As the year 2021 came to a close, it’s good to take time to reflect. Thinking back on the progress you made (and the mistakes you learned from) is good fuel to burn on your journey into the new year.
It’s also a good time to look ahead. Pondering what’s to come can help you prepare and help guide your motivation toward tangible goals.
We’re pretty excited to see the direction workplace wellness is heading in 2022.
Here are the workplace wellness trends we’re expecting to become more popular this year.
More Financial Support
Workers around the world are standing up for their rights to be paid what their labor is worth. As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, we’re beginning to better understand the true consequences of employees not having the financial support they need. People stuck in survival mode can’t perform at their best. When people can thrive, however, they work miracles.
Many companies are already taking notice. Six years ago, CEO Dan Price slashed his salary to give everyone at his company a pay increase and his company is still thriving now, even amidst the COVID pandemic. Financially secure employees are happier, healthier, more creative, and fiercely loyal.
Increased Flexibility in and Out of the Office
For the past two years, a lot of people have been working from home. People worried that being out of the office would cause a nosedive in productivity but the opposite turned out to be true. With no commute and fewer interruptions, people are working fewer hours and getting more done. It’s easier than ever to weave work tasks between personal ones and people predict that, even after the pandemic is over, remote work options will be here to stay.
There is an important caveat, however. While remote work allows employees to be more flexible, it also makes it harder to distinguish work time and leisure time. But establishing boundaries—through auto-responders, disconnecting from work platforms after a certain time, and other means—can balance out that feeling of always being “on call.”
Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion
Another thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is just how easy it is for underrepresented groups to be left to fend for themselves when things suddenly get hard. But it also sparked a long-overdue conversation about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. McKinsey’s Diversity Wins report from 2020 concludes that workplace diversity is a clear indicator of a company’s health and vitality. More diverse teams bring more to the table in terms of creative thinking and problem-solving. Plus, diverse viewpoints help to make sure no one is left behind.
DE&I is an admittedly sensitive topic, and one that’s easy to sweep under the rug in favor of issues that feel more pressing. But ensuring an equitable workplace is a pressing issue, whether employers are ready to believe it or not. An inclusive workplace is the expectation and meeting that expectation can often help a company as much as falling short can harm it.
Greater Focus on “Whole-person” Wellness
Workplace wellness started with a fairly limited definition, typically focusing on one element of wellness, like stress reduction or healthy eating. Companies began to offer gym memberships and group meditation workshops. Vending machine junk food was replaced with healthier alternatives. And while small changes certainly add up over time (we would know!), this finger-in-the-dike approach to wellness simply isn’t enough to promote real long-term change. And companies are finally taking notice.
In 2022, we expect to see a boom in wellness programs that focus on the whole person rather than one or two dimensions of health. Healthy snacks and meditation workshops are turning into consultations with dietitians and on-demand therapy. Instead of giving people tools and leaving them to succeed on their own, companies are starting to offer more comprehensive support. When you get right down to it, a person’s health is a reflection of millions of intricately-moving parts. What affects your mood can affect your heart, your digestion, and your immune system, and vice versa. Treating the whole person, rather than their individual parts, simply makes more sense.
What Do You Think?
How many of these trends are you beginning to notice? What other trends are you expecting to crop up in 2022? Tell us your thoughts here or on social media!