Employee wellness is more than just a buzzword in company handbooks. Instead, it is a concept that has been developed and moulded to fit a company’s culture, structure and mantra, while putting a focus on employees and their overall well-being.
In the past, many looked at wellness on a physiological level. Companies sought to provide gym memberships as a job perk, but it’s now grown to be so much more than that. Today, wellness programs are not just a perk but a form of preventative care that keeps employees healthy in the long run. In this article, we look at a few of the trends that could dictate where employee wellness is headed and the options that employers need to consider including in their programs.
Holistic approach to wellness
Wellness programs will become more than just a plan to support physical health. Instead, holistic wellness will become the norm for many companies. That means, taking care of not just employees’ physical well-being, but emotional and mental well-being, too. These holistic wellness programs will include things such as stress reduction activities – including financial support and education to help relieve financial stress – emotional health support, and assistance in eating and sleeping habits.
Mental health issues have long been a challenge in the workplace, with the increase in work-related stress and anxiety. Employers are now taking a holistic approach to help improve the mental health of their employees. This includes providing benefits such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and virtual care, but also paying attention to nutrition, diet and exercise and its support in improving both physical and mental health. Providing employees access to virtual platforms that provide on-demand treatment for mental health, nutrition and diet, including life coaching that focuses on personal and professional growth, are just some of the ways in which employers are helping their workforce.
Today’s digital era demands for us to be constantly connected, which has created issues around stress and our inability to unplug from work. With that said, mindful activities are becoming more and more popular for many company wellness plans as a way to disconnect from the digital noise and focus on self-care. This includes practicing daily meditation by providing funds that cover meditation classes, or encouraging employees to download and use meditation apps.
Some companies are going so far as to offer in-office gyms, or yoga, meditation and exercise classes for employees, rather than just providing gym memberships. Many are also offering wellness spending accounts that provide employees with funds to use towards wellness activities and exercises of their choice.
Mindful exercises help keep employees focused and less stressed, which boosts productivity and decreases absenteeism as a result. In fact, research suggests that mindfulness training has a positive impact in the workplace, as it improves job satisfaction and lowers health care costs.
An increase in personalization
Many of the companies that have been providing wellness programs in the past few years have taken a one-size-fits-all approach. We now know that this just doesn’t work for today’s multigenerational workforce. Employees want more choice and flexibility from their wellness program. This includes providing the ability for them to personalize the program to their own interests and needs.
This year, we will be seeing more companies using digital employee benefits platforms to fund wellness spending accounts, which are like an allowance for employees to use towards wellness-related expenses. These can include a number of wellness expenses from fitness facilities to mental health counselling. These allowance accounts let employees choose what services and activities they want to participate in, giving them more control over how they use their wellness benefits. That way, they’re not restricted to a single gym membership or in-office yoga class.
With Honeybee’s flexible Allowance Account platform, employers can fund wellness spending accounts for their employees, including other categories that help support their unique company culture, like fitness, financial aid, education, transportation, child care, pet care, and more. If you have 10 or more employees, you may qualify for a free subscription when you book a demo.