The COVID-19 pandemic began in Q2 of 2020, when most employees suddenly and unexpectedly were forced to work remotely, causing increases in stress, anxiety, and depression. Then in 2021, we had to deal with the on-again, off-again return-to-work plans. In fact, some are referring to 2021 as the great wait, as return-to-work efforts were repeatedly pushed back due to new COVID-19 variants, causing employee morale to continue to suffer, and anxiety to increase yet again. Many employees, meanwhile, had to work through the transition to a permanent hybrid workplace.

What does all of this mean for 2022?

We are looking at a flexible, hybrid workforce that will require new and better ways of thinking from HR when it comes to ensuring employee wellness and increasing retention.

Top 5 Employee Wellness Trends for 2022

We all know that workplace wellbeing affects organizational health. Among all the ways a company can create a culture of health, we’ve identified the top 5 trends in employee wellness for 2022.

1. Work-life Support

In 2022, many more employers will have employees who work from home all or some of the time. This shift to a more flexible workforce will bring its own set of wellbeing challenges. Thoughtful employers will be looking for ways to adapt their wellness programs around this new model. 

Here are 8 recommendations for a successful hybrid program.

2. Stress Management

The constant whiplash of stay home/return to work and maybe we’re hybrid/maybe we’re not has caused stress levels to skyrocket and stress management to become an increasingly important employee wellness benefit. Workers’ daily stress reached record highs in 2020, with North American workers ranked highest of all groups, reporting that some 57% of workers reported feeling stress on a daily basis.

Check out these 8 tips to lower the level of stress at work.

3. Mindfulness and Meditation

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to build resilience, and mindfulness and meditation are known to do just that. These programs shape employee mental health and wellness by reducing anxiety, helping to build resilience to stress, improving thinking, and reducing distractions.

You can find 5 tips to support employee mindfulness here.

4. In-person and Virtual Activities and Meetings

Whether 2022 has your employees in the office full-time or part-time, wellness activities need to be a part of your culture. A trend in employee wellness that is likely to increase in the coming year is to offer activities that can be done either in the office or remotely. For example, a daily yoga video or webcast. This can help ensure employees stay active and connected no matter where they are.

Here are 8 ways to incorporate physical exercise into your meeting agenda.

5. Employee Financial Wellness Programs

Finally, 2022 will see a rise in employee financial wellness programs. A 2021 Capital One CreditWise survey showed that 73% of Americans rank their finances as the most significant source of stress in their life. Poor financial health can cause absenteeism and lower productivity, which makes employee financial wellness important.

Unlike what the narrow medical benefits that traditional health plans center on, total workplace wellness looks to the health of the whole person — including their financial wellbeing. By boosting your employee wellness in this more holistic way, you boost your organizational health. As you plan your employee wellness programs for next year, consider these five trends and consider how they can fit into your programs.