Earlier this year, the virtual assistant company Time etc replaced all of its managers with coaches. Productivity and employee satisfaction rose by 20%.  

Times are changing, and the leadership structure that once worked for your business may now be defunct. Your company needs to change with the ever-shifting workplace trends. One of the most important emerging trends is employee wellness; workers won’t hesitate to leave when they aren’t happy with their jobs.

So, how does your management structure impact employee wellness? And what should you be doing differently to keep up with trends while maintaining retention, engagement, and productivity?

Continue reading to learn how workplace trends are affecting leadership and employee wellness in 2023.  

The Impact of Leadership on Employee Well-Being

Leadership teams often have one hyperfocus: productivity. They make sure employees stay on track and meet deadlines. But have you considered how your workplace leadership also plays into employee well-being? 

Leadership models cascade into employee culture. Overall wellness improves when leadership treats employees well, listens to their concerns, celebrates their achievements, and gives them room for error. 

One concerning study from earlier this year even found that managers influence employee mental health more than therapists or doctors. One in three employees in the study said their manager fails to realize their effect on a team’s mental well-being. 

By prioritizing employee wellness and being sensitive to generational trends, you ensure your leadership supports well-being instead of harming it. 

How Is Wellness Affected by Hybrid or Remote Workplaces?

Hybrid and remote workplaces have significantly impacted employee wellness. This working style can either improve or hurt an employee’s well-being depending on job type, personality, and the situation at home. 

For example, one study found that 77% of employees believe remote working improves well-being. These employees reported a better quality of life, slept and exercised more, cooked more, and ate healthier. 

On the flip side, some remote workers are more apt to fall into unhealthy habits, and it’s these people managers need to worry about. These workers:
  • Become less social as they feel isolated and don’t have as much opportunity to communicate with coworkers in P2P (peer-to-peer) settings.
  • Become more sedentary as they aren’t biking, walking to work, or getting outside as much.
  • Order food more often, leading to poor dietary choices.
  • Don’t sleep as well because there is less of a clear line between work and rest. 

With these types of workers, managers must consider burnout, depression, anxiety, and loss of connection with the community — all while implementing wellness measures to reduce these risks. 

In either case, leadership must ensure they oversee remote work adequately to promote well-being instead of remaining blind to this huge shift in workplace culture. 

How Generational Shifts Affect the Workplace 

Differences in generational ideology and values can also affect employee wellness. While these differences aren’t always cut and dry, statistically, employees from different generations often have different values:

  • Traditionalists tend to expect promotions, raises, and recognition with job tenure. They’re often loyal to employers and expect that same loyalty in return. 
  • Baby Boomers tend to value hard work and dedication and may not see a need for employee wellness programs.
  • Gen Xers often adapt well to change and value an informal environment. They maintain a “work hard, play hard” mentality, appreciate humor, and value diversity in the workplace. 
  • Millennials prefer to be in control of where and how long they work.
  • Gen Zers highly value empathy from coworkers and managers.

Understanding your workforce’s different values, wants, needs, and goals can help you implement wellness solutions that stick.

In the takeaway tabs below, we've provided an overview of how leadership and organizations can adopt and align with the new working ways, plus how to encourage and support a wellness program employees both want and need in the workplace. 

The differences in values across generations make it obvious that employee wellness trends are ever-changing. To ensure your leadership continually aligns with new ways of working and generational changes, prioritize employee experience by:

  • Modeling wellness behaviors
  • Encouraging staff to check in with themselves regularly and identify burnout
  • Keeping it professional but managing like a coach
  • Encouraging a work-life balance
  • Inviting your staff to set personal and professional goals
  • Watching for warning signs of stress or overload, such as employees appearing disengaged or flustered

While your leadership should be taking measures to encourage and support employee wellness, some employees require extra motivation to take care of their well-being. Consider these methods of formally encouraging employee wellness:

  • Reward and incentivize healthy activities, such as exercising, meditation, and healthy eating.
  • Create a peer-to-peer accountability program.
  • Set up monthly wellness check-ins.
  • Give your managers resources to encourage employee engagement, such as digital gift cards for restaurants to spend on a team lunch.