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5 workplace wellness trends in 2021

Workplace wellness and health benefits used to be considered as nice perks for employees. Employers who provided these benefits were seen as serious about their duty of care. Plus, they helped companies attract talent. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic changed things. All of a sudden health and healthcare were on everyone’s mind. Employees needed benefits and support for things they might have never thought about before, including mental health and remote access to healthcare.

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While many of the tools employees were suddenly seeking already exist, it’s the accelerated and widespread adoption that is new. Are you going over your existing employee wellness programs benefits or looking for corporate wellness program ideas? The 5 workplace wellness trends in 2021 covered in this Pacific Prime article will help.

Employee health and wellness benefits: Why they matter

Workplace wellness programs are implemented to ensure that the health of your workforce is not at risk. While standard employee benefits include health insurance, and extended medical leaves, and healthcare financing schemes, that simply isn’t enough.

Through workplace wellness programs, you can ensure your employees have a healthy workplace. This can be done by offering various health activities throughout the workday to enhance employees’ wellbeing. Some benefits you need to know about corporate wellness programs include:

  • Improved employee health behavior
  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased employee absenteeism
  • Reduced elevated health risks
  • Lowered medical costs
  • Recruitment
  • Employee retention

Further reading: Metrics for evaluating your employee wellness program

A workplace wellness tip is that free healthy food at work and gym memberships are not the most relevant benefits to offer your employees this year. Let’s take a look at the top workplace wellness trends for 2021.

1. Mental health

Mental health benefits have been on the rise in recent years. In 2020, employees had to suddenly work from home, and stress and anxiety levels were high as people were affected by pay cuts and job losses. On top of that, many were worried about whether they would keep their jobs.

Most employers realize this and have started to incorporate mental health programs at work. This year will see more and more employers investing in the mental health of their workforce. After all, employees cannot be productive at work if they are in the wrong headspace. Investing in mental health programs at work is a trend that will significantly influence the future of workplace wellness programs, and one that ought to stay.

2. Telehealth

Telehealth, or telemedicine, is essentially a system that makes it possible for healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients via telecommunication technology. With telemedicine, the healthcare worker and patient are not in physical contact. It’s not surprising that telehealth gained worldwide popularity after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Since telehealth makes it easy to receive healthcare and diagnosis while practicing social distancing, this trend is one that most employers will include as part of their workplace wellness program. Telehealth benefits include virtual appointments and 24/7 access to health information.

3. Stress management

Even though stress management could fall under mental health benefits, it is a workplace wellness trend that deserves its own mention this year. It’s sad to say that workplace stress was all too common for employees even before the pandemic. However, the pandemic and heightened stress and anxiety levels made the need for incorporating stress management programs more apparent.

These programs help employees feel reassured. Regardless of whether they are stressed due to personal or work reasons, stress management programs give them a safe space to express and learn how to cope with stress. Since stress can result in mental and physical health issues, it only makes sense for companies to provide this type of employee benefit.

4. Financial wellness

Employers have been discussing employee financial wellness benefits for some time now. Financial wellness is basically an individual’s overall financial health and implies not having stress related to money. The truth is that most employees are concerned about their finances. The pandemic has only increased their financial stress, with salaries being reduced while the cost of living remains the same.

Considering how stressful the pandemic has been on the workforce, creating a financial wellness program makes more sense than ever. Some corporate wellness program examples with financial wellness benefits include financial wellness tools, financial planning education workshops, and extended paid leave.

5. Flexible workplace design

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the workplace on a global scale. For example, face masks and plexiglass have become essential for key workers in customer-facing roles. Similarly, those who can work from home have had to adapt their living rooms into offices. Eventually, however, many office workers will go back to their former workplace for at least a few days a week.

It isn’t surprising that flexible workplace design is one of the leading workplace wellness trends in 2021. Employers are reevaluating their office design to make sure that their employees are safe. Flexible workplace design examples include:

  • Office design that ensures social distancing
  • Ensuring safety and physical comfort at the office
  • Allocated home office budget

With 68% of employees globally saying they do not feel entirely safe returning to the office, this trend only makes sense. Additionally, 75% of those working remotely feel the same. 23% of remote workers also said they would prefer to look for a new job than return to an office that didn’t have the necessary safety measures in place.

When it comes to the wellbeing of your workforce, these are the corporate wellness trends to look out for in 2021. Even though these trends are undeniably influenced by events from both 2020 and 2021, they are not going anywhere. The latest trends make it clear that a holistic approach to employee wellbeing is the way forward.

Having a workplace wellness program in place is ideal for both employers and employees, and 2021 is likely to be the year that more organizations will embrace workplace wellness trends. If you don’t already have a program in place, then there’s no better time than now to get help designing one.

As a leading insurance and employee benefits broker, Pacific Prime is your one-stop source for corporate health insurance plans, employee benefits solutions, and more. We help organizations design and implement tailored employee benefits that meet their unique needs and budget. Contact our corporate team to arrange a consultation and get personalized advice today.

Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs
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