Health and Wellbeing 27 November 2017

Six wellbeing trends business owners should look out for in 2018

Shot of a tired businesswoman napping at her desk with adhesive notes on her eyes
A 20-minute power nap in a quiet, dark room, has been proven to reduce stress

It’s that time of year when everyone is beginning to make their New Year’s resolutions. Most of the time, these resolutions tend to be about their health and wellness.

Promoting good health and wellness should also be an employer’s goal for 2018. With this in mind, here is Health Assured CEO and wellbeing expert David Price’s six top workplace wellbeing trends and initiatives that business owners should look out for in 2018.

(1) Sit-stand desks 

There is no escaping the fact that the majority of employees’ time in the office is spent sitting at their desks.

This lengthy level of sedentary behaviour can have serious downsides to a person’s health, and has been associated with various physical and mental conditions including obesity and depression.

To counteract this, sit-stand desks can be effective in reducing the amount of time staff sit down and are no longer the obscure recommendation they used to be (however they can be costly).

Even if a workplace can offer a regular sit-down desk only, chances are they may have electronic devices, such as a laptop or a tablet, that can be used to migrate to a different working area.

Finding a table top that’s the right height can be tricky, but if they have one in their workplace it can break up the day, and a mixture of sitting and standing are wellbeing trends that can easily become a reality.

(2) Workplace naps

Sleeping on the job is very much a workplace taboo, however, a 20-minute power nap has been proven to reduce stress and increase productivity. As a result of this, in-company sleep pods, resting rooms and snooze friendly policies are becoming increasingly popular wellbeing trends, with tech giants like Google and Uber leading the way.

Understandably, not everyone has the luxury of being able to step away from their desk for an hour’s sleep, but lunch hours and tea breaks can be a great time for employees to have a quick nap in a quiet dark room.

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(3) Digital detox

Many of us feel unable to switch off or put down our phones, even when it is the weekend, or we are on holiday. The need to keep up to date with work emails, or make that quick phone call to the office during personal time, is something that many of us struggle with.

But, not having good boundaries around work and personal time can be counterproductive. It can leave employees far less effective at work and can lead to an employee burning out.

If business owners want employees to take a digital detox, they should consider encouraging wellbeing trends of getting employees away from their desks, and disconnect from all technology at lunchtime.

Most importantly, employers must create a workplace culture that supports digital detoxing, as many employees feel guilty about taking a break when they actually should.

When employees know that taking a break is not only acceptable but necessary for good job performance, they will be more inclined to do it. At a time when many employers expect round-the-clock communication, encouraging employees to take a digital detox is not just good for employees – it’s good for business.

(4) Financial wellness programmes 

In 2017, research from the CIPD revealed that UK adults believed their financial situation will worsen due to economic factors such as driving down wages and rising living costs. This is a worrying time, as financial stresses go hand-in-hand with reduced mental health and wellbeing.

While it’s devastating for the people going through it, businesses can also suffer. If an employee is in trouble, there’s a high chance that they’ll struggle to focus on their work, make mistakes, or miss their targets.

To support employees, employers should consider getting an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). It’s a confidential outlet that can help employees out of their financial hole.

EAPs combine in-person, online and over-the-phone support services like debt counselling and financial advice. Business owners should also think about offering lines of credit advice on how to manage money, or workplace financial education, including classes which focus on making the most of existing income through better money management and savings plans.

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(5) Giving back to charities and the community

Participating in charitable initiatives help employees feel good about themselves and proud of where they work, which in turn builds loyalty among them.

Many employees would love to have time to do charity work, but can’t fit as much of it into their lives as they’d like to, because of time spent working. By giving employees several hours per month to do charity work, they’re wellbeing trends that can be a perk that benefits not only employees but the local community too.

(6) Healthy vending machines

The office vending machine can be a quick and easy way to pick up a snack or drink at work during busy times. One of the negatives of the office vending machine is that they usually only offer processed, sugary foods and heavy carbohydrates.

Thankfully, there are innovative businesses popping up across the UK who are creating healthy vending options with no preservatives or sweeteners. These are a great alternative for business owners to use so they can promote and provide a healthier diet as part of a healthier lifestyle.

David Price is a wellbeing expert and CEO at Health Assured

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