According to The Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment survey and Forbes, 68% of HR leaders gave employee mental health and wellbeing a top priority rating. This survey also revealed that the corporate wellbeing market is expected to reach approximately $20.4 billion in the U.S. and is predicted to reach $87.4 billion over the next four years.
Based on these findings, investing in an employee wellness program is now essential for most, if not all, organizations. Below are five important reasons why.
- Mental health has been compromised by the uncertainties of the pandemic:
The last two years of the pandemic have created a great deal of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other mental health challenges for many people. Based on a Gallup research study, 60% of Americans feel daily stress and worry, and 78% say Covid-19 has been a significant source of stress in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association. Therefore, it’s important for companies and other organizations to consider their employees as whole people. They should provide wellness programs and resources that address mental health because employee health, happiness, engagement, and productivity at work are heavily impacted by it.
- Remote work has created pros and cons for work-life balance:
When the world shut down, many companies had no choice but to require all employees to work from home. There were certainly some positive outcomes stemming from this arrangement, such as the disappearance of daily commutes, more flexibility to balance work, family, and household obligations, and the ability to effectively hire and work with employees from anywhere.
However, the negative outcomes have included a lack of boundaries between personal and professional lives, Zoom fatigue, and isolation. Providing employees with virtual nutrition and healthy recipe workshops, step challenges, mindfulness sessions, and even safe, outdoor gatherings in various locations could help alleviate some of these challenges employees have been facing for quite some time now.
- Employee engagement is often impacted by evolving career motivations, interests, and passions:
Keeping employees engaged over many years and throughout their careers can be challenging. As employees progress through life, their motivations, interests, and passions could very well evolve and change. Also, the pandemic has certainly made people evaluate their health, priorities, purpose, and life in ways they may never have before.
This time of self-reflection can create a desire for change and transformation. And as a result, employers must provide customized approaches to employee engagement in order to meet them where they are now and support where they want to go in the future. Having regular career development conversations across teams, mentorship programs, strengths-based coaching sessions, and tools for career planning and growth are all essential to keeping employees engaged through various life stages and in response to what might be happening in the world.
- Workplace culture will forever be changed by the pandemic:
As we look ahead to the future, the word “hybrid work” has been used quite frequently in articles, podcasts, webinars, conferences, and other workplace discussions. Organizations and employees alike, are learning that having a balance of remote and in-person work could prove to be very beneficial.
Employees can have flexibility in their schedules and minimize commutes and still have some in-person interactions in order to collaborate, build strong working relationships, and bond with their teams. In addition, employee wellbeing has quickly gone from being a nice-to-have to a must-have in most organizations. If companies want to stay competitive and attract and retain talent, it’s imperative they have effective employee wellness programs in place. The great resignation has certainly made it very apparent that employees aren’t afraid to take their skills elsewhere if they don’t feel valued and engaged at work.
- Stress is the cause of many diseases and work is often the source of stress:
According to the American Medical Association, stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illnesses and diseases. Stress releases the hormone cortisol and also causes inflammation in the body. It can create rapid heart rates, high blood pressure, digestive issues, mood swings and more, which can ultimately lead to physical and mental illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, anxiety and depression. While there are many factors in life that can cause stress, work is a big one. For this reason, organizations must take on the responsibility of helping employees alleviate workplace stress through creating a strong culture embedded in wellness and having a high regard for employee health.
For all of these reasons, prioritizing employee wellness programs in 2022 and beyond is a must. Start small with a survey to assess what employees need and want and then create an effective and flexible wellness program accordingly!
Written by Reena Vokoun.
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