How employers use workplace wellness trends to better engage workers

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Recognizing and addressing five key trends in worker wellness will help employers make better decisions to drive holistic health engagement.

The new 2017 Humana Wellness Trends Report says that the focus must be broadened to include issues pertaining to an aging workforce, financial stress, poor sleep and an increase in mindfulness. The Humana report authors alsodetail the fith trend as the “connected experience 2.0,” which they describe as constant connection workers have with technology.

“Workforce wellness goes beyond simply addressing physical health and nutrition,” says Kristine Mullen, vice president, wellness and strategy at Humana. “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 healthcare costs.”

Workers have been clamoring for more health management guidance and incentives to be more engaged in wellness programs, and as the report notes, the “Connected Experience 2.0” will provide both employers and employees with those additional opportunities.

And that connected workforce is also quickly becoming an aging workforce. According to Humana, about 14.5% of the U.S. population was aged 65 years or older in 2014, and by 2040, that number will rise to 21.7%.

“There’s no doubt about it — the general population is becoming older, and it’s affecting the U.S. workplace in two major ways,” Humana says– pointing to more workers are caring for older loved ones, and more are retiring later in their careers.

Due to financial strain and increasing costs related to healthcare, more Americans are declaring that they’re retiring later, with 40% saying they are going to retire after the age of 65, according to the study.

While older workers offer a number of advantages, like experience and expertise, they also bring along higher healthcare costs and a greater likelihood of chronic conditions. Additionally, those who planned to retire later were “more likely to report stress, poor health, and feeling stuck in their jobs than people expecting to retire sooner”

One way to counteract the negative impact of these trends, the study authors say, is to ensure the well-being of the caregivers and older employees of your organization through engaged wellness programming.

To ensure all workers are taking advantage of a wellness program, Humana suggests segmenting your employee population and target your communications by choosing topics your employees will care about.

For example, consider using topics in your wellness programming to grab employees’ attention. Think titles like “how to eat healthy while on the road” for traveling employees or “high-impact exercises that only take 10 minutes at a time!” for those hourly workers.

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