Nothing makes people rethink their health and wellbeing like a succession of hard knocks – and if we didn’t all know that before, we certainly do now, in the wake of assorted global and national turmoil.
The recent report Wellbeing Trends 2023, by Chamber member Westfield Health, gives great insight into how your business can get a head start on evolving workplace wellbeing needs in 2023, and we’ve condensed some of it for you below.
Inclusivity: going above and beyond
Inclusivity is now not just about the (very necessary) support needs occasioned by, say, disability or illness, but also by other characteristics and experiences that are part and parcel of many employees’ lives - pay gap, menopause, shared parental leave, religious practice, neurodiversity - and more.
Inevitably, taboos are starting to slip away, and honest conversations around previously undiscussed issues will become the (sometimes difficult) norm between you and your employees.
The outcome will need to be policies, actions, and measurable change - not just lip-service or virtue-signalling - that make people feel supported no matter who they are or how they work.
Financial wellbeing: salaries will rule
Perhaps unsurprisingly, financial concerns loom large in the report, borne out by some pretty stark statistics.
Therapist polls reveal that two thirds of respondents say cost of living worries are causing a decline in their mental health, whilst 61% of therapists say clients are anxious about whether they can afford to pay household bills.
The burning issue here for employers, of course, is that they risk losing top talent if they can’t keep that talent in a position of financial stability - and recruiting new talent to replace leavers is now more expensive than ever.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to raise salaries when your business is facing its own rising costs, but all the indications are that contingencies like employee support schemes just won’t retain staff effectively anymore.
Preventative health: people will drive change
Employees’ views on health have changed radically since the Covid pandemic – and the onus is on employers to respond to them.
Internet search data shows that interest in meaningful lifestyle changes has overtaken faddism, and interest in private medical insurance has doubled since 2020.
At the same time, more people are switching from wearables to in-depth digital health devices that can measure blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.
What’s clear here is that many are moving to a more preventative position on their health - so what can employers do to align with this?
Lunchtime gym classes, healthy food options, a standing desk setup – they all potentially have their place, but there’s also the challenge of supporting health and healthy conduct amongst remote workers and homeworkers, for whom you are of course also legally responsible.
Digital downtime is on the up
The digital economy brings its own health and wellbeing challenges – and your employees are now actively researching how to avoid them.
A marked increase in searches like “soft life”, and the rise of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon have demonstrated that many employees are now prepared to put self-care and wellbeing before the always-on, permanently connected digital work ethic.
Initiatives like designated quiet hours, “no meeting” days, and even a four-day working week can diminish the stress that digital is capable of exerting on people’s lives and work.
Once again, however, remote working and homeworking will remain a challenge to police.
For more information on how Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce can connect your business to experts and resources to help you through employee health, wellbeing, and other challenges in 2023 - and beyond - visit www.chamber-business.com, or call 01582 522448.