Written by Laura Dallas, Champion Health’s Wellbeing Lead

For businesses like yours, health and wellbeing in the workplace has never been more important. At a time when your team – if not your entire business – is working from home, conversations around wellbeing are taking priority. 

As Wellbeing Lead at Champion Health and with our organisation’s story tied directly into workplace health, it’s great to see wellbeing take centre stage (even if it took a global pandemic to get there). But I’m still all too aware of urgent areas of improvement. 

In this post, you’re going to get my honest view on where workplace health needs to improve in 2021. 

1. It’s time to prioritise proactive and reactive interventions  

The types of support you offer to your employees falls on a continuum between proactive and reactive. Reactive interventions are ones that address a problem that already exists, whereas proactive interventions reach 100% of the workforce.

While reactive interventions have their place, proactive interventions are equally as important to maintain the health of your employees. That’s because they reach all of your employees, not waiting until things hit “crisis point”. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

From my work over the last year, I’ve seen that organisations are in desperate need of more proactive wellbeing solutions, such as health assessments for all members of staff and data-driven health and wellbeing strategies.

Proactive vs reactive wellbeing triangle

By taking this approach, it provides insight into the health of your entire workforce, giving you the chance to spot wellbeing challenges before they become crises.

Then you can work proactively to implement solutions, whether that’s through campaigns to raise awareness or training to upskill your leaders in health and wellbeing. 2021 is the year wellbeing has to become proactive and reactive.

2. Integration of solutions and providers   

When I speak to wellbeing professionals, HR leaders and CEOs across the UK, there’s one challenge we always discuss: there are too many solutions and providers. 

People that work in our sector are bogged down by dozens of systems aimed to support wellbeing. But because of how many there are, and the lack of integration  with the business’s systems and third parties – it’s noisy and that noise needs to be cut through. 

Its challenge enough to bring your people along with you and build engagement in your initiativesWhat’s more, it’s made even tougher when you’re battling the administration of half a dozen different solutions across mental health, physical health, absence, coaching, training, volunteering and everything else in your strategy. 

We need to start moving towards systems that can integrate with each other or provide all-in-one solutions. That way we’ll save time and be able to focus on what matters: doing good for our people. 

 3. Communicating to all employees

Whether it’s been on a casual Zoom catch up or a wellbeing chat channel, the businesses I’ve worked with this year have done all they can to open up the conversation about wellbeing. But challenges around communication still exist. It’s now harder than ever to ensure you’re communicating to every employee on a personal level. Going into 2021, we need to focus on how we can continue to communicate with everyone in the business effectively.

After all, it’s common to have regular engagement from a subset of your employees, but we need to reach everyone, especially those that are less likely to engage.

 4. Gathering strong data   

What do marketing and sales strategies have in common? They both rely on actionable dataWellbeing should be no different. 

To develop a proactive wellbeing strategy, you need to understand the challenges your people face, whether that’s workplace stress or musculoskeletal issues. Using qualitative data is good, but some just won’t open up and are more likely to report their honest health status if they know it’s anonymised through a third party. 

By gathering strong data, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas of improvement and boost your people’s wellbeing faster. 

5. All areas of wellbeing– not just mental health 

Finally, my most important point. Mental health has rightfully taken centre stage in 2020, but in 2021 we need to consider all forms of health – from physical to mental health, financial to lifestyle health, and everything in between. We can’t just focus on mental health in isolation, because otherwise meaningful change will not happen.

So, this is the year to look for solutions which can bridge the gap between every area of your people’s wellbeing and provide support across the board.