Ever since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, we've seen some serious changes occur in the workplace, all within a short period of time.
While some companies are back to "business as usual," many organizations across the globe have made permanent changes to their employee policies and office spaces, many of which are related to work-life balance.
As one talent agency put it, "One of the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that employee wellness is now near the top of corporate America’s agenda."
Workplace wellness trends that are likely to continue into 2023 and beyond include greater allowance for remote work, more paid time off (PTO), and a growing emphasis on maintaining employees’ mental health.
Workplace Wellness Trends for 2022/2023 and Beyond
1.) Importance of Holistic Self-Care
It's now well-known that stressed out, overworked employees are very likely to fall short in terms of productivity and commitment to their employers. "Burn out" is a real problem in many industries, often resulting in employee turnover and lost work days due to illnesses and fatigue.
This is why many companies are now encouraging employees to take better care of their health holistically—meaning physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Managing employees’ stress levels has never been more important. To help people incorporate more self-care into their work days, taking regular breaks during the day–such as eating lunch while undistracted, going outside for fresh air, or making time for exercise–and taking enough PTO throughout the year, are now big priorities.
As an employee or employer, you can help to promote self-care in the workplace by prioritizing balance. This may mean slightly different things to different people, but it may include turning off your work phone and email once you're home from work, building time for play and hobbies into your weekly routine, and making a point to disconnect and take some extended time off now and then.
2.) Support for Mental Health Concerns
Another major workplace wellness trend we're seeing is growing interest in the mental well-being of employees.
While many companies have offered benefits related to physical wellness for some years now, such as help paying for gym or fitness memberships, more are now focusing on mental health support as well.
A growing number of companies now employ on-site therapists or human resources (HR) specialists who can help those dealing with stress, burn out, family issues, depression, or anxiety. "Wellness days," on-site mindfulness or meditation classes, and seminars focused on coping with stress (such as those related to finances) are other ways companies are helping their workers handle life's demands.
Additionally, telehealth services, (in which healthcare providers care for patients without an in-person office visit), are becoming increasingly common and likely to be covered by health insurance, including those that connect patients to therapists.
Telehealth appointments related to behavioral and mental health can help people struggling psychologically to seek professional help with less of a burden on their work schedule. This is a win-win for both workers and their employers.
3.) Greater Flexibility
If you worked in a typical office setting with roughly a 9-to-5 schedule prior to the pandemic, there's a good chance things look a bit different now. Remote work has become much more common, as well as flexible/hybrid schedules that allow employees to work from multiple locations.
Studies show that working from home (WFH) has both pros and cons, depending on the specific situation. While for some people WFH can lead to more distractions and stress, many find the option of having greater flexibility over their own schedule appealing.
Some research shows that when employees have more autonomy and are able to choose their own work hours and location, they're less likely to experience stress-related burnout, and may have better morale.
4.) Increased Collaboration
Considering that many people got accustomed to working from home during the pandemic, it's been a challenge for employers to get most of their staff back in the office everyday. This has led many companies to invest in creating "intentional spaces" within their offices that help employees to feel calmer, more productive, and more connected (all things that can be missing when working from home).
Examples of what this might look like in the office include: a cafe or eating area where teams can sit together and talk; interactive games such as foosball or ping pong to help people relax and play; and spaces dedicated to relaxation and reflection such as yoga, fitness, or meditation rooms where employees can take classes together or simply unwind.