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Many leaders now consider workplace wellness and employee mental health a high priority, but employees aren't feeling it.

Deloitte's Wellbeing at Work survey highlights this disconnect. Most notably, 95% of executives and 92% of managers believe that employees would say that they care about employee wellbeing. But only 50% of employees would say this about the C-suite, and 68% about managers.

Here are some notable workplace wellness trends that might just help leaders strike the right chord with employees and make them feel as though leadership really does care.

Related Read: 10 Best Employee Wellness Platforms of 2024

Financial Wellness

First on our list of trends is financial wellness, as employees begin to look towards leaders for both support and education when it comes to better managing their personal finances. 

According to a 2023 survey from PwC, nearly half of employees who say they are financially stressed also indicated that their concerns about money distracted them at work and impacted their productivity.

In a fight to reduce the impact on employee productivity and performance, leaders should consider tuition reimbursements, financial literacy programs, and other financial incentives to support people in the workplace.

With inflation, the rising costs of living and exorbitant healthcare costs, financial well-being is set to become a more prominent issue in 2024 and beyond.

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Women's Health

Nearly half of all U.S. workers are women.

According to a ‘Women’s Health - Let’s talk about it’ survey by Gov.uk, 62% of respondents said a health condition or disability had impacted their experience at work.

What’s more, many respondents to the survey have called on employers to do more to encourage openness and discussions around women's health with line managers. 

In the workplace, each and every employee must be educated on women's health topics in 2022 and beyond. In fact, 67% of respondents from a Bupa survey said they’d be more honest about their symptoms with a female boss. This demonstrates the need for health education for all colleagues on topics of menopause, periods, sexual health testing, and more. 

With 8 out of 10 menopausal women unable to tell their employers why they had to take a day away from work, it’s clear that more needs to be done to normalize women's health.

Companies can go even further, by offering flexible working environments and safe spaces for women to alleviate stress and navigate their workplace wellbeing needs. An example being the repurpose of first aid rooms to become relaxation or quiet areas.

Ultimately, the lack of awareness around women's health concerns must be addressed more directly to create a more inclusive environment.

Holistic Wellness

Moving to holistic wellness, this approach to happier, healthier employees focuses on body, mind, social, and spirit. It is about recognizing that they are interconnected, and all have an influence on one another. 

holistic wellbeing graphic

In the workplace, this often translates to yoga classes, breathwork training, or even mental health consultations, all set up for employees to improve their wellbeing and happiness. 

By viewing employee wellness as much more than simply “checking in” with colleagues, and undertaking holistic treatments like meditation and yoga, so much more can be achieved when it comes to employee health and happiness. 

Employers who encourage their team to take up mindfulness practices and holistic activities can create a culture of health, and openness to outside-the-box wellness strategies. 

If you’re an HR professional or leader, perhaps begin asking questions to your employees on the following topics (this way, you can create a clear strategy of holistic wellbeing in the workplace):

  • Sleep hygiene
  • Fitness
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Mood tracking.

Managing Digital Wellbeing

Modern technology has helped revolutionize many aspects of life, and this includes how we work. According to an Owl labs study, globally, 16% of companies are entirely remote.

However, there hasn’t been much progress made in the way of employee wellness when it comes to app fatigue and screentime.

Despite improvements in telehealth and access to health screenings and wellness programs, companies need to make the most of technology trends in a way that promotes healthy lifestyles for employees.

There are numerous studies showing the impact of excessive screen time on mental health. There are many applications and software solutions that can monitor screen time and suggest more breaks are taken.

Employers should also ensure people are following working hour policies seriously, and aren’t overworking themselves from home, neglecting their need for physical activity and stress management.

This can be achieved through checking in with employees on a regular basis to discuss their digital wellbeing and habits that may pose a health risk if left unchecked.

Related Read: People Management Tips For New And Experienced Managers

Personalized Experience And Incentives

A one-size-fits-all approach really isn’t suitable for addressing the wellness needs of employees. 

One recent survey showed that 73% of respondents said they want a tailored benefits package. That means ticking a box on wellness offerings simply isn't going to cut it.

For some, an emphasis on retirement incentives and flexible working hours may be more appealing, whereas younger generations of workers may see subsidized gym memberships as their ideal choice.

It’s down to employers to personalize their employee experience, including the incentives and health benefits available to staff. 

Through a platform like Heka, members have access to thousands of well-being experiences and incentives. However, it all starts with the ‘check in’ questionnaire. This is where Heka finds out current wellbeing levels on an individual level to gain the insight to suggest tailored wellness offerings.

Companies such as Netflix, Microsoft, and Salesforce have developed robust employee benefits packages that focus on fertility, tuition support, on-campus fitness centers, and parenting initiatives.

Related Read: 10 Best Employee Experience Tools To Improve Engagement & Performance

The End Of Burnout Culture

If the global COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that burnout culture needs to end—and we may be on the brink of a big change.

In the height of 2020, conversations around mental health in the workplace began to take place for thousands of companies and employees struggling with isolation. On paper, work from home was great, but in practice, questions began to rise about the impact of flexible working on mental health.

However, this then raised issues of employees taking fewer breaks while working from home, and struggling with creativity and collaboration, to say nothing of long term impacts on physical health.

In fact, 95% of respondents to one survey said “microbreaks” had decreased while working from home, with more of us unable to break away from laptop screens. Suddenly, a work-life balance crisis had taken shape.

A few years on, we're now discussing the death of hustle culture and many people share a vision for wellness being more central to employer's thinking. Avoiding burnout, is now a priority of both employees and leaders alike.

For too long, it has been a status and badge of honor to be overworked and exhausted. This hustle mindset has seen thousands of employees burning out and having to step back from their working lives to focus on their overall health and wellness, thus increasing absenteeism and causing a strain on employee retention efforts.

It's time for that to change.

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Alex Hind
By Alex Hind

Alex Hind is the CEO and co-founder of Heka, an employee wellbeing platform which gives teams access to 1000s of personalized health and wellbeing benefits across the UK and beyond.