A New Year
The COVID-19 pandemic began at the beginning of 2020, which caused most employees to suddenly and unexpectedly transition to working remotely. This combined with fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic led to drastic increases in stress, anxiety, and depression. Then in 2021, employees had to deal with the on-again, off-again return-to-work plans. In fact, 2021 is now being referred to as the great wait. Return-to-work efforts were repeatedly pushed back due to new COVID-19 variants and employee morale has continued to suffer and anxiety has continued to increase.
So, what does all this mean for 2022? Since there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its ever emerging variants, many employers are considering switching to a permanent hybrid workplace. One thing is for sure, though, and that is 2022 will see a significant refocusing on employee well-being and well-being benefits.
2022 Well-Being Trends
Listed below are the top employee well-being trends that are predicted to be top priorities for employers in 2022.
After nearly two years of uncertainty, reaction, and scrambling to provide resources, mental health is finally becoming intentional. In a recent survey of employers at 494 organizations in the U.S., the global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson found that employers’ biggest well-being challenges amongst their employees are rising stress and burnout, and higher mental health-related claims. So in 2022, employers are planning to focus on helping employees manage stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Ideas for this include mindfulness and meditation classes, mental health coaching, access to mental health applications, training in stress management and resilience, as well as mental health webinars and workshops like those provided by Health Designs.
A goal for 2022 is to focus more on preventative care. This is in terms of both mental and physical health. This includes more one-on-one check ins with employees and monitoring them to recognize any mental health symptoms or triggers before they become a full blown mental health crisis. In addition, employers want to put an emphasis on preventive health screenings and checkups as well as provide tools and resources for employees to take charge of their health.
A 2021 Capital One CreditWise survey showed that 73% of Americans rank their finances as the most significant source of stress in their life. Poor financial health can lead to overall poor health, absenteeism and lower productivity. When looking at employee well-being in a more whole and holistic way, financial well-being is a key aspect. Given the hardships many people faced in 2020 and 2021, providing access to financial well-being programs and resources should be a top priority for employers.