Wellness Industry Trends
At Peerfit, we’re continually seeking to learn everything about wellness in hopes of discovering new ways to innovate and empower individuals to live healthy and active lifestyles.
Earlier this year, we reached out to employee benefits brokers to hear their thoughts on the current trends in the wellness industry. Our findings will help other brokers ensure that their wellness offerings are competitive and address the needs of their clients who look to implement this type of programming.
The Importance of Wellness Benefits
In recent years we’ve learned that roughly half of all American adults have one or more preventable chronic disease. Interestingly, only 10% of the brokers we surveyed stated that 51% of their book of business currently have comprehensive wellness programs in place. Considering that unwell employees are estimated to cost the US economy $530 billion annually, this was surprising.
Research has shown that seven out of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Exercise has a positive correlation with every pillar of wellness, making it essential for obtaining optimal health and preventing diseases. Strategically implemented wellness programs that include exercise benefits create a healthier, happier workforce and will help solve absenteeism and presenteeism.
Exercise and Mental Health
The pandemic has brought a heightened awareness to the urgent need for addressing our society’s mental health issues and employers are taking action with plans for expanding their mental health benefits.
Specifically, the brokers we surveyed predicted that 91% of employers will be implementing a mental health program to support their employees. This matches the findings in Wellable’s 2021 Employee Benefits Industry Trends Report which states that companies have increased their investment in mental health benefits by 88% this year.
Evidence on the benefits of exercise for improving our mental health continues to grow, demonstrating that the two have always been very closely associated. Studies have shown that after only five minutes of moderate exercise, mood-enhancing effects are produced. Exercise also lowers our levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, helping individuals manage their general stress levels without medication. Even one hour a week of yoga or a mindfulness practice is shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
In 2020, the demand for virtual solutions skyrocketed in tandem with mental health needs and emotional well-being. According to Wellable, due to COVID-19 forcing the world into a remote working environment, 94% of companies are now planning to expand their virtual wellness services. Additionally, 93% also have plans to expand their virtual employee engagement activities. Expanding these services are both sustainable and easily scalable, and allow employees the freedom to use these benefits at a time and location that works best for them.
Only 13% of the brokers we surveyed stated that 76-100% of their third-party programs already included digital or at-home fitness solutions.
With so many health benefits achieved through physical activity, employers should zoom out, refocus and strategize how they can build a community of support, awareness and health. Focusing on exercise and community addresses most of the top priorities for employees today.
We hope to see the day when every organization recognizes that the implementation of a comprehensive wellness program should be a highest priority. Peerfit believes that “when it comes to investing in the health and wellness of your team, it’s important to remember just that - it’s an investment, not just another expense.”
Ready to make your wellness offerings more competitive and effective? Reach out through our form below to start a conversation.