Fit for Work – Five Emerging Trends in Employee Wellness to Know

Remember when work was work and home was home, even if employees occasionally fired up a laptop and worked remotely here and there? Now a new study by management consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates, reveals what all employers probably instinctively knew: as few as 3% of white collar workers want to be back in the office five days a week. Mobile technologies and remote productivity successes of the past couple of years have brought about a new workplace model, where the workplace will forever mean the corporate campus, an employee’s home or wherever they choose to log in and start their day. If you’re an HR manager dealing with this dynamic connectivity is no longer the issue, it’s about making sure all employees have the same, mandated access to health and wellness benefits and programs wherever they work. If that sounds familiar check out the five trends that are about to shape employee wellness and fitness in 2022 and beyond:


Mindfulness and Meditation

The U.S. spends approximately $113 billion a year on mental health care services. And with the workplace stresses and pressures of the past few years, mental health and associated missed work days, is a major contributor to lost productivity for companies. As you navigate the evolving world of on-site and at-home workers look for flexible tools that work wherever your staff members. Downloadable phone-apps that remind workers to take a break, stretch their legs and fit in a walk, which can be counter-intuitive at work where there may be no reason to leave the dining room table or home office with coffee and everything easily at hand. Find the meditation or calm focus app that works for your organization’s scale and needs.  Calm and Headspace for Work are among some of the more popular options.


Telehealth for All Employees

If the 2000s were about on-campus and on-site conveniences like fast clinics and pharmacies for employees, employee-focused Telehealth is the new frontier. Whether at your company headquarters or remote, every worker can access the same telehealth app, gaining access to equal services, care, advice and follow up. Partner options have developed too. The better ones will provide a true 360-degree experience for employer and employees, providing easy to schedule virtual appointments with physicians, mental health professionals and support teams that can help with employer admin. Look for programs that integrate seamlessly with corporate insurance providers on the back end and offer 24/7, easy dial-in for every employee everywhere when they need it.


Workouts Wherever – Bring Employees Together Virtually

At work your employees are getting in their steps to and from the lunch room, break areas and up and down stairs to meetings and work sessions. Or they’re hitting your workplace gym at, before or after to work to squeeze in a workout. At home, employees can be more sedentary and also isolated – an important issue to tackle when encouraging proactive healthy lifestyles to keep staff and your bottom line healthy.

Whether employing FitnessOnDemand or another digital content platform, virtual workouts and on-demand exercise content can be an easy way to ensure all employees wherever they may be working have access to the same tools and experiences to help them stay healthy and active. Whether workers are on-site or remote make sure to connect with them through email, intra-company chat and other tools to promote your on-demand offerings of instructor-guided classes or short form exercises that can be done at an employee’s convenience in the company gym or just as easily at home on a tablet, phone or flatscreen TV. Use your library of content too to bring employees together for an all-company event or challenge: a universal total hours worked out goal, group fitness class with at-home and on-site participants or a specialty class that uses a workplace or home treadmill or stationary bike. Employees don’t have to be in the same room or same state to connect virtually over fun, engaging fitness that can be built easily into any workday.


Self-Care Support

One of the biggest challenges with hybrid workforces can be helping provide consistent self-care for every employee. It’s easier on-site to check in on team members in your physical workspace to encourage breaks, healthy eating and socialization with colleagues, but remote workers can present more of a challenge. Set regular email, teams or zoom check-ins with every team member at set intervals, use Slack or another messenger app dedicated to wellness ideas, suggestions and discussion and make sure to provide all remote workers with online and email access to company wellness and self-care tips, advice and resources.


Health Equity

Health Equity – or the equal opportunity for every employee to reach their full health potential – is an absolute must in the new workplace. Best practices for developing health equity include conducting health risk assessments and biometric screenings for employees to determine healthcare and support needs for individuals and then creating plans and resources to give employees equal access. Things like access to preventative health checkups and programs to support employees with basic needs: transportation, time off for doctor and other health visits, nutritional support, mental health services and financial stability planning.