CBRE has published a whitepaper revealing the five key trends which are producing a seismic shift in workplace wellness and pushing it higher up the corporate agenda.
By 2040, CBRE believes that the workplace will be a very different environment, characterised by autonomy and greater choice for employees. In addition, societal and technological changes will shift the approach individuals and organisations will take regarding health, wellbeing and wellness will become a priority.
The whitepaper identified the five following trends which are harnessing a growth in workplace wellness programmes:
- As employees are living and working longer, workplaces need to adapt. Greater flexibility to support non-conventional working patterns is seen as an important factor for the over 50’s. Organisations that accommodate these patterns are likely to gain competitive advantage by developing and retaining a pool of experienced and flexible staff.
- However whilst people are living longer, they are not necessarily living healthier lives, with worldwide obesity nearly doubling since 1980. For companies which that pay towards employees’ healthcare costs, there is therefore a growing financial incentive to promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Developing a focus on wellness also makes sense from a talent perspective. With high levels of employment in key global markets and an aging workforce in many Western countries, one consequence is the well documented ‘War for Talent.’ CBRE’s own research indicates that 80 per cent of employees agree that the wellness offering of an organisation will be crucial in attracting them to or keeping them in an organisation within the next 10 years.
- Stress is another driving factor and is linked to both a major cause of burnout and depression. The financial cost of this, both in terms of working days lost stress as well as loss of productivity and associated healthcare costs is high meaning there is a real impetus on companies to help combat stress in the workplace.
- The final trend observed by CBRE is the role of technology in making it easier for people to monitor and manage their health through gadgets and apps. It is quite possible that these tracking technologies might be introduced and blended into the workplace as progressive employers use the data they produce to create supportive and desirable working environments, increasing productivity and reducing presenteeism and absenteeism.
Commenting on the findings, Hannah Hahn global workplace innovation manager at CBRE said:
“By 2040 we believe life will be very different as the lines between home and the workplace continue to blur. Wellness is a key to this integration and it is swiftly moving up the boardroom agenda. Indeed, three-quarters of respondents to this year’s CBRE European Occupier Survey revealed that they’re running formal wellness programmes for employees.
“Businesses have the opportunity to create competitive advantage through improved productivity, reduced healthcare costs and staff retention as well as supporting the personal health agendas of their people.
“To make an impact companies must create a strategy rather than implement a series of individual initiatives. The strategy must have defined goals which are regularly reviewed. There is no one-size-fits all approach. The right strategy depends on an organisation’s culture, the size of the organisation, the demographics of the workforce and the types of buildings and workplaces used. One thing is certain, a holistic approach is critical. For wellness programmes to succeed, last and deliver the desired results, all key business functions must work together to implement them.”