With health and wellbeing at the forefront of global change for almost two years now, our latest report reveals what we can expect as we enter 2022.
The Wellbeing Trends 2022 report explores what the nation has learnt from the pandemic, the rise of values in the workplace, approaches to hybrid working and some potential challenges which still lie ahead.
The report uses data from sources including the Office for National Statistics, the NHS, Google search trends and our own wellbeing surveys to investigate key wellbeing themes and help businesses get a head start on supporting their people as we enter 2022.
Here are some key facts and figures from the report, which you can download for free to access a more detailed analysis.
The rise in health awareness
As the on-going pandemic exposes us to new terminology and concepts, public awareness of key healthcare issues continues to grow, prompting individuals to take charge of their own wellbeing.
Searches for opticians and dentists have almost doubled since October 2019, and the number of people looking up ‘private healthcare’ online has increased by 23% in the past three months.
Interest in the flu jab is three times higher now than it was in 2019, suggesting that health‐conscious decision making will remain important to much of the population.
While this is a positive step towards a healthier nation, those who feel driven to seek their own treatment may experience a heightened sense of worry, especially if they’re financing it themselves.
There’s an opportunity here for employers to ask their people what support they need in this area. Policies such as mental health days and flexible leave for appointments are simple ways to empower your people to look after their health and will be vital to employee wellbeing in the coming year.
Employees expect flexible working
Employees have been trickling back into their workplaces since the spring, but hybrid working looks set to stay in a number of sectors. With people more informed than ever about the typical policies and perks common to their sector, they’re becoming more choosy about the job roles they apply for.
Searches for ‘hybrid jobs’ have quadrupled in 2021 and look set to continue rising into the new year. Workers are also looking for more stability, with 53% of those surveyed for our Emergency Exit report saying job security has become more important to them since the start of the pandemic.
We’ve also seen a 400% increase in searches for document templates, with CV templates topping the list, signalling that employees are getting ready to vote with their feet if their workplace benefits don’t meet their expectations.
Our new normal lives
Search trends from 2021 tell us that people are continuing to engage with fitness not only as a driver of good health but also as a means for socialisation.
Google searches for ‘social sports’ are on an upward trajectory and searches for ‘loneliness’ are trending down at last. People are still looking for ‘parks near me’, with summer 2021 outperforming the previous year despite the winding down of restrictions.
The nation is also becoming increasingly involved with community issues such as sustainability and climate change. And with the recent COP26 conference bringing the climate crisis to international attention, it’s becoming clear that a sense of social responsibility is driving us to explore how we can help tackle global issues.
Despite these wider societal concerns, wellbeing issues a bit closer to home — especially surrounding finances, stress and burnout — are still at the forefront of our minds. According to ONS data from November 2021, over 6 in 10 UK adults (62%) reported their cost of living had increased over the past month.
We’re likely to see a significant mental health impact if households across the country find themselves struggling to make ends meet. And with 51% of the workforce saying they’re less than a month away from burnout, picking up some extra hours may not be a viable option.
How employers can support their people
As we enter 2022 on a backdrop of continued uncertainty, employers will be looking to tailor their wellbeing support to suit their people. Read the full Wellbeing Trends 2022 report to discover more key health and wellbeing topics for the new year, including tips to help your workforce adapt.
Further resources to help you build or improve your wellbeing strategy
HR health and wellbeing toolkit – This free guide helps HR teams build or expand their wellbeing strategy.
Workplace wellbeing resource centre – A collection of our free downloads, including reports, guides and factsheets for employers and employees.
CIPD — Planning for hybrid working – Advice for organisations planning a move to hybrid working.