The week in wellness: Recalibrating perks for remote workers, well-being tactics that work, and more

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

By Robby Brumberg      @robbybrumberg      
The week's top Wellness links

Greetings to our friends and fellow well-being warriors!

As we barrel toward the end of what’s certainly been the most stressful year any of us have endured, we sincerely hope you can find a respite of peace, rest and restoration during the upcoming holiday season. In the meantime, we hope you’ll find this batch of links enlightening and useful.

As always, please get in touch with any ideas, suggestions or feedback on how we can serve you better. Our aim is to help make your job easier and more enriching, as you strive to make employees’ lives better.

Here’s the week’s top links on workplace wellness, HR and employee engagement:

1. Shifting wellness toward remote-work life. Most corporate well-being programs were designed with onsite employees in mind. Forbes suggests augmenting your approach by identifying what employees value most right now, recalibrating expectations and objectives, and rewarding healthy behaviors. See how Google, Slack and other Silicon Valley titans are shifting their benefits to accommodate the COVID-19 era.

2. Finding the right platform for your workforce. With such a dizzying array of vendors, apps and solutions providers, finding the best choice for your unique workplace can be a vexing experience. Wellsteps makes the task a bit less daunting with a list featuring 21 of the “most popular” wellness platforms available right now.

3. Financial wellness might be the hottest trend for 2021. As ping pong tables, nap pods and other onsite amenities gather dust, employers should shift efforts (and budget) toward employees’ finances in the coming year. Consider using this open enrollment period to tout offerings such as financial coaching, cash-management apps or even payroll-deducted “rainy day” savings funds.    

4. U.S. employers paying less for health benefit costs. You’d think a global pandemic would make health care costs spike for companies, but Aon research finds that employers are spending less (per employee) than what was initially budgeted. The big question is: What will companies do with those savings in 2021? 

5. Which wellness tactics work best? Cigna’s new report on workplace well-being finds that “focused” programs deliver the most impact, mental health interventions yield the best ROI, and that middle managers are crucial conduits who can make or break your program.

6. Beating back the winter blues. Citing research from The International Journal of Wellbeing, CNN offers guidance to counteract seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the two best weapons against the “wintertime mindset,” the piece suggests.  

7. Amid ongoing isolation, “connectivity” is pivotal. A study from RingCentral finds that “employees who feel more connected during COVID-19 are more productive.” The report also reveals: “Employees at companies that promote a connected culture cite better physical and emotional well-being than employees of companies that do not promote a connected culture.” To promote connectivity, the study suggests prioritizing consistent (but not overwhelming) communication, as well as offering fun events such as virtual happy hours and group video games.  

8. Creating an attractive, interactive post-COVID workplace. Learn how Zappos, Siemens and other businesses are adjusting their cultures, tweaking perks and preparing for a profound—perhaps permanent—workplace evolution. 

9. Using tech to boost inclusivity. Instead of fearing or ignoring technology, why not use it to your advantage? HR Dive shows how AR, VR and AI can and “will play a crucial role in creating an accessible future of work for individuals with disabilities.”

10. Benefits trends and considerations for the year ahead. Dice Insights foresees big investments in expanded health coverage, flexible stipends, and dependent care programs.

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