Soon after the ball drops at Times Square on December 31st and the last firework fizzles, your employees will start thinking about their number one New Year’s resolution — better wellbeing for the body, mind and life.
Year after year Americans set the same goals on New Year’s Day — getting fitter, losing weight, eating healthier, getting more sleep and spending more time with family and friends. Unfortunately, by March, 91 % of them will have given up.
Your employees spend one-third of their lives working, and over 30% of employees sleep fewer than seven hours a night, putting them at risk for heart disease, obesity and mood disorders. When people are tired, they’re more likely to make mistakes. That’s why your employees’ health can have a direct impact on their ability to do their jobs well.
According to our new State of Work-Life Wellness Report, 60% of employees are emotionally detached at their workplace. And our proprietary research found that 48% of employees said their wellbeing declined just this year. To put it simply: we’re in a crisis of wellbeing, and employers have a responsibility to confront this crisis head-on.
But the good news is most employees want to be healthy and organizations can help by offering programs that address employees’ comprehensive wellness goals that will ultimately foster a healthier, happier, more productive workforce, and lead to a stronger bottom line for your company.
Hottest trends for 2023
In the New Year, your employees will turn to group classes for their bodies and minds. They’ll embrace virtual reality, digital detoxes, social abundance and bite-sized movement. After years of dealing with somber circumstances, they want adventure. A good dose of fun mixed into their wellness routines will help foster the ultimate goal ofwork-life wellness.
“I think people are still in the post-quarantine phase of wanting to feel alive and understanding how short a run we all have,” says Suzi Winson, Operations Manager at Santa Barbara Trapeze Co. and a pioneer in bringing alternative workouts to mainstream fitness aficionados. “People want adventure and fun, and I'm seeing a lot of people wanting to do wellness forms with their families. Trapeze is mad popular, but I'm finding a lot of entire families who take ballet together. This is a new phenomenon that I think will be on trend in 2023.”
Here are 7 other wellness trends for 2023 and beyond, and the actionable steps you can take to show your employees their wellness is your company’s greatest asset.
- Technology drives wellness trends
Wearable technology that tracks fitness activity, sleep, calories burned, stress levels and so much more are exploding in popularity. Employers are seeing enormous benefits of offering these technology devices as an employee benefit. Think of them as wearable wellness programs that help keep hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity in check by monitoring employees’ activity levels, heart rate and blood pressure.
Asour report shows, there’s a gap between the demand for mental health services and their current availability. Fitness and meditation apps are like personal trainers for the body and mind. A 10-minute meditation can improve focus while reducing stress. And “movement snacks” — micro workouts lasting just a few minutes — can help employees get their mood-boosting endorphin rush several times throughout the workday if employers play a strong influence by providing access to these apps.
- SnowGa is the new hot yoga
Instead of stripping down to booty shorts and Speedos, yoga enthusiasts will be layering thermals under their parkas and strapping snowshoes to their boots. SnowGa classes combine hiking with traditional yoga poses. Ski resorts are also getting in on the SnowGa action; SnowGa is a great way to prep for a day on the slopes.
In our annual report, we found that 25% of US employees don’t feel their work allows them to take time for their wellbeing. If your company has a ski club, SnowGa is a natural adjunct. Skiers can gather for 20 minutes of SnowGa before hitting their respective slopes. A company-sponsored hike is also a great way to check out the newest yoga craze.
- Sports-specific yoga for everyone
Yoga for golfers, yoga for runners, yoga for dancers. LeBron James does yoga. Ditto for Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. The Los Angeles Clippers employs a full-time yoga instructor for the team. Whatever your sport, there’s a yoga class to help stretch overworked muscles and balance body and mind.
Our findings show that people inherently test and optimize until they find what works for them in fitness, and employers should look to support their employees in this process.
One way to implement a sport-specific yoga program is to create monthly sessions that focus on a different sport each time. Use technology to bring specialized instructors to employees virtually.
- Breathwork — a tool anyone can use at anytime
Few people are aware of, let alone harness, the power of their breath. Using ancient breathing techniques — pranayama — can boost energy, reduce pain, enhance creativity, improve focus, improve work performance, balance the nervous system, strengthen the immune system, boost morale and reduce stress.
4-7-8 breathing — close your mouth and inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7 and exhale completely through the mouth, making a whoosh sound, for a count of 8 — is, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.” Ujayi breathing — an audible breath that is inhaled and exhaled through the nose — is a mood booster that reduces stress and increases concentration and focus.
There is an undeniable mind-body connection that makes fitness a critical tool in mental health and overall wellbeing — our data shows that 63% of US workers are engaged with their employers wellbeing offerings. That’s 20% above the global average! Hold monthly on-site or virtual breathing classes that teach centuries-old techniques for increasing vitality. Replace the coffee break with a breathing break.
- Group fitness is back
Pole fitness, Pilates mat, aerial yoga, aerial hoop, plus the old standbys — Zumba, CrossFit and Spin — are all rebounding in popularity. Exercisers often find they push themselves harder when working out in a group. Fitness classes are also a great way to meet people and socialize.
Sponsor a group fitness evening out — either in real life or virtually — monthly and check out a different studio or workout each time. Scheduling the class for 4 p.m. can also help deliver the message that you sincerely care about your employees’ work-life wellness. Our findings show that 78% of US employees believe their wellbeing at work is just as important as their salary, so it’s worthwhile to assess how the workforce impacts broader life and wellbeing through group fitness.
- Plant-based meals are storming into the mainstream
People are realizing they don’t have to fully buy in to being vegan to reap the health rewards — for themselves and the environment — of a plant-based diet. Many Americans are adapting the “5-2 Veg Diet” — five days a week of plant-based foods only and two days of meals with animal products. The benefits of a vegan diet include weight loss and lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Workplace priorities are shifting to factor in the way employers take care of their employees and companies who act sooner than later can set themselves apart. Stock the employee break room with healthy food and plant-based snacks: fruits, raw nuts and veggies, plant-based protein bars and dairy alternatives — oat and almond milk.
- Volunteer together
When employees achieve work-life wellness, they have the time and energy to give back. Volunteer programs boost morale and create a better working environment. A recent survey found that more than 75% of employees say volunteering is essential to their well-being and a separate report found that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company are happy with their employers.
We found that a staggering 76% of US employees would consider leaving a company that doesn’t focus on employee wellbeing.
So helping your employees achieve their health goals can go a long way toward keeping them happy, and happy employees are better workers.
Wellness programs are key for attracting and retaining the best talent, creating a positive, healthy workplace and maximizing potential. For both employers and employees, health is wealth. See how work-life wellness empowers employees to tap into their “feel good” time, from anywhere, at any time, in and out of work.
- 91% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions tied to Fitness, Health and Wellness. (December 30, 2020). PennWatch.com. Retrieved on November 17, 2022, athttps://pennwatch.org/91-of-americans-make-new-years-resolution-tied-to-fitness-health-and-wellness/.
- Bradley, Susannah. (June 30, 2022). 15 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them. The Healthy. Retrieved on November 17, 2022, athttps://www.thehealthy.com/weight-loss/popular-new-years-resolutions/
- Brennan, Dan, MD. (June 9, 2021). How Deep, Slow Breathing Affects Your Body. WebMD.
- Retrieved on November 17, 2022, athttps://www.webmd.com/balance/what-to-know-4-7-8-breathing#:~:text=Close%20your%20lips%20and%20inhale,This%20completes%20one%20cycl.
- Chee, Chermaine. (October 3, 2022). Veganism Statistics USA 2022 – How Many Vegans Are There In America? Truly.com. Retrieved on November 17, 2022, athttps://trulyexperiences.com/blog/veganism-statistics-usa/.
- Cone, Carol. (November 21, 2022). Engaging Employees at the Intersection of Purpose and Philanthropy. On Purpose (via Yahoo). Retrieved on November 23, 2022, at https://www.yahoo.com/now/engaging-employees-intersection-purpose-philanthropy-145000707.html.
- LaMotte, Sandee. (November 8, 2022). Sleep deprivation affects nearly half of American adults, study finds. CNN Health. Retrieved on November 19, 2022, athttps://www.cnn.com/2022/11/08/health/sleep-deprivation-wellness.
- Okhifun, Greg. (February 14, 2019). Wearable Technology: Its Place in Workplace Wellness. Corporate Wellness Magazine. Retrieved on November 18, 2022, athttps://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/wearable-technology-its-place-in-the-workplace.
- Schwantes, Marcel. (January 8, 2022). Studies Show 91 Percent of Us Won't Achieve Our New Year's Resolutions. Inc. Retrieved on November 17, 2022, athttps://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/studies-show-91-percent-of-us-wont-achieve-our-new-years-resolutions-how-to-be-9-percent-that-do.html.
- Steadman, Rick. (November 24, 2020). Snowga Combines Yoga and Snowshoeing – Benefits Body and Soul. Snowshoemag.com. Retrieved on November 14, 2022, athttps://www.snowshoemag.com/snowga-combines-yoga-and-snowshoeing-benefits-body-and-soul-2/
- Suni, Eric. (May 13, 2022). Sleep Statistics. Sleep Foundation. Retrieved on November 19, 2022, athttps://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-facts-statistics.
- Wold, Rachel. (March 10, 2022). 10 pro athletes and teams that practice yoga. SportsNaut.com. Retrieved on November 10, 2022, athttps://sportsnaut.com/xx-pro-athletes-teams-that-practice-yoga/.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.