With two national lockdowns, further local restrictions and 60% of employees within the UK now working from home - 2020 was a bit of a strange year for us all. Among the challenges organisations and professionals faced last year, none were more important than having the way we work shifted.
Professionals quickly learnt how to shift to video conferencing opposed to in person, and also how to juggle parenting with work meetings. With all of these changes, HR leaders have had a lot to cope with. Not only this, but it has been an opportunity to change and improve their corporate wellness. With the Covid pandemic, it has meant that many organisations have had to make revisions of their employee policy for mental wellbeing. According to Benenden Health, only 7% of bosses have engaged with this need for change and provided additional support for the pandemic to their existing wellbeing policy - this needs to change for corporate wellness to improve.
This blog outlines what you need to know about corporate wellness, and the trends we can expect to see take place this year. In 2020, we found that many workers and clients struggled with the adjustment of working from home and the lack of in person communication. We want to help those out there by providing what we believe will be the top trends of this year when it comes to corporate wellness.
So, what does 2021 have in store for us and how can it impact corporate wellness?
Corporate wellness has been a hot topic in the past year, and for good reason. Corporate wellness is essentially how your workers health and wellbeing is, whilst working. This is a major concern for many organisations, as it’s something the company can help with and plan strategies around. Harvard has found that for every dollar that is spent towards the wellness of employees, medical costs fall $3.27 and absenteeism drops $2.73. With three billion people on the planet, only 40% of them report being happy at work. With these rather alarming statistics, it just shows that corporate wellness is a concern, especially when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
Employee engagement and wellness is more than just a ping pong table in the office and free lunches, it’s all about creating a culture and environment where your employees can thrive and improve their health and wellbeing at work. It’s important for those within the HR sector to have a handle of the trends now, so you’re able to plan strategic moves and best look after your team in 2021 and beyond. It’s important to ensure that you have a workforce that is resilient, healthy, engaged and motivated to help your business to thrive.
Here are the top trends we can expect to see of corporate wellness in 2021:
1. Increase of Awareness
After the year we all had in 2020, I think there’s been a massive increase in concern for workplace wellbeing and the general mental wellness of people. This is something we can expect to see in the next year, an increase in awareness of corporate wellness. Already there have been 20% year-on-year increases in average UK spending on health and wellness. As well as this, the number of nature focused activities have doubled in the past year after proven scientific studies showing the effects nature has on mental health. With the pandemic in full swing, I think we can expect to see more awareness surrounding the topic with more companies becoming more engaged with wanting to improve the wellness of their staff. The current market size of corporate wellness was £526 million in 2020, and is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2027 so the industry is certainly growing.
2. A Focus on Mental Health
Mental health was a cause for concern last year, with massive changes in people's schedules, daily agendas and environment. It goes without saying that the last year has been one of the most challenging times that organisations have faced in a generation. According to a recent Bupa study, 51% of employees who were questioned about mental health said their poor mental health was caused last year due to pressure. Similarly, the mental health of employers is on the decline too. 30% of employers in 2020 have agreed they keep their mental health issues to themselves, up from 27% in 2019. Although the last year has been difficult for organisations, the way that they have started to manage mental health has improved, with employees feeling more comfortable talking with their employers.
Addressing the mental health concerns of employees will be a top priority for organisations, with the media mental health and wellness has had, it will be a top concern for organisations. It will be important for employers to learn how to positively deal with related issues and other emotions.
A focus on mental health can absolutely be seen as a trend this year, I think employers will find new ways to handle mental health disruptions that could be caused by the pandemic or from work. Employers will need to be prepared to face fear, alcoholism, social isolation, depression and everything in between. It has been found that the signs of depression among US adults tripled since the beginning of the pandemic, so this will be a trend that will start to contribute towards the improvement of corporate wellness.
3. Increase of Organisational DE&I
Diversity, equality and inclusion are corporate buzzwords for some companies, however other companies celebrate and encourage this within their workforce to create a stronger and better place of work. More conversations will be happening around this topic, and more action will be taken to ensure workplaces have diversity, equality and inclusion will be driven to the top as a core value. Deloitte recently shared that the business and social imperatives for diversity and inclusion have become more apparent since the pandemic.
Linking in with this, change culture will be a top trend of 2021, with many consumer campaigns targeting companies that do not offer a diverse and inclusive initiatives will be closely watched. For DE&I to truly become part of an organisation, it must be integrated into everything a company does, including their corporate wellness programmes.
With the recent outrage of the Sainsbury's Christmas advert, it proves that the inclusion and diversity of workplaces are improving and on the rise, however the attitude towards them is not. This is a trend I expect to see this year, workplaces to be more inclusive and therefore an improved corporate wellness.
With the new year in full swing, so far I’ve learnt employers aren't simply sitting back and watching their workforce struggle with these concerns. Instead, workplaces are progressing to taking action and planning key strategies to improve their corporate strategy.
We can expect to see an increase in the awareness of corporate wellness, as well as the increase of mental health consideration. DE&I will be increasing within workplaces, which will also contribute to employees' wellness.
Are there any key trends of corporate wellness you see for 2021?
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