As we enter 2024, transformative changes are on the horizon for workplace wellbeing, with experts and thought leaders offering predictions and insights that illuminate the strategies organisations should adopt to cultivate a healthier and more resilient professional environment.
Employee Mental Health Support in 2024
The unmistakable shift toward prioritising mental health in 2024 is underscored by Lisa Hallewell, founder and director of e-volveHR. Hallewell encapsulates this evolution by stating, “The spotlight on mental health has transitioned into mainstream consciousness, with an ever-growing awareness.” However, she astutely notes that this heightened awareness poses challenges, urging organisations to move beyond superficial approaches to employee support. Hallewell emphasises the imperative for a comprehensive evaluation of unspoken values and work practices to understand their influence on employee mental wellbeing.
Nebel Crowhurst, Chief People Officer at Reward Gateway, adds a crucial dimension to the discussion, predicting that battling burnout will emerge as a business priority in 2024. Crowhurst notes the rising trend of employees, especially Gen Z, prioritising life over work through initiatives like ‘bare minimum Mondays’ and ‘lazy girl jobs.’ This self-initiated approach to safeguarding mental health underscores the need for organisations to evolve their support systems.
Crowhurst advocates for HR leaders to elevate their support beyond traditional measures, stating, “Moving into 2024, HR leaders will need to level up their support to stand out from the crowd and make employees feel valued.” Recognising that a subsidised gym membership alone falls short, Crowhurst emphasises the importance of fostering a culture of recognition and affirmation, aligning with employee needs and viewing avoiding burnout as a core element of Employee Value Propositions (EVPs).
Integration of AI in Mental Health Management
Experts predict that the integration of AI in workplace mental health management will revolutionise wellbeing initiatives in 2024.
High Performance Coach Adam Levine underscores the shift toward holistic mental health programs, incorporating mindfulness, stress reduction, and the adoption of digital health tools, including apps and wearables. This trend extends to personalised wellness plans, integrating genetic testing and AI-driven recommendations, alongside a focus on nutrition with a move toward plant-based diets.
Physiotherapist Peter Grinbergs foresees a future where health tracker devices and digital platforms provide instant access to expert health advice. Grinbergs commented, “2023 was undoubtedly the year of AI. We’ll see this trend carry through to 2024. The era of one-size-fits-all is over – in 2024, it will be easier than ever for companies to offer customised physiotherapy programs, nutrition plans, mental fitness programs, and more.”
Comprehensive Workplace Wellbeing Initiatives
Tianne Croshaw, founder of Resilience Wellbeing Partnership, predicts a future of holistic initiatives that will redefine how organisations approach employee wellbeing. She foresees a notable shift in workplace wellbeing, stating, “As we approach 2024, the landscape of workplace wellbeing continues to evolve, with a focus on comprehensive initiatives that build a culture of holistic health and support.”
In tune with this evolution, Croshaw predicts a surge in personalised wellbeing programs. “Expect initiatives that offer personalised wellness plans,” she urges, “integrating resilience and mental health support, sleep hygiene, fitness programs, nutrition guidance, and stress management techniques.” This foresight recognises the diverse needs of the workforce and acknowledges that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sufficient.
Hybrid Working Model and Social Wellbeing
Suzie Hughes, HR and Operations Director for Gleeson Recruitment Group, and Emma-Louise Fusari, founder of In-House Health, offer their perspectives on the trajectory of hybrid working and its impact on social wellbeing in 2024.
Hughes sets the stage by highlighting the persistent trend in the continuation of the hybrid working model, noting that “Companies will continue to work using the hybrid working model and look at new ways to be flexible,” acknowledging the enduring nature of remote and hybrid work structures, shaped by the increased demand for flexibility among employees.
Building on this, Hughes draws attention to the rising prevalence of flexible working requests, citing data from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). According to her, there has been “a 40% rise in flexible working requests since the pandemic.” This surge indicates a growing appetite among employees for arrangements that align with the evolving understanding of work-life balance and flexibility.
Emma-Louise Fusari adds depth to the discussion by forecasting a shift in workplace benefits towards social wellbeing. She predicts, “In 2024, we’re going to see organisations embrace a more holistic approach to employee wellbeing.” Fusari points to the recognition that social wellbeing goes beyond interpersonal relationships and includes a sense of belonging, social inclusion, stability, and feeling valued.
In emphasising the importance of interpersonal skills and connection, Fusari notes, “As the debate on hybrid working continues, one thing we’ve learned over the past few years is that as humans, connection matters.” She anticipates a shift in employee support and training, moving beyond traditional health and wellbeing subjects. Instead, organisations will focus on developing their workforce’s interpersonal skills, including communication, emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, and resilience.
The future of workplace wellbeing in 2024
Workplace wellbeing in 2024 is marked by a profound shift towards prioritising mental health, embracing AI-driven solutions, and fostering comprehensive initiatives that cater to the diverse needs of the workforce.
The prevalence of the hybrid working model highlights the evolving nature of work structures, while the emphasis on social wellbeing reflects the vital importance of human connection in the professional sphere.
The key lies in adapting support systems, acknowledging individual needs, and cultivating a holistic approach that not only values employees but also propels them toward sustained wellbeing and success.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.