Good employee health is a win-win for both employees and employers.

Most employers have wellness programs in place by now. Small and large companies alike are experiencing what the research states: Preventive wellness plans decrease health care costs, improve retention, decrease absenteeism and increase productivity. The key to successful plans is the focus on prevention rather than just early detection and rewarding the employees for engagement. Those qualities are reflected in the trends for 2018.

 “Wellbeing” is the current term being used to maximize not only the employee’s experience at work, but the whole culture and the employer’s experience as well. Many of the 2018 wellness trends reflect this goal.

1. Flexibility

Allowing employees to work flexible hours reduces stress; helps them avoid traffic, handle home needs and improves their work-life balance. A study at the University of Minnesota showed flexible hours and schedules increased employee’s well-being and healthful behavior. Sleep improved and staff had more energy during the day and most people showed levels of higher job satisfaction and lower absenteeism. Another way to allow flexibility is to allow employees to work from home—often, working from home results in higher productivity and lower levels of stress.

2. Reducing physical stress

Incorporating standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and encouraging movement all help reduce the toll constant sitting takes on the body. Offering yoga or other movement classes before, during or after the work day decreases physical stress. Providing bonuses like gym memberships or giving paid time off to go to the gym is also a trend that some employers are using.

3. Reducing mental stress

Meditation and mindfulness programs are an up-and-coming trend for 2018. These tools reduce mental stress, decrease both anxiety and depression, and improve focus and clarity.

4. Reducing chemical stress

In-house workshops covering nutrition, diet, cleansing and detoxification are new and popular with employees. If the company has an employee cafeteria, offering healthy choices leads staff to make better choices.

Because of the nationwide opioid crisis, classes covering pain and reducing pain without strong medications are a hot topic for 2018, also. These classes offer non-pharmacological solutions to common conditions and encourage employees to understand their options.

5. Bringing it in-house

The hottest wellness trend for employers in 2018 is helping employees to make healthy choices convenient. In-house workshops, lunch and learns, and classes that are easily accessible and rewarded have the most impact. Lunch and learns with a healthy lunch provided are gaining popularity. Topics range from nutrition, stress reduction, exercise, symptom solutions, women’s health issues and many more. Companies vet local experts in these areas to come in and provide an experience for their employees. Yoga and movement classes before work or at lunch are gaining popularity; as are providing healthy lunch and snack options.

Worthington Optimal Wellness was founded in 1987 by Dr. Julia Keiser whose mission has been to create a healthier, happier community. As physical, mental and chemical stress has increased, it became clear that treating the whole person with natural and holistic methods was most impactful. WOW’s core service remains chiropractic care but incorporates massage, nutrition, exercise, allergy relief and other wellness services and products designed to improve all aspects of health. Education of patients and the community is vital and includes in house programs and corporate wellness workshops. WOW currently utilizes 3 chiropractors, 5 massage therapists and 7 support staff to provide results for patients and the community.