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Employee Well-Being at the Forefront of Return-to-Work Strategies

Analysis  |  By Jasmyne Ray  
   April 07, 2022

Employers are placing increased emphasis on mental and physical health and the work/life balance of their employees, a new survey shows.

Employers are emphasizing employee mental health as they rework their well-being programs to fit a post-COVID work environment, according to the results of the 13th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health and Well-Being Survey

The survey, conducted by Fidelity Investments and Business Group on Health, also offers insight into how employers are welcoming back  employees returning to the office for the first time in two years.

"Employers are facing a unique set of challenges as employees return and re-adjust to a more traditional work environment, and we're encouraged to see so many employers …  evolving their employee well-being programs to address the needs of their workers," Robert Kennedy, health and welfare practice leader at Fidelity Workplace Consulting, said in a statement.

"As organizations around the globe continue to invest in these programs and expand them to include a greater number of workplace benefits, we'll continue to see corporate well-being programs playing an important role in business strategy and overall workforce management," He said.

Surveyed employers'  return-to-worksite strategies included:

  • Mental health – 91%
  • Physical health – 60%
  • Work/life balance – 57%

DE&I strategies influenced the design of their well-being program, said 81% of employers. Another 82% noted that they discuss the relationship between DE&I and well-being with their employees.

Budgets for well-being programs have slightly decreased overall for 2022, yet the average budget amount is now $11 million versus the $10.5 million it was in 2021. Mid-market companies are also spending 60% more per employee in 2022.

Employers continue to offer incentives as part of their well-being programs. While the median maximum financial incentive remains at $600, the average is at $823—a 22% increase from 2021. The survey also reported that almost 22% of employers tied a financial incentive/disincentive to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The average financial incentive for getting vaccinated was $406, but some employers offered as much as $1,000 per employee.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) of employers are emphasizing job satisfaction in their organization's well-being program. With return-to-worksite strategies, 60% of companies surveyed said they would be using  a hybrid model, with half of them expecting employees to be onsite three days per week.

"As people return to work in this new landscape, employers will be flexible and empathetic in supporting them as much as possible," said Ellen Kelsay, president and CEO of Business Group on Health. "Every C-suite executive now fully realizes the correlation of their workforce's health and well-being to the overall success of their business."

“As people return to work in this new landscape, employers will be flexible and empathetic in supporting them as much as possible. Every C-suite executive now fully realizes the correlation of their workforce's health and well-being to the overall success of their business.”


KEY TAKEAWAYS

As employers consider what the post-COVID landscape will look like, many are putting emphasis on employee well-being.

81% of employers said their DE&I - diversity, equity, and inlcusion - strategies have influenced their approach to employee well-being.

60% of employers said they will be using a "hybrid" model as part of their return to work strategy.


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