Five wellbeing trends for 2022

Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
28 December 2021

Wellbeing has been at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds during 2021. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people have become even more aware of the importance of looking after their mental and physical health.

Each year, Virgin Pulse asks experts to make some wellbeing predictions for the next 12 months. And we’ve rounded up some of those predictions to share here…

Mental Health

Mental health awareness has been increasing over recent years, and that’s only set to continue into 2022. As many employers switch to hybrid ways of working, with employees working from home and the office, Richard Branson thinks that there will be an even greater focus on mental health.

He says: “Supporting the mental health of employees, customers, and the wider community should already be a major priority for companies around the world. In the year ahead, as working from home becomes more common and our lives grow more interconnected than ever, there will be even greater focus upon mental health alongside physical health and wellbeing. This should have a positive impact on individuals, businesses, and communities.”


Digital health provision

During the pandemic, more and more health services have been using online tools to provide care to patients remotely. And now that healthcare has started to embrace digital tools, there’s no turning back.

Amanda Graham, PhD, Chief of Innovations at EX Program by Truth Initiative and VP+ partner, says: “Not only has the global pandemic accelerated the uptake of digital tools and solutions among end-users, it has also resulted in blockbuster funding for digital health in 2021. This momentum behind digital health means a plethora of solutions for employers and health plans to evaluate in helping employees and members better manage their health.”

Holistic approach

There is a clear connection between physical and mental health, and that is also impacted by environmental factors too. Zubin Damania (also known as ZDoggMD) predicts that 2022 will be the year that people start to treat health holistically. 

He says: “I predict in 2022 we will finally start to wake up to the fact that our health and wellbeing depends on the mind as much as the physical body, on our social connections, on our communities. We will be less likely to reduce everything to pills and procedures, and more willing to treat health as the complex, holistic, connected endeavour that it is.”


Family inclusive

With homeschooling and caring for shielding relatives during the pandemic, it’s become more apparent how workplaces are not set up to support employees with caring responsibilities. This year, the pressure will be on employers to offer more family-friendly policies as if they don’t,  employees will be looking to move to companies where that support is already in place.

Rachel Boyd, VP of Enterprise Marketing, at Ovia Health, says: “Ovia Health anticipates that 2022 will be the year the world digs into what it means to be inclusive for working families as employees juggle new challenges around caregiving, mental health, work-life balance, and physical wellbeing.

“On top of all the usual pressures that accompany family life, parents in particular are burdened with making intense, fatiguing decisions daily to protect themselves and fill in the gaps. Employees also aren’t solely caring for their children, too; they’re juggling care for older parents, sick relatives, children with unique needs, and more. These responsibilities affect the mental health and wellbeing of every workforce, which impacts productivity, retention, and even health expenditure. Moreover, Ovia’s research shows that employees will leave their role if they don’t receive support, and fast.”


Wellbeing goes mainstream

2022 will be the year that wellbeing goes mainstream once and for all, according to industry analyst Josh Bersin. He says that it’s been treated as a ‘benefit’ for too long and should now be considered a key part of business strategy.

Josh explains: “CEOs and business leaders at all levels now recognise that if people are not productive, energetic, rested, and safe – they simply will not perform.

“So companies have pulled the wellbeing program out of the benefits department and are now embracing and training people about all aspects of wellbeing – including leaders, supervisors, and individuals. The “Definition” of wellbeing has also expanded – it goes beyond health and fitness to include mental and psychological health, resilience and self-awareness, and learning about how to design and manage the work environment to keep the organization healthy.”

Visit Virgin Pulse to learn more about wellbeing and download the 2022 wellbeing predictions eBook now.