Occupational Health Trends, 2019
At the beginning of each year, we take a look at some of the occupational health trends that we predict will be on the agenda of businesses that are looking to improve their occupational health and wellbeing strategies.
Last year we explored the wellbeing agenda, empowerment in the workplace and a cultural shift as being the major occupational health trends for 2018.
This year, we’re looking at four occupational health trends that you can expect to see in 2019.
Individuals’ working lives can become stressful for any number of reasons; financial concerns, increased workload, internal pressures from management or even unrealistic expectations that people place on themselves.
Whatever the reason, the outcome is the same; feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.
Often known as ‘burnout’ these feelings can be caused by chronic stress in the work environment.
This is by no means a new concept and rather than suggesting that we will see more burnout in 2019, we are predicting that businesses will start to recognise the importance of addressing the problem and formulating strategies to support those suffering from it and prevent its escalation.
Implementing workplace counselling services and putting together training programmes for managers can help to recognise the symptoms of burnout.
Last year, a Forbes article about the ways to identify and overcome workplace burnout stated that 23% of employees worked for a company offering a burnout prevention program.
We expect to see this increase in 2019 as organisations recognise the importance of reducing stress levels and focusing on the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff.
Very often, burnout can be the result of an unrealistic expectation of someone “being their best self” in the workplace.
From a personal perspective, many people strive to focus on caring for themselves at the beginning of a New Year. While many of these resolutions might not last, there’s an opportunity for businesses to encourage this prioritisation of self-care through their occupational health services.
Organisations can introduce regular healthy rituals to keep employers energised. It could be a spa day for staff, a regular yoga class or encouraging people to stretch their legs and get some fresh air while on a break.
A company’s office design can help to boost health and wellbeing. This could be as simple as giving staff a space where they can go to relax and unwind, or adding an on-site gym.
Sit/stand desks, indoor plants and more natural light will all have a positive impact on staff’s physical and mental wellbeing.
In 2019, we predict that as well as individuals putting more emphasis on giving themselves more ‘me time’, businesses will put together programmes and strategies that will help them to do this in the workplace.
Changes to the working week
It seems like we may be moving closer to the idea of a four-day working week.
In 2018, Cardiff-based business IndyCube moved to a four-day working week and saw benefits when they did.
The TUC also suggested last year that advances in technology could make it possible for more businesses to embrace the idea of a shorter working week (without loss of pay) within the next decade.
We’re certainly not suggesting that we will see a shift towards a four-day working week in 2019. However, we do think that more organisations will start to experiment with shorter working weeks to help ease stress in the workplace and provide staff with more flexibility when it comes to their working hours.
This is less of a 2019 trend and more of a timeless trend for every year.
Finding the perfect balance between your working life and private life is the Holy Grail that everyone seeks to achieve.
As technology blurs the line between work and home, it’s becoming harder to escape the office when it can follow you wherever you are via your smartphone.
The increasing use of laptops and mobile devices certainly contributed to the recent findings of research by YouGov, which suggested that younger generations are increasingly likely to have a poor work-life balance.
There’s not one simple catch-all solution for the work/life-balance issue, but businesses can mitigate the negative effect on employees by ensuring that their occupational health strategies support staff.
This could include activities, training and internal campaigns promoting mental and physical wellbeing.
No matter how they do it, we see businesses putting a lot of emphasis on ensuring that their staff have a healthy work/life balance.
If your business goal for 2019 is to improve the health and wellbeing of your staff, the Fusion Health & Wellbeing portal has been designed to help both employers and employees understand how their lifestyle choices can directly affect their health.
If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today.