As we gear up to leave 2023 and ring in the new year, it’s prime time to set our sights on the wellbeing trends that 2024 has in store for us. New Year, new focus? If your resolution radar is pointing towards health, you’re in good company; 58% of UK people make resolutions, of which 28% are health-centric.
For the 32.8 million working professionals in the UK, time can be a luxury, making resolutions tricky. However, businesses can be the unsung heroes, helping employees across the country build healthy new habits that improve their health and well-being, supercharge productivity and boost happiness.
So, let’s dive into the trends that’ll be washing over your workplace in 2024. Think of it as your sneak peek into a healthier, happier, and more connected future:
“Third place” support
With NHS wait lists at an overwhelming 7.7 million, it’s understandable that people are seeking mental health support outside of traditional realms – think gyms, churches or even pubs.
To support these individuals, there have been investments in training for venues, like barbers and hairdressers, to integrate mental health conversations into people’s daily lives. With people increasingly looking for support outside of a medical setting, workplaces can step up to help in 2024.
Enter the mental health first aid champion – someone trained to naturally weave mental health conversations into working life and champion open communication for those who needs to speak about their struggles. It will become even more important for line managers, HR and senior leadership teams to lead by example, ensuring a non-judgemental, supportive culture exists next year.
The need for connection
Sadly, 1 in 10 UK workers feel lonely at work, post-pandemic levels of loneliness have skyrocketed, and the World Health Organisation has recently classified loneliness as a public health concern. The New Economics Foundation and Co-op estimate that loneliness now costs UK employers £2.5 billion a year. This staggering estimation emphasises the need for workplaces to tune into employee needs soon, or they risk losing talent to a company that they feel more connected to.
While some thrive on in-person interactions, others seek connections elsewhere in activities or team sports. Understand your team, bridge the gap, and foster a sense of belonging.
Consumer wellness in the workplace
In this TikTok era, trends like ice baths, collagen supplements and nap zones are all the rage. But how do these consumer trends fit into the workplace? No, we’re not suggesting an ice bath in your office. With long-term sickness soaring, it’s crucial to investigate the impact of these trends and whether they can benefit your employees. Chances are they’re looking to improve their health.
Remember, 42% of UK workers haven’t been asked about their wellbeing support preferences, let alone had tailored wellbeing packages as an offer. Dive into research, tailor your services, and seek employee feedback to prioritise genuine support.
The rise of health tech
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the buzzword of this year and those to come. With the government pledging £21 million into an AI rollout across the NHS to support cancer, stroke and heart diagnoses. AI is already driving a personalised approach to healthcare, with tailored treatment plans for each patient to provide better outcomes.
Alongside AI, health enthusiasts are continuing to expect more from technology. The global wearable fitness tracker market is now projected to reach $192 billion by 2030. From online 24/7 GP access to fitness trackers with sports science metrics, personalised care is the name of the game.
This trend is not limited to personal use. While it’s encouraging that more individuals are proactively seeking preventative health options, many are likely to find cost a main barrier. As an employer, you can step in and support your team with access to personalised healthcare and advice. This could include 24/7 GP helplines like DoctorLine, online therapy sessions or accessible health screenings, to make people feel truly valued.
A continued debate on flexible working
KPMG research suggests that 63% of top CEOs predict a full return to the office over the next three years, but employee expectations show little signs of change. The work-from-home debate will roll on in 2024, with work-life balance taking centre stage. It’s no longer about clocking out at 5pm sharp as data shows 54% of work-from-home employees want their at-home time to stay a priority.
Over the past few years, the number of people working predominantly from home has gradually stabilised at around 25%. This translates to around 4.9m people who work from home now but didn’t before the pandemic. 2 in 3 new remote workers say that the pandemic changed their priorities in life.
Blanket policies aren’t the answer, as businesses thrive when they not only support work-life balance but also embrace diversity and flexibility in the workplace – valuing their people’s lifestyles and relationships and supporting their unique needs.
Wellness trends aren’t just the pulse of personal health, they’re your secret to an employee-first business. Stay on top of these trends, tailor your support and policies, then watch as your team transforms into a thriving force.