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COVID-19 Accelerates Workplace Wellness Trends

January 21, 2021

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted important areas of health that were being ignored for too long, such as mental and emotional wellbeing. These areas have been drawn to the forefront for employers.

Wellable’s 2021 Employee Wellness Industry Trends report explored the current perspectives of thousands of companies by surveying their advisors and health insurance brokers. As part of the research, the fourth annual survey explored three key areas: (i) investment trends, (ii) decision influencers, and (iii) vendor criteria. This year, the report also includes a special section dedicated to COVID-19 and its impact on the future of work and wellbeing

Notable findings include:

  • Mental health programs are seeing a rapid increase in adoption and investment as the pandemic is triggering and exacerbating mental health conditions. Specifically, a majority of employers are increasing their investment in mental health programs (88%), stress management and resilience (81%), and mindfulness and meditation (69%).
  • Telemedicine programs experienced one of the most significant increases in popularity of all wellness benefits. 87% of employers plan to invest more in the coming year—a full 25 percentage points higher than the previous year.
  • Considering employers’ heightened awareness of health concerns, almost all (92%) brokers believe that the safety measures, sanitary practices, and social distancing guidelines companies established during COVID-19 will remain to some degree even after the pandemic has subsided.
  • Almost all (94%) brokers expect that employers will expand their virtual wellness services.
  • 89% of brokers believe that employers will continue to offer flexible scheduling to support their caregiver-employees even after the pandemic.

“Building wellness programs that actually meet employee needs can be difficult in the most reliable of times but following what could only be described as the most volatile year in recent history, this task has become exponentially more complicated,” said Brighid Courtney, director of Wellable Labs, Wellable’s research and thought leadership group. “Organizations need to reevaluate their definition of wellness and how they can make a difference in employee lives.”

If you are considering implanting or expanding your organization’s wellness program, consider the eight facets of wellbeing:

  • Physical – fitness, nutrition, health
  • Emotional – handling stress, managing emotions
  • Financial – managing finances, financial stability
  • Social – social interactions, social network
  • Occupational – satisfaction, fulfillment, and contentment with work
  • Purpose – spiritual well-being
  • Intellectual – scholastic, cultural, and community activities
  • Environmental – sustainable living

Start simple by addressing the three main components of any wellness/wellbeing program, which are physical, emotional, and financial.  You can always build on to your wellness program as time goes on.

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