Benefits, Strategic HR

Research: Wellness Helps Employers Create a Happier, Healthier Workplace

Workers are getting older, sleepier, and increasingly worried about their finances while they rely on mindfulness and emerging technology to help them achieve their desired health. This is the state of wellness according to the 2017 Humana Wellness Trends Report.

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The report guides and counsels employers on the five most relevant current and emerging wellness-related challenges at the top of employees’ minds this year, while offering ways to make wellness programs more inclusive and holistic.

Humana Wellness uncovered trends that represent a comprehensive range of current topics significantly impacting the world of wellness: an aging population, financial well-being, mindfulness, and sleep. One trend—the connected experience 2.0—predicts how the intersection of emerging technology and health data will reshape how employees approach wellness.

It also discusses how addressing these trends can help reduce costs. This is pivotal for employers at a time when healthcare costs, which account for an average 7.6% of an organization’s budget, continue to increase.

“Workforce wellness goes beyond simply addressing physical health and nutrition,” said Kristine Mullen, Vice President, Wellness and Strategy at Humana—in a press release. “With the 2017 Humana Wellness Trends Report, we’re unveiling the wellness factors that keep employees up at night, including financial and emotional security. By understanding employees’ everyday challenges and needs, employers can take definitive actions to jumpstart or enhance their wellness strategies, make a significant difference in their employees’ lives[,] and drive down health care costs.”

The ‘Connected Experience 2.0’ Revolutionizing Wellness Strategies

The “Internet of things,” referring to everyday devices connecting to the Internet and transmitting data with interconnected systems, is an emerging concept continually linked to health and wellness. This connected experience is beginning to amplify beyond wearable fitness trackers.

As wellness programs begin to integrate these devices and employers gain access to the data, employers will gain insight into what’s driving organizational health costs and how to resolve them.

Older Workforce Leads to Health, Caregiving Burdens

The U.S. workforce is getting older and retiring later due to the stress of financial burdens, caring for older loved ones, and increasing healthcare costs. About 14.5% of the U.S. population was aged 65 years or older in 2014, and that number will rise to 21.7% by 2040.

Financial Stress Affects Productivity

Americans identify money as their top stressor, which can reduce employee productivity and contribute to absenteeism, presenteeism, and poor health. Research states 37% of full-time employees deal with financial issues while working, affecting businesses’ bottom lines in the long run.

Poor Sleep Leading to Errors, Low Morale

Among workers age 30 and older, 74% say lack of sleep affects their work performance. Additionally, poor sleep can cause workers to struggle with processing and remembering information, become prone to errors and accidents, and experience lower morale.

Workers Benefit from Mindfulness Techniques

Research has found a mindful approach may help ease the “effects of stress, anxiety[,] and other negative emotions.” A number of organizations have adopted mindfulness techniques to boost productivity and improve mental health among their employees.

For the full 2017 Humana Wellness Trend Report, which provides best practices and tips in relation to each of the trends, visit http://trendsreport.infonowweb.com. To learn more about how to start or enhance your own wellness strategy and address the wellness trends that are top of employees’ minds in 2017, visit humanawellness.com.