From an expanding understanding of early discomfort management to incorporating Industry 4.0 technologies in the workplace, 2018 saw the continued evolution of employee wellness. Based on industry research, company surveys, and anecdotal evidence, 2019 will bring even more transformation to employee health initiatives. Take a look below for some of 2018 workplace wellness trends and predictions for 2019.
Last Year's Trends
- Expanded Understanding of the Benefits of Injury Prevention
This past year has seen an increased understanding among corporate leaders as to what exactly early discomfort management looks like in the workplace. Additionally, managers have started to see the physical and fiscal benefits of incorporating prevention services into their wellness programs.
- Increased Recognition of Aging Workforce Needs
Many companies have begun struggling with an aging work population. With these aging employees, companies have seen an increase in cognitive risks and decline in physical performance.
- Defining Accommodation and FMLA Processes
In 2018, the need to accommodate more people emerged. Whether ADA or FMLA accommodations are needed, managers have been asked to better define the process an employee must go through to receive the assistance. Many companies have moved beyond the simple “get a doctor’s note” philosophy and have created a more defined and clear process.
- Incorporating Industry 4.0
This emerging trend can be seen in proactive and progressive companies who have begun to embrace smart technology. This past year has seen the rise of smart factories and the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence. With these new Industry 4.0 technologies, companies are able to make strategic decisions with real-time data.
Predictions for the Next Year
- Creating Data-Informed Prevention Services
A big part of Industry 4.0 is being able to make real-time data-driven decisions. While 2018 saw this practice being used with smart machines, our experts predict this trend will expand in 2019 to incorporate collecting wellness data from people, not just machines. Utilizing sensor technology, data can be collected on whole body vibration, the number of times a person lifts something heavy, or the awkward twists a body is put into throughout a day. This data can then be interpreted to create personalized prevention services that are customized to not only the job-tasks of any given employee position but also the individual wellness factors of the employee. With this personalization, companies can maximize early discomfort management tools and see the greatest injury risk reduction.
- Involving Ergonomists in Office Equipment and Furniture Purchasing Decisions
As the economy continues to thrive, businesses grow and expand in both the number of employees and their physical space requirements. Smart companies are beginning to involve professional ergonomists in the office equipment and furniture purchasing decisions. Our experts predict this trend will continue to grow in 2019 as companies recognize the financial benefit of creating a workspace that fits the physical needs of their employees. Purchasing the correct furniture from the beginning prevents the need to retrofit spaces on the back end.
- Modifying Job-Tasks with Exoskeleton Technology
Companies are increasingly interested in exoskeleton technology. As more academic research continues to come out about the fatigue-reducing benefits of passive exoskeletons, more and more companies will investigate bringing exoskeletons into the workplace. Our experts predict the number of companies using shoulder and back assist exoskeleton technologies will explode in 2019, specifically in the manufacturing and aerospace industries.
This coming year should prove to be an exciting one for employee health as new technologies will continue to be incorporated to create superior employee wellness programs.
Contact Us to Learn More
For companies looking to incorporate one of these trends as a New Year’s resolution, or to learn more about how our experts can help integrate any of the trends – early discomfort management, exoskeletons, wearables, or purchasing decisions – contact Briotix Health today.