The week in wellness: Essential wellness, HR and health care trends for 2021, preparing your vaccine campaign, and more

The week’s essential content and fresh industry pickings for those dedicated to employee well-being.

By Robby Brumberg      @robbybrumberg      
2021 wellness trends

We’ve almost done it. We have very nearly reached the end of what’s been an immensely stressful, painful year. If that doesn’t call for a toast, I don’t know what does!

As we ease into a new year, take a moment to reflect on the good things that happened in 2020. Think about all you accomplished, despite the many obstacles and challenges. Give yourself a major pat on the back. 

We’re eternally grateful for friends like you who are working so hard to make employee wellness central to your organization. We wish you a restful and refreshing holiday season, and we hope you’ll find the links below inspiring, relevant and useful.

As always, please get in touch with any ideas, suggestions or feedback on how we can serve you better. Happy holidays, and see you in 2021!

1. Prepping your vaccine response. The COVID-19 vaccine is here and should become increasingly available in coming months. Now what?

The New York Times writes that businesses can legally require vaccinations—and that they probably should—noting that “it would be a disservice for the business community not to use its enormous power and influence to protect the health of workers, customers and society.

However, as The Wall Street Journal notes, most leaders do not plan to make inoculations mandatory due to fear of backlash. Regardless of your plans, HR Executive offers ways to persuade workers to get the shot. And here are more vaccine messaging tips from IPR

2. Wellness trends that will profoundly change health care in 2021. Benefits Pro says that post-COVID return-to-work plans, holistic programming and a greater reliance on advanced tech such as AI will transform the health care landscape. It also notes that the expansion of remote work presents a golden opportunity to extend DE&I efforts, as evidenced by VMware’s recent announcement.

3. HR-centric wellness strategies to consider. Human Resources Online shares how Dell Technologies, eBay and other large companies are planning to support employees’ physical, mental, social and financial well-being in 2021.

HR Exec also shares three top tech trends that merit exploration, including sensing technologies and prediction capabilities.

4. Hot fitness trends for the new year. Today predicts we’ll see a continued spike in employee-led lunchtime workouts, a renewed focus on “restorative fitness,” and more people tuning into other classes taught in exotic locales. As Today notes, “Between virtual reality and apps that provide live workouts, you can exercise anywhere in the world.” 

5. Getting leaders on board with wellness. The Ladders shares guidance on persuading leaders on the crucial importance of promoting worker well-being. The piece offers a reminder that, “Ultimately, when your team feels valued, they’re more healthy and productive, which will improve your recruitment, retention, and overall business performance.” 

6. Workplace predictions for 2021. The Ladders forecasts major investment in employee wellness, a sharp decline in business travel, and an increased demand for contract or temp workers.

7. A peek inside award-winning wellness programs. Excela Health has won plaudits for its well-being initiative, which blends robust in-person wellness perks with online offerings. Monster also dishes on wellness offerings at Accenture, Asana, Google and Microsoft.

8. 17 top wellness companies. WellSteps lists top vendors and providers to consider in 2021. 

9. Beating back those winter blues. Forbes shares seven tools to help bolster employees’ mental well-being during these dark months, including meditation apps such as Headspace, virtual therapy and telemedicine, and resilience training.

10. Prioritizing health equity in the new year. Health Affairs notes the importance of providing “culturally sensitive” health-benefits programs and shares tips on reducing health disparities within your workforce.