With the importance of wellbeing at work making an impact after the Covid pandemic of 2020-2021, these are the top 8 things we expect to see in employee wellness trends in 2022:

1. A rise in employee mental health and beneficial training programs

Given there is still a stigma around discussing mental wellness at work, we’re seeing a push for organisations to provide employees with more support and education on how to better take care of themselves mentally.  This is bolstered by an increase in people losing trust in their employers after the pandemic. Many have found their employers have not been open or transparent about how their pandemic plans were being carried out.  The combination of employees feeling that they suddenly did not matter to their employers, and a lack of communication on the pandemic has created deep trust issues within many companies.

2. A rise in employee resource groups for mental wellness

Along with this increase in training and mental wellness support from employers, many employees are beginning to see the value of forming their own support groups that can help them get through tough times or encourage more open communication.  As a result, we’ll likely see a rise in organisations creating spaces for employees to do this outside of where they work, as well as incentivising employees to seek out these sorts of groups.

Female footballer cheering

3. The use of wellness as a bargaining chip for benefits packages

Ever seen those ads about how much an employer is willing to provide for their employees’ health and wellbeing?  Well, we’re going to start seeing this become a more common way for companies to attract and retain talent while also demonstrating their deeper commitment to the well-being of their employees.  This trend is something we’ve already seen in motion, however, it should continue to become increasingly important and mainstream over the next 5 years.

4. Focus on cultural change, engagement and leadership

The focus on employee wellness is not just about ensuring employees are comfortable and healthy, it’s also about creating a more engaged workforce.  This won’t be easy. It will involve employers focusing on the culture of their companies, how they work together as teams, and what kind of leadership support employees need.  This becomes incredibly important with the rise in an ageing population.  Companies need to start looking at how to retain their talent and keep them engaged beyond financial incentives, as it’s become clear that bonus checks can no longer be guaranteed in this changing economy.

A man stretching

5. Increased focus on preventative wellness services

Last year, in employee wellness trends, we saw the increase of Apps such as Revoola where users are able to learn more about their own health via daily check-ins that provide them with all the insights to make important changes in their lives. This is just one example of how wellness services are changing and becoming more personalised, data-rich, and helpful for employees.  As a result, we’re going to see a bigger push towards preventative wellness programs and more of a focus on what kinds of services employers can provide for their employees.

6. More focus on developing stronger work-life balance policies

Another growing concern for employers is helping employees find a better work-life balance, a growing employee wellness trend, especially in an age where people are expected to be more available than ever.  This is why we are expecting to see an increase in companies offering work-life balance policies that help employees better manage their time between work and life outside of the office. This may include more flexible initiatives around when/where employees can schedule meetings or actively encouraging employees to refrain from logging in to work after hours, etc.

Person meditating outdoors

7. More focus on mental wellness in the workplace

As corporations begin to better understand how mental well-being can affect an individual, their performance, and even the culture of an organisation – we are likely to see more companies invest in improving the mental well-being of employees.  While this will include more traditional efforts like supporting employee resource groups like those discussed above, it will also likely include initiatives such as offering more flexible WFH policies, coaching employees on how to better manage their mental well being, and investing in companies that create tools to help employees look after themselves.

8. More focus on positive psychology in the workplace

The big takeaway is this: health doesn’t only mean the absence of disease or infirmity, but the active presence of the components that allow people to live their best possible lives.  We are seeing so much emphasis on mental wellness in addition to physical wellness as more and more evidence continues to surface showing just how closely interconnected our minds are with our bodies.

A few ways we are already seeing this in action include:

Employers looking at developing a more positive culture encouraging optimism and gratitude among employees.  Some companies have even gone so far as to start paying their employees to do volunteer work or participate in community initiatives, as they’ve discovered that it leads to higher engagement and a happier workforce.  We’ve also seen a rise in companies focusing on happiness and well-being at work, which has been proven to increase employee productivity and reduce staff turnover rates.

In 2022, employers will have to change the way they think about health so that it means much more than just being free from disease or infirmity. They will have to implement policies that protect the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees.  Employers who are able to do this successfully will reap the benefits in terms of higher engagement rates amongst their workforce, improved performance and productivity, lower staff turnover rates – all things that contribute to a healthier company culture overall.