According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses report that workforce health is of the utmost importance; 93 percent say that employee health is important to their bottom line. Unfortunately, only 22 percent currently offer a wellness program. Corporate wellness programs encourage employees to make good health decisions that help reduce healthcare costs and employee absenteeism. That explains why many companies are making wellness programs an essential component of their employee benefits package.
In August 2021, more than 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs, according to a JOLTS report by the Department of Labor (DOL). Some people have left the workforce entirely, while others left in pursuit of greater job security or better pay. The sudden move to remote work, coupled with the burdens of virtual education and childcare responsibilities, has led to a significant decline in the physical and mental health of many employees.
7 Important Notes On Employee Wellness Programs In 2022
Wellness programs in 2022 aim to help today’s flexible, hybrid workforce transition to the new ‘norm’ and prevent a continued high rate of employee turnover. Here is what all employers should know about employee wellness programs in the upcoming year.
1. There Will Be A Greater Focus On Mental Health
Mental health has become a serious topic of discussion since the start of the pandemic. A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that more than 40 percent of adults in the United States struggled with mental health and/or substance abuse during June 24-30, 2020. It is expected that this number is underreported and is likely to continue in an upwards motion in 2022. There are many ways that employers can include mental health services in their wellness programs, such as hiring a psychotherapist to provide onsite sessions, or providing employees with self-help tools that they can use to manage their own mental health.
2. Stress Management Resources Will Be More Widely Available
The January 2021 Stress Snapshot, conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association, found that 84 percent of adults felt at least one emotion associated with prolonged stress in the last two weeks of December 2020. The rapid transition, from an office to a home environment and back to a work environment, has caused many employees to experience stress and concern about their health, family and finances. Employee wellness programs in 2022 will include more resources designed to help employees better manage their stress, including nutritional guidance and relaxation tips. Companies may invest in a comfortable environment, a balanced agenda and improved communication.
3. Employers Will Have Greater Flexibility With Wellness Activities
Going into 2022, many employees continue to work remotely. In fact, a September Gallup update showed that of all full-time employees in the United States, 25 percent worked from home all of the time, and 20 percent worked from home part of the time. Scheduling in-person wellness activities can be challenging when a portion of the workforce remains at home. In the upcoming year, wellness programs will see a higher number of virtual wellness activities that employees can participate in from their internet-enabled devices. Virtual wellness activities aim to help employees remain healthy and connected no matter where they are currently working.
4. Companies Will Promote Nutritional Counseling
Nutritional counseling is an ongoing process in which a knowledgeable health professional, such as a registered dietician, works with individuals to assess their nutritional and overall health needs. Through careful evaluation, nutritional counselors can help employees make healthier choices and develop a plan that helps them make lasting changes and accomplish safe weight loss. Employers can incorporate nutritional counseling in their wellness programs in several ways, such as by having a registered dietician on-site, providing access to health apps and/or by offering rewards to staff to encourage positive behavior.
5. Access To Financial Wellness Tools Will Improve Financial Education
Many forward-thinking organizations will incorporate financial education and health into their corporate wellness program. There is a strong correlation between a person’s financial standing and their mental and physical health. Employees that have the tools necessary to learn about financial topics such as 401(k)s and IRAs will be better equipped to lower their debt and increase their wealth. Financial education as part of a wellness program can take many forms; employers may engage a financial professional to speak with employees about savings options. Some companies may implement a savings match program in which the employer matches every dollar saved by the employee. Businesses can also provide employees with savings tools, such as financial calculators.
6. Wellness Programs Will Shine The Spotlight On Mindfulness
While the practice of mindfulness and meditation has been around for many centuries, it has recently gained attention in the business world. These practices have been found to reduce anxiety, prevent depression, increase body satisfaction and enhance cognitive function. In a post-COVID workplace, employee wellness programs can greatly benefit from alternative health therapies that are designed to help workers build stress resistance, reduce distractions and improve thinking. There are many ways that employers can support employee mindfulness at work, such as by incorporating mindfulness in daily work activities or developing a mindfulness challenge that encourages participation at all levels.
7. Biometric Screenings Will Establish A Health Baseline
Biometric screenings are short health exams that include measurements including height, weight and waist circumference, typically conducted in-person but can be done virtually. In-person biometric screenings also include blood work that allows health providers to gauge a person’s general health. Virtual biometric screenings often contain digital questionnaires or surveys on health risks, habits or medications.
These screenings can be useful as they help employees establish a health baseline by identifying potential health risks and reducing existing ones. Biometric screenings should be performed regularly to help employees and their families stay healthier.
Speak With An Experienced Benefits Consultant
There are many reasons why employers consider corporate wellness programs for their workforce. These programs can help manage chronic disease in the workplace, boost employee morale, reduce absenteeism and increase overall job satisfaction. To learn more about employee wellness programs in 2022, schedule a consultation with a business benefits consultant at Business Benefits Group.