Four workplace wellbeing predictions for 2023

A sideways view of a black woman working at a desk
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
30 December 2022

With the Great Resignation and quiet quitting two major trends in the world of work during 2022, more businesses are looking at how they create workplaces that help to attract and retain employees.

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…


Virgin’s chief purpose and vision officer, Holly Branson, says that she hopes to see many companies adopting a focus on purpose in 2023.

“Helping people find their personal purpose (at work and outside of it) is vital to keeping people happy, motivated, fulfilled, proud and inspired,” she said.

Holly Branson sitting in a gaint seasehll at the Virgin Management office in London

“Without this, wellbeing becomes too easily comprised. It’s also vital to help people feel connected to the company’s overarching purpose (i.e., why does the business exist? What problems is it solving the world? What lives is it improving?). If employees don’t understand or agree with the company’s purpose, and if they can’t see how they are contributing to something bigger than themselves, they become lost and disengaged. Companies have a responsibility to look after their people, so it’s vital to address this. It’s also difficult for a company to live up to its purpose if their people aren’t invested in the bigger picture.”

Read more of Holly’s thoughts on helping people to find their personal purpose.

Human beings, not human resources

The Great Resignation made many businesses realise that they need to remember that their employees are people too, with wants and needs – and Brian Baker, director of strategic development at Virgin Pulse, says this is a growing trend that’s not going anywhere.

“People are sick of feeling like a ‘cog in a machine.’ They’re human beings, with real-life problems, and want an employer to be empathic and understanding – especially if they want them to take on more work. A more holistic and personalised approach to employee experience is needed,” Brian said.

“Unsurprisingly, the need for great employee experience is a top priority for global businesses over the next few years and investing in employee experience is imperative. Holistic, personalised wellbeing programs will provide multi-dimensional benefits. To build trust and loyalty, employers must recognise employees as human beings with diverse backgrounds and needs and translate this with empathy and understanding, supporting the whole person, not just the face on Zoom or name on Teams.

A woman leaning back in her office chair

“If you don’t offer standout employee experiences, another employer will. Investing in your people will never be something you regret – but not investing in them might be your biggest.”

Mental health

Mental health has been on the agenda for businesses for a long time – and it won’t be disappearing in 2023.

Dr. David Batman, specialist consultant in occupational health medicine and Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board member, said: “Businesses will take a more strategic approach to manage mental health at work with rising numbers and employee and business impacts. This will include risk assessments, employee, and management education, and defining key performance indicators to ensure monitoring and management training and identify and support employees with problems.”

Financial health

The cost-of-living crisis that’s been seen across the world in 2022 will continue into 2023, and businesses need to be prepared for the impact that is going to have on their employees.

“Inflation is soaring, and the price of energy is rising along with petrol, food, and even basic living necessities. (And let’s not get started on the mortgage rate rise). Things are only set to worsen, and your people will need your support more than ever over the next couple of years,” said Jill King, regional vice president, UKIMEA, at Virgin Pulse.

A black man working from home

“Money, and talking about money at work, has long been taboo. However, employee financial resiliency is a real threat to your organisation.

“With financial worries the leading cause of anxiety and depression, businesses may find more staff taking time off to deal with their mental health, leading to staff shortages. As people struggle to cope with increased workloads and money worries, employers can expect morale and productivity to decrease. Workers who feel underpaid or undervalued may seek work elsewhere — the Great Resignation has already set a precedent for this.

“In 2023 and beyond, businesses will have an increased responsibility to find ways to help their employees cope with ongoing financial stress and support them in navigating through this challenging time. Chasing short-term incentives rather than focusing on wholeperson wellbeing that fuels long-term growth, supports all employees, and builds employer trust is a bad idea. HR leaders should double down on improving the total employee wellbeing experience, which affects the cost-of-living crisis and supports the impacts on health, engagement, and productivity, and their view of you as their employer.”

Want to know more about workplace wellbeing in 2023? Download The Future of Health, Wellbeing, and Navigation eBook from Virgin Pulse.