For many individuals, the new year is an opportunity to form novel habits, strive for ambitious goals, and commit to healthier behaviors to improve their physical and mental wellness.
As HR and CSR professionals plan employee well-being programming for 2024, it’s worth examining how workplace wellness may evolve over the next year. Here’s an overview of recent employee health research, trends, and creative ideas to inform your strategy.
1. Pair workplace wellness programming with social impact
Ample research shows that when people volunteer or make a community impact, they experience improved mental and physical health, happiness, and even life satisfaction.
That’s why many HR and CSR leaders from some of the largest corporations in the world are incorporating social impact experiences into their organization’s wellness initiatives.
With Visit.org’s social impact experiences, companies can host online, on-demand, or in-person events designed to support employee health and a carefully vetted global nonprofit.
A few fun experiences to explore include:
2. Harnessing AI
If there’s one buzzword of 2023, it’s artificial intelligence (AI). There are many opportunities for AI to enhance workplace wellness programs. One key possibility includes hyper-personalization to cater to the unique preferences of your employees.
From guided meditation recommendations to customized workouts, AI may be able to provide targeted wellness support.
If your organization uses project management software, AI could also help manage employee burnout by indicating when employees have been working too much overtime, spending too much of the work day in meetings, and much more.
3. Minimize “always on” expectations
Workplace wellness experts believe that remote work has exacerbated the expectation to constantly be available. “This expectation of ‘always on’ has gotten worse in this virtual, digital, hybrid world,” Jen Fisher, Deloitte’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, recently said on the Deloitte Insights podcast. “There are no spoken or written expectations around what [work] is supposed to look like.”
Not only does the expectation of an instant response heighten employee anxiety, it also hinders the amount of deep, focused time needed for complex tasks such as writing, creating a sales presentation, or communicating with customers.
One way companies can mitigate an “always on” culture is by encouraging teams to set boundaries around their work schedules — and holding executives accountable, too. When leaders send an email at 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, staff is going to feel like they need to address it right away, relates Fisher.
4. Make room for movement
The bad news: It’s well-documented that prolonged sitting is unhealthy. Studies show that sitting for more than 12-13 hours per day even increases risk of all-cause mortality — regardless if you exercise regularly.
But here’s the good news: A recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University found that taking just a five minute walk for every 30 minutes throughout the day can counteract the negative effects of sitting. Regular, short bouts of physical movement were especially effective at reducing blood pressure and balancing blood glucose levels.
One way to normalize movement breaks is to encourage your team to put up a Slack status indicating when they take a short walk. Chances are, it will remind your workforce to take a movement break, and permit employees to step away from the screen.
Schedule a quick call to learn how Visit.org can help enhance your workplace wellness initiatives!