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As the end of the year approaches, we know for many of you it’s a time to reflect on the year that has been and start planning for 2020. With that in mind, we though that we would share our Top 4 emerging health and wellbeing trends for 2020.

With innovations in technology continuing to impact all areas of business, the implications for the health and wellbeing space are exciting. Technology will change the way we communicate, change the way that health and safety messages are shared and change the way we promote health within the workforce setting.

So here are our Top 4 emerging trends:

1. A more well-rounded approach to health and wellbeing

In the US, the “Total Worker Health” concept is gaining traction. It’s an approach to employee wellbeing that goes beyond physical health, integrating safety and health protection with injury and illness reduction strategies.

A focus on proactive injury and illness prevention combined with the ease of accessing information, whether it be your own health records or safety information will see a more integrated approach to workplace health and wellbeing.

This approach will involve more than just early intervention and return-to-work strategies. As more employers recognise the value in preventing injuries and illness in their workforce, the WHS space will broaden to include programs and initiatives to improve emotional, financial, social and environmental areas of wellbeing.

Businesses need to be proactive with employee wellbeing and embrace strategies that will help them retain a workforce that is healthy. Healthy workers make healthy business — and there’s more to health than just the physical aspect.

2. High touch accompanying the high tech

Today’s technology makes information easier than ever to access, but the online factor reduces the ‘touch’ experience. It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of providing a lot of information without also providing the tools to do anything with it.

The more successful wellbeing programs will integrate both the advantage of having information available to employees and the capability to deliver fast and personalised solutions to the problems that employees are reporting.

The integration of both high tech and the very personalised high touch experience in wellbeing will be more important than ever in 2020.

3. Big tech, big data…and big security

Tech is going to continue to be a big thing in health, with increasing access to apps, wearable technology and health data.

Advances in data collection and analytic tools mean that it’s now more feasible than ever before to deliver relevant health information, personalised to the recipient, at any time of day, in any location across the globe.

With all the data collection, a renewed focus on data analytics and finding ways to better understand the information gained (the trends, the pain points, the associated costs and the impact on the wider business) will come. From there this information and knowledge will be used to make better business decisions – procurement decisions, policy decisions, recruitment decisions, operational decisions… the list goes on.

With the increasing amount of access to tech available, there’s also ever increasing scrutiny on how the data derived from the tech is being used.

Privacy, data ownership and the security of employee health information is a hot topic of conversation amongst industry leaders in occupational health. In the last year or so, organisations have started to take this much more seriously and have begun to enforce policies around employee health data and security.

4. Normalising mental wellbeing

It is estimated that in any year, one in five working-age people will be suffering from a mental health condition and 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health or substance-use disorder in their life­time.

While poor physical condition can impact our state of mind, the reverse is also true. And with life becoming increasingly fast-paced, depression, stress and anxiety are impacting more and more on the quality of life, wellbeing and productivity of workers.

Organisations that proactively look after the mental wellbeing of employees are starting to see the benefits of a workforce with better mental health. The continual reinforcement that mental wellbeing in the workplace is not something that should be ignored or stigmatised, means that better support and programs are increasingly accessible for anyone who needs them.

In 2020, we’ll see further efforts to normalise the necessity of seeking help for all wellbeing problems, be they physical or mental.

It looks like 2020 will be an exciting time in the workplace health and wellbeing space!


Author Healthworks

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