. This leads to an improved user experience based in a worker’s wellness goals and personality preferences.
Digital platforms are likely to grow and improve in the coming years. Asking for feedback from employees can help managers tailor the self-care experience. For instance, TotalWellness is now offering a fitness class on site. Before the classes were offered, the company gave its employees a survey. The survey made it clear that this was a form of self-care team members wanted. Employees were also asked which day(s) would work best for them and which fitness classes they preferred.
Financial wellness programs are becoming more common as well. The 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by Corporate Insight revealed that 14 percent of workers had access to financial well-being programs sponsored by employers. Of the 14 percent, 63 percent of employees used the resources available to them. However, 53 percent didn’t have a financial wellness program and wanted their bosses to provide one.
Money-related anxiety can affect the emotional and mental health of employees. This becomes evident in the workplace when productivity goes down. A financial wellness program can help team members with establishing a savings account, eliminating debt, and organizing a budget. Learning more about financial planning can also help workers prepare for retirement.
A number of employers are also embracing the concept of on-site clinics. The National Association of Worksite Health Clinics states that half of employers with over 5,000 workers have clinics on-site or near the office. By the year 2020, it is projected that about two-thirds of companies will have these facilities. The clinics allow employers to make the most of health insurance benefits. On-site clinics also help to control cost and provide top-notch care to employees. Mercer conducted a study; the results show 58 percent of employers say the clinic has been successful in assisting members with controlling serious health conditions.
Wellness professionals should regularly monitor and evaluate strategies for total health. Paying attention to new trends in workplace self-care will help to keep employees healthy and happy. This provides long-standing benefits for companies of all sizes.
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