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Friends, it’s that time of the year.
Where the end of this year is looming ever closer (did somebody say Christmas?) and you are beginning to wonder what delights 2023 has in store for you.
Unfortunately, we can’t promise any Mystic Meg-type clarity on life in general, but here are some predictions to cover you from a work POV.
We know - you know this. But let’s recap. With takes-no-prisoners energy, workplace wellness elbowed its way right to the top of the agenda for employers & HR leaders this year.
After a huge shift post-pandemic, there is no getting away from it - employee wellbeing is here to stay.
Loosely defined as one’s overall state of wellness (including physical, emotional, social and financial) companies started to consider ways they could make employee wellbeing relevant to diverse workforces that are now set up in many different ways.
Recent global events such as the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and soaring fuel prices have shaped the needs and demands for workplace wellbeing in 2022.
So, it makes sense that the key trends that emerged this year were important sub-topics like the introduction of financial wellbeing which exploded onto the scene, and an awareness of mental health that became even more relevant.
But that’s enough about 2022 because we’re all a bit over it now.
Bring on the New Year.
Without further ado…
1. A Collective Approach to Corporate Wellbeing
2. School of Nutrition
3. Company Culture for The Win
The theme here is 'not just you, but others too.' We predict a riot revolution.
We're envisaging a mass rejection of the insular elements of modern-day life, where we all only think about ourselves (so we’re told 😎)
We believe the average (Go)Joe in 2023 is going to be a bit more aware of the bigger picture. Less about us, and more about us all.
This ties in with what we think will be another big trend for the coming year - the rise of communities. Side note: We’re personally uber-excited about this.
More collaboration, more sharing of ideas and beliefs, more acceptance of others.
This will transcend the world of wellness, which has perhaps been a little, how do we say….
A little elitist?
All green juices, perfect skin and 2 hours of yoga each day?
I mean, that’s just not real life!
Or maybe we’re doing it wrong.
Anyway, we predict a positive shift away, where we can all grow (healthier) together.
From a work perspective, this marries nicely with putting wellbeing at the heart of your culture.
Enabling shared experiences for your teams across all areas of wellbeing (like workplace challenges, guest speakers, workshops and away days) will give them the launchpad to develop together.
Health & wellness are inherently individual, and what works for one person won’t necessarily be helpful for another.
But opening up & nurturing communication channels and experiences for all will evolve ideas and outcomes on a wider scale.
Encouraging employees to delve into this world together, learn from each other, learn together and look out for one another will be key. Talk about team building.
For this to really work, HR leaders and managers will need to get amongst the team and partake on a human level, and not from a leadership role.
You know you want to.
The change in work-life dynamics is one of the big drivers here.
30% of the UK workforce is working remotely and in the US it's 25%.
That’s a lot of people, at home all day, and needing to eat.
And running parallel and not helping matters, 28% of Americans don’t know how to cook.
So, that’s also a lot of people who could use some help with getting a handle on the basics of food.
It’s true, supermarket shopping is tedious, and no one likes washing up, especially at the end of a long working day.
What a shlep.
But there is a real opportunity here for companies to provide genuinely helpful resources for staff – via educative (but real-life and achievable) nutritionist and expert-led resources, workshops and content.
With the ultimate aim of providing introductions to cooking, eating and taking care of yourself via food and nutrition.
Because we are what we eat.
Knowing what to eat, when to eat and how to eat can be hard, if these are not already habits and understandings that you have embedded in your everyday life.
The goal is to break the overwhelming detail down and provide relevant tools that employees can carry forward in their everyday lives.
This goes deeper than surface level and has a positive impact not only on the individual employee but also their wider circle.
Not only will staff be getting a benefit of real utility here, but they’ll also be learning what foods will help them feel and perform at their best - leading to better overall health, more energy and less sickness-related absence.
We knew that would wake you up 😉
For many of the working-from-home crew, it’s a whole new lifestyle where the safety net of the canteen/local sandwich shop has been snatched away.
They may benefit from some honest, actionable information on quick, yet nutritious lunches.
And we could all use fresh ideas on what to eat before and after work. Because having lasagne five times a week isn’t ideal, despite our best efforts.
In fact, it’s pretty stressful trying to stay on top of keeping the fridge full and creating evening meals, whether it’s just a meal for one, or you have a whole family to keep happy. Not to mention packed lunches, breakfasts, snacks, and weekends. So much to consider.
We’re not onboard with this being along the lines of diet culture-type restrictive eating though. What we want (and need) are sustainable, achievable ideas.
No special ingredients you would need to go to a deli for, or obsessing over each micro & macro nutrient - that will drive people away faster than you can say ‘calorie-count’.
Instead, imagine a sort of adult version of the food technology class, via the workplace, in a range of experiences.
It could even be … fun?
Culture exists, even if you think it doesn’t.
And nowadays, getting a new job is about more than the paycheck.
There’s a whole new intake of individuals seeking work who demand answers to a different set of priorities (we’re looking at you, Gen Z)
A new breed, who thinks nothing of turning down roles, unless it’s the perfect fit.
Is it lazy? Is it unattainable? Hell no, it’s genius and we’re all just jealous because we’re cheugy to the bone and wished we’d come up with it first.
BTW, if you know what cheugy actually means, then don’t worry – you can’t possibly be, in real life, cheugy.
It’s not just the Gen Z’s stirring things up either.
The pandemic led to a re-assessment and re-prioritising of the values that many expect from their workplace.
More and more of us now want to know how we will be helped to prevent burnout, reduce work stresses and avoid toxic environments.
And we’d like to know exactly what employers are going to do to look after us.
Work culture is the experience you get at your workplace, created and affected by the attitudes, behaviours and values of those who are working there.
Your company’s organisational culture might be completely different from your friend’s workplace, for example.
A 2000 + firm of lawyers may need a formal, structured work culture to align with their relevant company mission and goals. A smaller team of 20 at a start-up may respond better to a flexible and informal culture.
Companies will need to demonstrate how they promote, prioritise and protect the health and wellbeing of employees.
And not just in the old, traditional ways. Too boring. Too done.
This trend of doubling down on company culture will be super important, not only to attract the best but also to retain the best.
The companies boxing clever will be giving thought to how the wider picture of wellbeing can support their teams. Things like considering sleep, habits, creating optimum environments, social communities, and lifestyle hacks.
Not to mention important elements like communication, collaboration and maintaining the human element across distributed workforces.
Different from the ROIs and KPIs, but you could argue – more important?
A toxic work culture can lead to poor communication, employee burn-out, severe lack of work-life balance, and a high churn of employees.
Building relationships with teams who could be anywhere in the world is a lot harder than building relationships with teams who are all under the same roof. Team camaraderie and organisational culture – how are they at your company right now? Good? Bad? Average?
Little things make big differences.
We see this being a big one for 2023.
A lot of companies have switched on to the impact of mental health on productivity levels, and begun to implement flexible mental health days or days for employees to switch off and recharge themselves. Giving them valuable mental and emotional breaks from the stressors of work.
Take LinkedIn for example, which in 2021 gave all staff a ‘RestUp!’ paid week off to recharge. Other big players include Hootsuite, Bumble and Mozilla who all shut down for a wellness week last year.
It doesn’t have to be a whole week though, and they might be on to something here.
Issues arising from poor mental health are the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing on average £1,035 per employee per year (according to the Time to Change campaign) and currently 15 out of every 100 people at work have a mental health condition.
With work stresses on the rise, these paid (or even unpaid) Mental Health Days can combat some of the negative effects of work on employee health, and show the employee that they are a valued, supported member of the team.
Mental Health Days could be in the form of crisis response (a one-time only thing) or repeating (as part of an ongoing employee benefits programme).
Benefits to both the employer and, more importantly - the employee, include preventing burnout, increasing productivity, and improving overall health.
Ultimately, the time off not only shapes a safe culture for addressing and sharing mental health conditions and worries, but it also improves the emotional wellbeing of workers.
Leading to a highly motivated and happier workforce. A win- win for all.
We hope this roundup is useful for you when planning your wellbeing strategy for the coming year. Let’s check back in, in 12 months and see how our predictions held up!