Workplace wellness industry rises to face the events of a turbulent 2020

Any one of this year’s crises would have been overwhelming. But they all converged at once, testing the resiliency of organizations and employees like never before.

By Tony Silber      
State of workplace wellness report

Employee wellness has been tested severely this year. The events of 2020 have ratcheted up workplace stress to unprecedented levels. The world remains in the throes of a prolonged pandemic. The economy has been shattered by the impact of the health crisis. Organizations have struggled with rounds of furloughs and layoffs, and many have closed their doors permanently. Workforces have had to adapt to health risks on the job and to the isolating effects of working remotely. A social justice reckoning continues to sweep through the streets of America, while the specter of an acrimonious election looms.

“Any one of those things would have been hugely significant for an employer to have to grapple with,” says Michelle Artibee, director of workforce wellbeing at Cornell University. “It’s been overwhelming. But even for employers that prioritized workplace well-being prior to the pandemic, the pandemic has only strengthened that commitment.”

For workplace wellness—a $60 billion fast-growth global industry dedicated to employees’ mental, physical, financial and social health—2020 has been a time of urgency and innovation.

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