Emerging Trends in Employee Well-Being

See also: Leading People

It’s a simple, well-known fact that the overall success of businesses depends on the success of their workers. As a result, employee well-being is absolutely crucial for both employees and the company as a whole - when employees are physically and mentally healthy, they’re more productive, engaged, and motivated to do well at work.

This works both ways, of course; when employees are in poor health, mentally or physically, it can have negative effects on the company they work for. Employees who are stressed, burnt out, or struggling with other health issues will be less productive, have more illness-related absences, and may be more likely to leave the company. Employees who are struggling tend to create a negative work environment, through no fault of their own, which can lead to decreased morale among the entire workforce.

The solution? Invest in employee well-being

Investing in employee well-being has numerous benefits for both the employees and the organisation that they work in. By providing useful resources and a practical support network for physical and mental health, companies can improve employee retention, reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and create a more generally positive work environment. Employees who have this kind of support are more likely to feel supported and valued by their employer, and as a result, are more likely to be motivated to work.

As we continue to navigate the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee well-being has become even more important. Here are some emerging trends in employee well-being in the UK.

Mental health support

Traditionally, mental health has been considered a taboo topic - especially in the workplace. Luckily, this is slowly starting to change, with an increasing amount of room being made for constructive dialogue to occur.

This is perhaps partly because mental health became such a major concern during the pandemic, with many employees experiencing increased stress and anxiety. Companies increasingly started to recognise the importance of providing mental health support to their employees - both for the employees themselves and for the organisation itself.

Mental health support can take a lot of different forms; it might include offering access to mental health professionals through employee health insurance programs, providing mental health training for managers, and accepting the legitimacy of mental health-related days off.

Flexible working arrangements

While remote working has steadily been rising for years now, the pandemic forced many companies to fully adopt remote working practices, which has led to a massive increase in flexible working arrangements. Companies are also starting to realise that employees value flexibility and are often actually more productive when they have control over their work schedules.

This trend is likely to continue, with many companies planning to offer hybrid working models that allow employees to work from home and the office. Employees get to save money on the commute and can work from the comfort of their own homes, while businesses can save money on office spaces by using hot-desking practices.

Physical health initiatives

Physical health initiatives are also steadily on the rise; organisations are starting to provide perks like gym memberships, yoga classes, and other fitness-related benefits like cycle to work schemes to promote a focus on physical health.

A lot of companies are also recognising that offices aren’t necessarily the comfiest places to work, implementing ergonomics programs to ensure that employees have a comfortable work environment. This often consists of providing ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and other equipment that reduces the risk of chronic injuries, both in home offices and at the workplace.

Financial well-being

With the cost of living crisis, financial stress is coming to have a significant impact on employee well-being, and companies are recognising the importance of offering financial well-being support initiatives.

In addition to paying competitive salaries, these initiatives can include providing financial education resources, offering premium retirement savings plans, and even providing access to independent financial advisors. By addressing the root causes of financial stress, organisations can help to ensure that employees aren’t unnecessarily stressed and feel supported by their workplace.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

A lot of industries have historically suffered from diversity issues. To tackle this head-on, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become increasingly important in recent years, and are now a key aspect of employee well-being.

A lot of organisations are actively focusing on creating a more diverse, inclusive workplace, which in turn can lead to increased employee engagement and satisfaction. Common DEI initiatives that employers are using include unconscious bias training, diverse hiring practices, and employee resource groups.

Technology-based solutions

Emerging and evolving technologies are changing the way we work, often for the better. Technology-based solutions are becoming increasingly popular for employee well-being initiatives, including through the adoption of online wellness platforms, mental health apps, and virtual well-being programs.

These solutions offer employees the flexibility to access well-being resources from anywhere, at any time. It’s also thought that they can help reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health support, making it more accessible for those who don’t necessarily feel comfortable going to a therapist in person.

Social responsibility

Finally, in a world where we’re more conscious than ever before of how often our common habits can have a negative impact on the world, corporate social responsibility has become an important aspect of employee well-being. Companies are recognising that their employees want to work for organisations that align with their values, to contribute to the greater good in some meaningful manner.

Placing a focus on social responsibility can include integrating initiatives such as corporate social responsibility programs, environmental sustainability efforts, and charitable missions. By promoting social responsibility, companies can often experience surprising increases in employee satisfaction, and attract a team of conscientious individuals to their organisation.

It’s not contentious to state that employee well-being is an essential aspect of any successful business - all that businesses need is to know how to improve employee well-being. These emerging trends demonstrate that companies are recognising the importance of supporting their employees’ mental, physical, and financial health, and creating a more diverse, inclusive, and socially responsible workplace.

By prioritising employee well-being, companies can improve productivity, reduce turnover rates, and create a more generally satisfied workforce that’s excited to come in to work each day.

About the Author

Adam Sherring is a highly respected professional in the Private Medical Insurance (PMI) industry and the Managing Director of Sante Partners, the owner of Healthplan.co.uk. With an extensive career spanning over two decades, Adam has dedicated his expertise to helping businesses create compelling employee benefit programmes that promote wellness and drive employee satisfaction.