As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt operations and further stress employees, companies indicate they are ready to invest significant resources to deliver mental health and wellness programs to workers, according to a report. new study.
the 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trend Report, published by Wellable Labs, found that 90% of employers reported increasing their investments in mental health programs, 76% increased their investments in stress management and resilience programs, and 71% increased their investments in mindfulness and mediation programs.
The report found that employee demand is driving this new investment and said employers are doubling the provision of mental health resources while shifting some wellness strategies from in-person and on-site solutions to offerings at distance and digital.
Investment trends: some areas are growing, others are declining
The study asked employers about a wide range of wellness solutions and strategies. He revealed that in addition to investments in mental health, mindfulness and stress management, other areas of investment were telemedicine (80% investing more) and COVID 19 vaccinations (57% investing more) . The report says vaccine mandates are prompting some companies to invest more in vaccines, as well as other COVID-19 risk reduction strategies.
The study highlighted a shift in emphasis on mental health programs: Before the pandemic, in 2018, 66% of companies said they would invest more in mental health, with 29% saying they would invest. the same thing. By 2022, those numbers had changed, with 90% investing more and only 9% investing the same.
Telemedicine has also been called a “rising star” among employers. In 2020, 60% of companies said they would invest more in telemedicine, and this number has continued to grow: in 2021, 87% of companies said they would invest more in this area and in 2022, the number was barely less, at 80.%.
“Employees and employers have come to appreciate the ability of telemedicine to provide flexible, on-demand and cost-effective solutions,” the report says. “As a result, companies now see this advantage as essential. “
While some strategies and tools increased during the pandemic period, others saw a significant drop in investment: 63% of employers said they would invest less in onsite fitness classes, 59% would invest less in health fairs and 54% invest less in providing healthy food at work. In addition, there is a decrease in biometric screenings (50% less) and on-site clinics (35% less).
“In general, employers appear to be moving away from the benefits that depend on in-person interactions, even with COVID-19 prevention measures in place,” the study said. “This is largely due to the availability of alternative solutions that meet the same welfare goals. “
The Broker Perspective: Employers Need a Plan
The report notes that while stress and burnout remain major issues, brokers are urging employers to identify a clear strategy for dealing with stress at work. The study found that only 1% of brokers say their clients fully understand how well employees deal with stress at work. For this reason, brokers are urging employers to consider budgeting to address this issue and to create more internal resources for managing stress at work. The report says such resources are needed as current solutions such as mental health programs and flexible work schedules will not be enough to alleviate employee burnout.
“After two volatile years filled with unpredictability, resilience is waning and employees look to their employers for certainty,” Sullivan said. “Organizations now have no choice but to re-evaluate their total benefits strategy and the unique needs of their employees to ensure that their approach meets the demands of the modern employee. Based on the trends we are seeing … employers should focus on selecting and designing benefits through the lens of empathy, support and management of expectations, and they should focus on recovery trust within their organization. Those who do will have the best chance of replenishing their workforce for long-term success as we emerge on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. “