In our Wellbeing Trends 2024 report, we explore emerging workplace trends and topics, including work-life balance, health tech, consumer wellness and the human need for connection.
It might feel like we’re approaching the end of 2023 in a contradiction of promise and uncertainty. New developments in health research and technology bring a glimmer of positive change, and as a nation we appear to be increasingly engaged with our health. Yet it often feels that we live with an ever-present undercurrent of anxiety driven by world events.
As we enter the new year, businesses will be looking to take these new developments and turn them into meaningful change — investing in the right support to help their people thrive.
The autonomy of the employee is growing. There is shift in perspective over management styles, ways to feel connected to the workplace and places to seek support.
The Wellbeing Trends report uses data from sources including the NHS, Google search trends, academic reports and consumer data to investigate key wellbeing themes and help businesses get a head start as we enter the new year. So what wellbeing trends will be the talk of the workplace in 2024?
Trend 1: Rethinking flexibility at work
Even as top CEOs edge towards a return to the office, there has been a powershift in employer-employee relationships. Google search trends show a huge increase in searches for ‘remote jobs’ as people prioritise their work-life balance.
According to research by Trajectory, 54% of people who work from home say they plan on having more free time in the future. There’s a rising desire among job seekers to find employment that suits their own circumstances — be it a flexible work schedule, remote working or the ability to flex how they work based on their individual needs.
Trend 2: Consumer wellness in the workplace
People are taking a proactive approach to their wellbeing and engaging with health content online. However, in the age of the TikTok trend, many are turning to new and untested remedies to aid their health concerns.
While this engagement shows a willingness to invest in our own health, it can be hard to differentiate between tried-and-tested solutions and passing fads.
As a nation we’re more informed than ever, yet only 42% of employees have been asked for input on their workplace wellbeing strategy. The key for employers is to encourage employee engagement, then take this enthusiasm and invest in robust, evidence-based solutions that support their people’s health.
Trend 3: AI and health tech
AI is the Collins Dictionary word of the year, reflecting how this technology is already changing processes and providing new opportunities in workplaces around the world. As 2023 comes to an end, there has been a huge change in the way we use artificial intelligence, with many finding that healthcare technology has become part of their day-to-day lives.
AI has been a huge talking point over the past year, but it’s the health benefits of AI that are taking centre stage for 2024. In June 2023, the government invested a further £21 million into artificial intelligence for the NHS to develop new technologies in diagnosis and treatment insights.
In other tech developments, remote health support through 24/7 GPs and online therapy are on the rise, as people seek support outside of the NHS due to worries about waiting times, which are at an all-time high.
Trend 4: The need for connection
The ways we connect are evolving. Despite new technologies helping us to ‘connect’ more easily, loneliness is now considered a global health concern, estimated to cost UK employers £2.5 billion each year.
For managers, this means their people might be looking for a deeper sense of connection at work — somewhere they feel like they truly belong. Employee values and effective managers are two of the most influential factors in employee retention, productivity and wellbeing, suggesting that people are looking for real meaning and personal connection in the work that they do.
Outside of work, there’s been a significant rise in ‘third place’ environments — those that are neither the home nor workplace — being used to bring us together. This is especially prevalent in mental health and wellbeing with searches for ‘Andy’s Man Club’ increasing year-on-year:
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Our Wellbeing Trends 2024 report features an in-depth look at these key health and wellbeing themes.
It uses data from Google search trends, the NHS, consumer trends and Westfield Health’s wellbeing research to help business leaders, managers and HR teams get a head start on workplace wellbeing in 2024.