Workplace Wellbeing Initiative
TREND 1: Leaders as Coaches
The pandemic has raised many issues, not the least being employees who require more support and guidance from their leaders as they navigate change, uncertainty and fear. Leaders have been called upon to develop the skills of a coach to enhance closer connections with their teams, to nurture, support and guide them, as well as lead and manage. This includes supporting workers to enable them to handle working without personal connection (as service delivery over zoom), attend meetings over zoom and continue to work remotely. All of these can lead to a lack of connection, which can be a significant factor in reduced satisfaction, reduced happiness and the potential onset of mental health challenges.
TREND 2: 4-Day Work Week
The 4-day workweek is certainly on trend, and a long-list of local and national governments are ready to try and implement these shorter weeks. However, the 4-day workweek is not such a rigid concept, and the definition varies across organizations experimenting with it. Some employees prefer having more control on when they choose to work versus a strict schedule of when and where they work. This is growing out of the need to have a flexible schedule that is more amenable to taking care of other priorities. Working 4 days is also correlated with lower rates of burnout and supports gender equality.
TREND 3: Distributed Workforces & Wellbeing
The return to an office is not a given. Some employees have demonstrated they can be productive and innovative working remotely, while others may be relieved or may not have a choice to work somewhere other than their homes. Whatever policy or workplace structure has been implemented, putting the needs of your workforce first is a strong indication of good company culture. Coming out of the pandemic it’s appropriate to let go of the conventional office model and support a positive contribution to employees’ health and wellbeing. It may take years to figure out, but well worth the health and sustainability of all companies’ stakeholders. This also includes leadership evaluating the performances of other businesses. Who thrived during the pandemic and why? What can be learned from this? What can be implemented?
TREND 4: Commitment to the Elimination of Bullying and Harassment
Businesses are seeing the significant detrimental effects of bullying and harassment in workplaces in the form of employee departures, stress claims, media scrutiny and an ever-increasing social awareness of the problem. The psychological effects on an employee can be profound. This also includes the safety of women in the workplace, an issue that has been gaining momentum over the past decade. Facilitators are reporting a significant increase in demand for their services. This also includes a dedicated look at inequalities within the workplace and what needs to be done to bring genuine equality into each workplace.
TREND 5: Increase Focus on Health and Personal Immunity Education
Increasing importance is being placed on general health education, including immune system-building education and guidance, as the pandemic winds down and more and more employees push back against getting further booster shots. Evidence mounts that booster injections have a short window of effectiveness, so companies are seeking a more enduring solution in the form of education, lifestyle change and improved personal responsibility among employees.
TREND 6: Traditional Safety Roles to Now Include Wellbeing as a Major Focus
The traditional role of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)/ Safety Health & Environmental (SHE) Leaders of the 20th century is evolving and expanding as we move into the 21st Century. EHS/SHE has evolved into Total Health and Safety (including workforce wellbeing) as a new design and approach is being taken to go beyond the factories and into modern corporate offices in order to mitigate and prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and near misses. A redesign of the traditional role from a regulatory role to a more holistic approach to the Culture of Safety, Health and Resiliency is occurring. Incorporating wellness and wellbeing practices, policies and program initiatives to include metrics now focus on employee culture, engagement, organizational health and safety as well as individual health, safety and wellbeing. These initiatives are tied into company goals and incentives for employees to prioritize their health and wellbeing as well as others. ISO 45003 is the first global standard giving practical guidance on managing psychological health in the workplace and provides the framework for this new model which EHS/SHE Leaders can adopt and lead with leadership support and engagement.
TREND 7: Workplace Wellbeing Continues to Form ESG Strategy
Purpose, sustainability and stakeholder capitalism are long-term efforts and can be measured through the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) landscape that forms investment strategy. The rise of the ‘S’ has a focus on people and talent in driving the movement towards healthier communities. How do businesses treat people and think about wellness? How do businesses address the ‘S’ through diversity and inclusion? Businesses are exploring what other commitments they can make to invest in people and drive community resilience through purposeful company culture and impact. This includes a re-evaluation of company values, not simply stated, but values that are practiced.