Wellbeing at work - trend predictions | Incentive&Motivation

Wellbeing at work – trend predictions | Incentive&Motivation

 Evan Davidge, Director of The Wellbeing Leader and Total Reward & Wellbeing expert for Healthia provides his top wellbeing at work trend predictions for 2018 and talks of a ‘second wellbeing revolution’.

Exceptional companies are already on the journey to offering solid wellbeing where wellbeing is at the very core of their company culture rather than an add-on through the benefits programme. Whilst many companies are clearly offering elements of wellbeing, no company is yet to offer all the pieces together.

2018 will mark the year that we see ‘total wellbeing’ taken to the next level. Wellbeing will become an organisation-wide priority, key to business success and evident throughout the business and the way in which it operates. For the first time this year, we will see the key components of effective wellbeing being delivered in conjunction with one anotherThis will be a huge step forward for the employer and one which should result in more productive, healthier, committed employees.”


The world of talent and reward is changing and with that means the need for a broader, more flexible offering to attract future talent.  Different generations are entering and exiting the workforce, creating a dynamic workforce and technology advances should be used to help accelerate productivity, talent and innovation. This acceleration will drive changes that support the business and its strategy. Personalisation of the ‘employment deal’ will become even more crucial in a world where new talent is becoming increasingly diverse and completely changing the way we work. This will particularly apply to workplace wellbeing where every employee is unique in terms of their attitude towards improving their personal wellbeing.  A personalised and interactive experience will motivate the right behaviours and outcomes, which in turn will lead to their organisation gaining emotional, financial and competitive advantage.

Financial wellbeing

According to FCA’s March 2017 report, ‘Financial Well-being in the Workplace: A Way Forward’, half of all UK adults are exposed to financial hardship and “display one or more characteristics that signal their potential vulnerability”.  The survey also reveals that financial worries have a direct impact on workplace productivity, with 89% of employers agreeing that financial concerns have a direct impact on employees’ mental health, which in turn impacts on their workplace performanceWith this and potential Brexit implicationsmore employers will be looking at ways to support their workforce to effectively manage their day-to-day finances and help prevent them from getting into debt problems, either through online tools, financial education sessions or a mixture of both.

 Government / Employer collaboration

 Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working population in 2008 has led to increasing collaboration between Government and employers for wellbeing at work, supported by leading charities, e.g. Business in the Community, MIND, Time for Change etc. This trend will continue leading to wellbeing communities, where the State will look to legislate and advocate greater collaboration.  This is highlighted by the independent review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister in January 2017 and led by Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, which recommends ‘good work’, collaboration and resources be allocated to tackling poor mental health; approximated to cost the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.

 Predictive analytics and machine learning

 ‘You can’t act on what you can’t measure’ – an old but still relevant adage. Predictive analytics in wellbeing at work is when historical and real-time data can be mined to predict certain outcomes. Whilst still in its infancy, predictive analytics is an exciting new development, which will facilitate a more proactive approach to wellbeing, thereby minimising risks and adding value.

 Wearable technology

Technological developments are a growing feature of wellbeing at work– wearable fitness devices and apps such as Healthia to measure physical activity, sleep and gamification are a few examples. This will continue to be a large growth market characterised by relevant incentives, tying more employees to wearables in order to reach deeper levels of engagement. Indeed, wearables will be incorporated into broader programs that go beyond a single challenge focused on physical activity, and even become a way of life for many employees.


This is a rapidly expanding field, which allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The approach has been through a striking evolution in the last decade and it has recently been trialled with the NHS.  For time-starved employees and those who do not wish to be exposed to long GP waiting lists, it is an ideal solution.  There are a growing number of early adopter employers who have already seen the benefits of telemedicine, and this list will grow exponentially as the technology scope increases.

 Emotional wellbeing & mindfulness

2017 was the year that businesses started to take emotional wellbeing seriously. This coming year we will see it become boardroom priority. For the first-time businesses will focus on emotional wellbeing as much as physical wellbeing offering room spaces, apps, down time, stress management and workshops. As part of the wellbeing at work approach, mindfulness will feature highly, both at a voluntary, individual level and corporate level with senior ‘mindful’ leaders who champion mindfulness. Integrating mental and emotional wellbeing into performance management will be important in building engaged and resilient teams.

 Inter-connected global wellbeing communities

Employee wellbeing is a global challenge irrespective of geography and jurisdiction.  Prevention of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes etc, will continue to be significant issues for multinational employers.  Owing to health inequalities it is leading to the development of inter-connected wellbeing communities or ecosystems, facilitated by common wellbeing platforms, and partnership arrangements with providers, Governments and NGOs, amongst others. Unilever’s ‘Lamplighter’ and SAP’s ‘The Run Your Way’ programs are exemplars.

 WELL building environment

There is a growing body of research into the many factors of the physical environment which have a significant impact on day-to-day wellbeing at work and productivity of employees. The research supports these claims but much more is being done to translate research into practice. Leading the way is the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) standards, which marry best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research— harnessing buildings and communities as vehicles to support human health and well-being. The WELL Community Standard aims to impact individuals not just within the walls of their home or workplace, but throughout the public spaces where they spend their days.

Greater emphasis on work-life integration

The lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred.  Work-life integration means that employees can complete personal tasks in the workplace, and similarly compete work tasks at home, or outside of the traditional 9-5 hours. Millennials, for example, are looking for purpose in their jobs and are willing to carry out personal tasks during the day and work on evenings or weekends. Some of the changes happening with the workplace are moving towards this trend: more flexible, non-traditional work environments, increased amenities, and even increased integration of technology in the workplace.  This trend is set to continue as more employers provide the tools to ensure that employees can integrate work and personal life effectively.