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2020 employee benefits and wellness trends in the UK

With 2020 just around the corner, it’s time to start planning for its arrival. To do so, we need to take a closer look at workplace wellness and any issues that came to the surface in 2019. Wellness concepts, especially those related to employee wellness, are gradually developing, and more organizations will pay more attention to their employees’ needs in the New Year. In this Pacific Prime UK article, we’ll discuss the top employee benefits and wellness trends in the UK for 2020.

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The concept of workplace wellness is evolving

With multiple generations making up the existing workforce, wellness and health is a topic on everyone’s lips in the workplace. As Millennials fill up offices and Gen Z start to make their way into the workplace, the expectation for employers to invest in their wellbeing and health continues to grow. According to a recent study commissioned by ClassPass, “75% of professionals surveyed believe it is their employer’s responsibility to contribute to their health and wellbeing, ideally in part by providing wellness benefits to employees.”

But the way employers and employees see access to health and wellness benefits can differ greatly. According to Aetna’s report, “70% of employers believe they provide good access to health and wellness benefits and support, but only 23% of employees agree.” What’s more, the study found that “82% of workers across the globe are concerned that mental health issues could one day impact their ability to work. However, only 25% of employees believe that their company provides good support for mental health conditions.”

In order to reap the benefits of a healthy workforce – such as improved productivity, fewer sick days, and less money spent on health insurance – companies need to revise employee benefits and wellness programs to keep up with employees’ expectations. Some of the 2020 employee benefits and wellness trends in the UK to look out for include:

Holistic benefits

Expect to see more holistic employee benefit plans on offer in 2020. Designed to address care as a whole, these plans include both mind and body components. Managing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression will become more common, and may even extend to assistance with financial burdens like college debt payments in some cases.

More companies will approach employee benefits and health insurance with the intention of investing in both employees and benefits. The companies that adopt this will be paying more attention to metrics, such as productivity, employee attraction and retention, and company culture.

Employees are looking for health and wellness benefit options that match their lives and needs, which statistics clearly back. According to MetLife’s 2019 Employee Benefit Trends Study, 55% of participants said they “would be more interested in working for a company that offered these types of benefits (holistic)”. Likewise, 53% of those surveyed said they “would be more loyal to a company that offered these types of benefits” while 52% said they “would be more successful in both work and life” if they had access to holistic benefits.

Mental health benefits

Aside from harming mental health, stress also affects employee engagement, which is why more companies will incorporate activities that are designed to reduce stress in their corporate wellness programs. Many companies have already started providing on-site wellness coaching, individual therapy, and mindfulness courses.

Based on the ClassPass survey results, people expect their employers to “contribute to their health and wellbeing.” In fact, 88% of professionals surveyed mentioned they’d be more likely to put in a good word for an employer who supports their wellbeing efforts.

Financial wellness programs

While many organizations already offer seminars on the subject, the way forward involves providing in-house financial wellness programs and counseling directed at individual employees’ needs. Most organizations have employees ranging in age from fresh graduates to those facing retirement. Financial wellness programs can vary from payday loans using vacation time or hours as currencies to tuition reimbursement and student loan assistance.

Financial stress can severely impact productivity and employers that understand this realize that any costs they spend on expanding financial programs will return twofold.

Equal benefits

Giving alternative families and identities access to equal benefits will be a major shift into the new year. Alternative families may include people with blended families, who are part of an LGBTQ+ community, or who are caring for elderly parents or extended family members. Companies will start to explore the practicality of expanding family leave policies so that new parents of both sexes can have access to flexitime policies.

Using AI to improve predictions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already personalizing the employee experience by allowing organizations to use data to modify and adjust their wellness programs, thereby creating a better user experience according to an employee’s wellness goals and preferences. By fine-tuning, it also reduces overall corporate costs.

You can expect to see more of this in 2020. For example, AI may start being used to monitor emojis in internal messaging systems like Slack, which will help companies measure employee satisfaction and deal with issues before they become too difficult to control.

Assessing your workplace wellness culture

Ideas about health and wellbeing are changing all over the world. People are starting to understand how things such as employee benefits and wellness programs can have a significant impact on general wellbeing, and the demand for health and wellness support at work will only continue to grow.

In order to keep up with changes like the ones mentioned above, employers need to conduct an annual review of their workplace wellness cultures. Annual reviews, which should include metrics – for example, employee engagement and productivity – help organizations see what’s working and what isn’t.

Companies can then adjust their programs accordingly. They might even start experimenting with corporate culture changes, like remote work or flexitime options, which we are starting to realize is directly related to wellness.

If you need help with your employee benefits plan, you can reach out to an international employee benefit consultant like Pacific Prime UK. Our team of expert advisors has years of experience in offering the best employee benefits solutions and company insurance solutions to groups and businesses of all sizes. Likewise, we work with the following insurers, as well as many others, to help you find the right private health insurance in the UK for your needs and budget:

Contact us today to find out how Pacific Prime UK can help your business.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.