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Top employee wellness trends for 2023

Remote and hybrid work will continue to trend in 2023
Employees will continue to enjoy remote work in 2023.

Chances are that many of your employees are making plans to be healthier and happier in 2023. That’s why it’s an optimal time to re-examine how your company can support the wellness goals of your workforce and corporate community.

Workplace wellness looks different today than it did even six months ago. Many employees feel anxious about their job security due to a changing economic landscape. And more than two out of every five U.S. workers suffer from burnout — one of the major drivers of attrition, according to a 2022 Future Forum survey.

It’s essential for HR, social responsibility, ESG, and employee engagement teams to evolve the concept of corporate wellness to serve the needs of modern employees. “Lots of people still think of wellness programs as being narrowly focused on employee health and safety,” explains Scott Behson, management professor and author of The Whole-Person Workplace: Building Better Workplaces through Work-Life, Wellness, and Employee Support (Authors Place Press, 2021). “More companies now recognize that the end goal is comprehensive employee well-being, which includes financial stability, career development, physical and mental health, and support for caregiving, social, and community priorities.”

In 2023, here are seven ways organizations will pioneer programs to build workplace cultures that meaningfully support employee wellness.

1. Continued focus on supporting mental health

For years, innovative people teams have increased programming to support mental health. Such support can range from choosing healthcare plans that cover providers such as therapists to hosting meditation and mindfulness workshops during office hours. “The most important trend we’ll see in 2023 is the increased awareness and destigmatization of employee mental health,” says Behson.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, companies that want to appeal to young talent may focus even more on upping mental health benefits: a 2022 survey found that 92% of college seniors reported that companies should offer mental and emotional health support.

2. Creative PTO policies

Unlimited paid time off (UPTO) — a concept that was pioneered by early Silicon Valley startups aiming to attract top talent — is growing in popularity across all industries and business types. Even well-established companies are adopting unlimited PTO. In 2022, Goldman Sachs announced a UPTO policy for senior employees.

However, unlimited PTO isn’t the end-all be-all to flexible vacation policies. If a company doesn't pair unlimited PTO with a culture of trust, rest, and recharge, it could backfire. Research suggests that such ambiguous vacation policies can cause employees to take less time off than traditional vacation policies, which can lead to burnout and lack of work-life balance.

That’s why getting creative with PTO is a key trend for 2023.

Perks may include monthly floating holidays that employees can use whenever they want, a minimum number of required vacation days, and — as recently implemented — unlimited social impact time off (SITO), in which employees may take any day off to volunteer, donate their time to a worthy cause, or make an impact in their community.

5. Optimized hybrid and remote work

The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive shifts in where — and how — employees work. While some companies have reopened offices as COVID restrictions eased, one thing is for certain: employees are used to remote and hybrid work, and they’ll continue to demand flexibility from their employers. According to a 2022 McKinsey study, when people have the opportunity to work flexibly, 87% of them take it.

However, with all of the benefits that hybrid work proffers, businesses must also contend with the negative aspects of a dispersed workforce, which include a lack of connection to their colleagues, company, and community.

The fix? Behson says that companies should examine and discuss the pros and cons of both the pre-pandemic workplace and the COVID-era workplace, and incorporate the best aspects from both models. This may mean having an in-person office, and using it strategically.

“We need to use in-office days for collaboration, culture, and new employee integration while allowing more autonomy in where, when, and how people accomplish their work,” he explains. “It will take lots of wise planning and continuing adaptability, but it can lead to the best of both workplace approaches.”

6. Support and fund employee resource groups (ERGs)

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are a powerful asset when it comes to improving professional growth, sustainability, community social impact, wellness, and diversity and inclusion. They’re also important evangelists of positive company culture.

According to a study conducted by Salesforce, benefits of ERGs include boosting company culture, championing DEI, buoying retention efforts, and strengthening employee well-being and mental health.

In 2023, top companies will ensure that ERGs are adequately supported, and have the resources and partners to provide annual ERG programming aligned with their goals and objectives.

7. Death to the grind culture

Burnout is widespread. According to Pause, Pivot, or Plan: HR Trends of 2023, a report by isolved, 69% of employees say they have experienced burnout over the past year. While grind or hustle culture — the act of working harder, longer, and faster above all else — may have been glorified in days past, forward-thinking companies will laud work-life balance.

That means encouraging employees to pause Slack notifications after regular work hours, taking sick days if they are feeling unwell (even if they’re remote), using their vacation days, and lauding balance rather than productivity at all costs.

By rejecting grind culture, companies will build a workforce that is more engaged, dedicated, healthy, and ultimately more invested in an organization’s mission.

Build a comprehensive workplace wellness program

Workplace wellness will continue to evolve to meet the unique needs of modern employees. New workplace wellness trends of 2023 include supporting mental health, getting creative with PTO, and leveraging in-office days and in-person gatherings to build employee engagement and connection.

Companies will also ramp up their ERG funding so that key employee initiatives such as DEI, sustainability, well-being, and professional development can flourish, and balancing work and life will be celebrated. Building a comprehensive workplace wellness program is one way to ensure that a workforce is healthy, content, and engaged.

Learn how you can scale your social impact, workplace wellness, and employee engagement initiatives with Reach out to schedule a demo.


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