Work & Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing trends to watch out for in 2018

4 min read

09 January 2018

Former special projects journalist

With business owners increasingly aware of improved employee health benefits, expect wellbeing trends and initiatives to become more prevalent in the coming months.

It goes without saying that when an employee is sick, they’re not going to be at their most productive. Absenteeism means that remaining employees are left to pick up the slack, and overall a business is likely to be operating less efficiently when it’s down a team member.

However, presenteeism is also a factor – this is when employees come to work when really, they should be off sick. Presenteeism risks spreading illnesses to the rest of the workforce, and also creates a more stressful company culture.

Stress is in fact one of the biggest causes of employee absence. In fact, mental health is starting to appear on more and more employers’ radars.

To help tackle these wide-ranging issues, expect to see more of these wellbeing trends in 2018:

• A drive to overcome mental health stigma: There is still a stigma associated with mental health, and many employees are still not comfortable speaking to their bosses about it. In fact, 64 per cent of employees would be worried their managers would judge them if they spoke to them about mental health concerns. Businesses can tackle the stigma by raising awareness, making literature available to staff, encouraging an open culture within the business, or even offering training
• Openness to mindfulness: Mindfulness is a kind of meditation that focuses on breathing as a way to help us return to the present moment – to allow thoughts and anxieties to come and pass without judgement, and to gain a sense of perspective. Mindfulness is having a moment right now, and there are apps you can download to encourage you to take ten minutes out of your day to de-stress. Employers can recommend it to staff who appear stressed, and it can be practised anywhere – even while at a desk
• Wellness technology: Wearable fitness technology has been around for a while now, and there is a real variety available. From measuring resting heart rates, to counting steps and calories, there are all kinds of things that employees can utilise to improve their health and wellbeing. Employers can capitalise on the rise in popularity of wearable tech to gently nudge staff into getting their daily dose of exercise
• Breaking away from traditional work environments: The traditional nine-to-five office routine was born out of necessity, but with modern technology it’s possible for businesses to operate more flexibly – especially smaller businesses. Enabling staff to work from home and fit their professional life conveniently around other personal commitments can be a helpful way to relieve stress, and increase morale.

There are plenty of ways to help improve staff morale and productivity, and many have been outlined throughout our Health and Wellbeing hub.

The important thing for business owners to remember is that employees are individuals – what works for one may not work for another. But by implementing some health and wellbeing trends, monitoring their effects, and treating it as a process of continual improvement, employers can make their workforce happier and more motivated in 2018.

For more information to help support the health and wellbeing of your employees please visit: axappphealthcare.co.uk/smallbusinessinsight