As we approach the end of yet another year of uncertainty, with a cost of living crisis, and high food and energy costs, it is safe to say that many people are feeling stress and anxiety around the future, But with this comes the opportunity to get a head start on to increase support in the communities we live and work throughout 2023. We provide our thoughts on the recent report by Westfield Health, looks at the emerging workplace well-being trends for 2023.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Searches for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) hit an all-time high this year with topics including shared parental leave, gender pay gap, and disabled workers hitting the spotlight.
Awareness also increased on topics such as gender identity, neurodiversity and menopause hitting the headlines in 2022.
39% year-on-year increase in searches for ‘neurodiversity in the workplace’
Having a DEI policy can be helpful here as long as it is available for all to see and attention is brought to it. Such a policy could include how the organisation ensures they are legal in addressing DEI matters. From recruitment through to retention. Flexible working, reasonable adjustments, focus on skills only, etc.
The cost-of-living crisis is a major area of concern for the UK public and will have an effect on the mental and physical health of many, with this year’s cost of living increase reaching 92% (up from 62% last year).
With employees worrying about whether they can afford to eat or pay the bills, a decline in mental health is to be expected.
With limited budgets for salary increases, workers are looking elsewhere for financial stability and while some businesses are able to offer support, if salaries don’t keep up with inflation, then employers risk losing their top talent.
20% of people say they’re dealing with the cost of living crisis by looking for a job that pays more (the highest of any solution) ONS 2022
Businesses can still continue to be the employer of choice though.
While income is currently at the forefront of people’s minds, other employee benefits can be attractive. Think initiatives such as bringing in spare/extra foods and goods, allowing the use of site kitchens after school hours, with an area for employee’s kids to come in, and making sure the workplace is warm.
Having an open door policy where employees can talk if they are worried or setting up an employee group to support each other and share hints and tips are other ideas. Switch up the sandwich run and include warm food options – possibly partner up with local community cafes or food outlets. You could also consider lunchtime talks with financial well-being experts.
Preventative Health Support
A shift from quick fixes and fitness fads to holistic, whole of life approaches has been noticed in internet search trends over the last 18 months+.
For employers, this means many workers are expecting support for their newfound healthy choices. This could be anything from lunchtime fitness classes, a standing desk or healthy food choices.
Access to healthcare is also high on the agenda of employees, with a lack of trust in the NHS leaving people to put alternative measures in place. Searches for private medical insurance have almost doubled since 2020 and sales of cash health plans are also on the up.
39% of NHS patients referred by a consultant had not received their treatment within 18 weeks.
There is a great opportunity here for workplaces to fill a gap. Providing lunchtime talks around a variety of well-being topics such as healthy eating or financial well-being as part of their overall offering can help businesses support their employees in areas that are a high priority at the minute.
In addition, organisations can support physical and mental health by adopting less stressful ways of working (focus on quality outcomes), adequate job training, staff surveys (allowing for needs-led well-being programs), and giving access to other support information.
Embracing Tech vs Digital Detox
The pandemic may have forced many services to go digital, but it looks like this could be here to stay.
49% of GP bookings are telephone appointments
The future of remote working remains fluid, at least for some businesses. While it has been embraced by some organisations, others are calling for an end to the work-from-home ‘experiment’. Despite this, it still remains the most coveted employee benefit.
Employers need to be aware of, and monitor, the impact and stress caused by the ‘always on’ culture and online-only solutions and allow people time to switch off.
Remote working and moving more and more over to tech solutions are not for everyone.
What about all of the non-desk-based sectors and jobs?
Where remote working is best, is where it allows the employee to better manage life with work (e.g., health, disability, caring responsibilities), and meets business priorities. It should be part of a wider workplace well-being strategy and managed differently to the clocking-in and out and micromanaging approach. In my opinion, this is definitely still a work in progress and still experimental in some businesses. Essentially, a culture change in progress.
Links and Resources
Advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing.
An independent charity partnering with numerous mental health and financial services providers.
Learn how to promote equal opportunities and manage equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In addition to working with ourselves at Tudor Rose who can provide a variety of lunchtime talks to support your employees – get in touch for more information.