Wellness in the workplace has recently been gaining more momentum, as companies work to reinforce a healthy work culture to boost productivity, satisfaction, and predominantly, employee retention. Read on for essential workplace wellness trends that will help to improve your employees’ wellbeing and facilitate growth for your business.
Corporates and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Asia Pacific region are facing a new wave of workplace wellness trends following the economic recession triggered by the pandemic. The changing dynamics have prompted major reforms to enforce positive company culture for employees to thrive, and for management to reduce employee turnover.
According to Qualtrics’ 2022 Employee Experience Trends Report, employees in APAC have expressed a lower intent to stay at their current jobs, drastically dropping by 74% in 2021, and 66% in 2022 already. Millennials and Gen Zs share different workplace values and norms from previous generations, prioritising mental wellbeing, equality, and opportunities, which explains the recent job fluctuations. In response, organisations are seeking ways to improve the employee experience and take a holistic approach to foster a strong workplace culture.
Workplace wellness focuses on enhancing different aspects of working life, from an organisation’s environment and having a sense of belonging, to company policies and opportunities abetting the quality and consistency of work. The four primary pillars known as the backbone of corporate wellness programmes explore the physical, social, emotional, and financial prospects of one’s health and wellbeing. Companies implementing such a model can effectively reinforce a thriving workforce for increased employee productivity, engagement, and hence, profitability.
Building a successful business does not happen overnight, and though there is no secret formula to it, workforce wellbeing could be the stepping stone to fostering a robust organisational culture. Here are some essential workplace wellness trends for a prosperous and self-sustaining business.
1. Mental Health Benefits
During the pandemic, in 2020, many faced abrupt layoffs, while others were forced to adjust to the inconsistent hours of working from home (WFH). According to a 2020 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Covid-19 pandemic expunged some 81 million jobs in 2020, with up to a 10% decline in the overall labour income in the APAC region. Workers and employers faced immense pressure, work-induced stress and anxiety, and a lingering sense of uncertainty for the future.
The deteriorating state of the labour market pushed companies to rethink long-term solutions for the wellbeing of their employees. Some of the major methods incorporated were introducing inclusive work culture, open communication, and most importantly, mental health benefits and policies. Implementing employee wellness initiatives brings numerous benefits, including reduced healthcare costs, a stable work environment, increased productivity and morale, and lower absenteeism.
Managers can determine the needs of their employees, and adjust wellness strategies to better suit their wellbeing goals. Hosting mental health events and seminars is another way to start a conversation within your network.
External programmes, such as the Mind Health Programme developed by AXA which is a progressive mental health programme in Hong Kong, can be adopted by corporates. They facilitate workplace wellbeing by addressing issues, prevention through education, and offering a support network. AXA’s suite package is personalised for each company based on its models and needs.
2. Digital Wellness Assistance
Remote working arrangements have not only sped the shift towards technological innovation, it drove companies to digitise their businesses to keep up with this trend. Beyond digital adoption on an organisational level, companies are tapping into digital wellbeing tools for a mindful and constructive workplace. To further avoid WFH slumps and maintain productivity amongst employees, adopting digital wellness services could be an advantageous solution for both parties.
TeleHealth technology for workplace wellness is designed to promote a healthy work-life balance, as well as employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. While there are plenty of ways to incorporate a digital wellness model in a business, some benefits include mental health access through online platforms for employees to stay well-informed on their progress anywhere, anytime, 24/7 virtual assistance, and a discreet and safe space allowing employees to openly address workplace issues to aid-in conflict resolution.
Ami is Asia’s first human-centric mental wellness platform, which promotes workplace wellness through revitalising and destigmatising mental health. Their AI-driven technology and a team of expert wellness couches commit to providing a safe and seamless space to decompress, by offering personalised sessions for employees.
3. Increase Workplace Flexibility
Witnessing the modern evolution of work, companies are attempting to find a “new normal” as they reevaluate their organisational structure and strategies, stepping into the post-pandemic future. Many businesses consider flexibility as an essential component to reinstate in the modern workplace, while others still struggle with the notion. However, one thing is certain- traditional practices will not work anymore.
A growing percentage of employees in Southeast Asian countries have expressed their preference for flexible work arrangements. According to the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey, 32% of the workers surveyed preferred to work from anywhere, 29% suggested working remotely full-time, while 23% chose a hybrid work arrangement.
While flexible work supports an improved work-life balance, it brings in additional benefits for a company. Empowering employees with workplace autonomy, improve employee productivity and creativity, a sense of satisfaction, and fosters a healthy work culture.
Strategies for Increasing Workplace Flexibility
Introducing flexible work schedules for employees to factor in their personal engagements and obligations, given they commit to the required hours, and building a trusting environment where workers are encouraged to work remotely are some ways to incorporate flexibility in the workplace. An enhanced telecommunication network within the structure will also better facilitate remote work. Also, companies can consider freelance or part-time work arrangements to provide their talents with more flexibility, while being able to maintain task completion rates.
4. Financial Wellness
Staff financial wellness is now on the top of corporate welfare strategies in Asia to attract and retain key employees. Financial security and salary reductions are the leading causes of stress amongst employees, with the rising cost of living, increased utility expenses, and out-of-pocket medical fees.
Although the current recession has concerned businesses with declining revenue and profits, raising wages is often not seen as an option. Taking that into account, corporations can support their employees by developing and implementing targeted financial wellbeing and savings initiatives.
How to Implement Viable Financial Wellbeing Measures
Organising wealth management workshops and seminars will inform and educate employees on the importance of financial planning and controlling day-to-day expenses while partnering with financial and insurance planning firms, that can provide an employee discount for their services will help to improve financial wellness.
Contribute to your employee’s healthcare savings accounts, enabling them to save some money. Allocate retirement savings plans and programmes, or other investment choices to incentivise participation amongst employees, empowering them to save for their future.
The award-winning CXA Group is known for their corporate wellness services, as Asia’s one-stop, AI data-enabled platform for health, wealth and wellness security at workplaces. Its digital insurance and wellness marketplace offers personalised plans with the best-in-class workplace health and wellness programmes for companies.
5. Focus on Preventive Measures
Stress-related burnout not only minimises employee wellbeing, performance, and productivity, but it also raises healthcare and claim costs covered by companies. Early detection of stress-inducing factors and underlying health conditions at the workplace can enable management to effectively prevent further escalation.
Embracing preventive measures in a corporate wellness programme promotes employee wellbeing and constructs a healthier workforce through initiating a holistic work environment. While prevention requires employers to address workplace occupational safety and health standards, it also builds on the physical, mental, as well as financial aspects of wellbeing.
Preventive Measures That Will Enable Workplace Wellness
Incorporating all-round safety and healthcare measures at the workplace to avoid avertable injuries and stress alongside training management to recognise, examine, and resolve health challenges within their best capabilities are both measures that can be taken to enable workplace wellness.
Furthermore, offering on-the-go counselling services for employees to discuss and address work-related issues, and under current circumstances, ensuring regular company health screenings, vaccines, and immunisations, such as the Covid-19 vaccine, will also support the health of your staff.
6. ESG Business Model
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies, while empowering businesses to be more sustainable and resilient, have proven to facilitate workplace wellness through accountability and transparency. ESG has gained significant traction amidst the ongoing pandemic and is regarded as a measurable substitute to the traditional corporate social responsibility (CSP), with its popularity attributed to the shifting priority of employees to health and wellbeing.
According to a survey by Mojodomo Holdings Limited, it revealed that over 90% of respondents believe that ESG values align with their own values. Additionally, the integration of an ESG framework could effectively facilitate emotional, physical, and social wellbeing as a healthy work environment accentuates employee productivity, creativity, and contentment at the workplace.
The one-time costs associated with the project design should be seen as investments into workforce retention, and overall impact, which will create a higher value over time through its extensive role in workplace wellbeing.
Incorporating Workplace Wellness in an ESG Model
Integrating an ESG blueprint as the groundwork for the design elements of workplaces, including accenting natural features, such as access to sunlight, greenery, and acoustics will help to encourage employee wellbeing in the workspace. Consider connectivity within the workplace and set a quantifiable standard for governing company policies and practices.
Companies should start by asking the important question of what truly needs reform in the workplace, in order to retain their employees and enable them to prosper in their respective roles.