Working conditions have undoubtedly changed during the pandemic, leaving a lasting impression on employees around the globe. While companies are taking steps to return to normal operations over the summer or in the fall, now is an opportune time to reflect on how to take a more holistic approach to employee wellbeing. As David Rice explains in his article, Employee Wellbeing Comes into Focus in 2021, there are 5 core elements to wellbeing:
· Social – meaningful relationships
· Career – enjoying work
· Physical – energy to succeed
· Community – enjoying where you live
· Financial – smart money management
For HR, taking a holistic approach means understanding how jobs impact employees’ lives overall and recognizing that employees who are satisfied in the areas above are going to be more effective at work. Let’s look at the most relevant wellness trends to get a sense for what benefits you could offer moving forward. Below are a few highlights from the 9 Workplace Wellness Trends to Watch Out for in 2021 by AIHR Digital:
Mental Health – Mental health has been thrust into the spotlight throughout the course of the pandemic, as stress levels increased and, for example, feelings of loneliness and/or depression occurred while people were physically secluded working from home. There are many ways to combat the stigma around mental health and make a significant impact, such as providing customized training programs on mental health fundamentals, combining EAP apps with fitness, and offering free sessions with a therapist.
Financial Wellness – “All in all, companies lose a lot of money due to their employees’ financial stress. In the US alone, businesses miss out on $500 billion a year because of this. So why not implement benefits that help relieve this stress?” One simple solution is to partner with an expert, such as a company that specializes in employee financial planning. You can also host workshops with guest speakers, assign e-learning courses, and give perks such as fertility assistance or contributions to student loan debt.
Telehealth – This is an obvious solution amidst a growing need for employees who prefer to seek care by way of virtual appointments with their health care providers. Consider offering telehealth options to give people access to answers during off hours when health centers are closed, and access 24/7 to information about health in general.
Family Programs – Family wellness is a hot topic that deserves attention, as parents continue to work from home, and some schools and day cares have not yet returned to full capacity. Try allowing flexible working arrangements, providing childcare referrals, or organizing online family events as a starting point.
To be a trendsetter in employee wellbeing, there’s no doubt HR departments must not only embrace and understand the 5 wellbeing elements, but accept them as being inextricably intertwined, and take a more holistic approach to wellness solutions in the future.