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Employee wellbeing for a post-covid blended workforce

By Angela Knox | Mar 11, 2021


Leaving the last year behind for most of us will be a welcome relief, and although some aspects of our changed working environment will still be with us during 2021 and beyond, the prospects are looking brighter for a return to some kind of normality possibly by the summer.

The heaving workload that has inevitably been heaped on to HR during the pandemic has caused strain that would have been impossible to predict only a year ago.

Many companies and their HR departments have struggled to keep up - from furloughing and un-furloughing and mass redundancies, to manic recruitment, immigration and Brexit, new procedures for home workers, creating safe work spaces, and adoption of the latest HR tech, amongst many other things.

Add to this the need for constantly reviewing and implementing employee wellbeing procedures and programmes, and it becomes clear that overburdened HR professionals will have their work cut out for some considerable time to come.

HR tech 

PWC’s global survey of 600 HR and IT leaders recently revealed some key findings regarding the use of tech in HR.

What used to be a slow-moving corporate technology space a decade ago is now a $148 billion market of HR cloud solutions to address the needs for the future of work.  74% of companies surveyed plan to increase spending on HR tech in 2020 to address pressing talent needs.  That’s on top of the $310 per employee per year they already spend.

This survey also found that while the C-suite is optimistic about the value of new technology, 8 in 10 HR managers struggle with adoption challenges; also, the C-suite is twice as likely as managers to say these tools are actually effective.

How will wellbeing tech be used going forward?

Let’s look at what kind of considerations are currently at the top of the HR, wellbeing manager or CEO’s list for this year.

We speak to corporate wellbeing specifiers every day, and there are common themes and challenges which feature in our discussions.

Remote or hybrid?   Many companies have moved to 100% remote working policies, and will have to shift from in-office wellbeing interventions to digital options. 

Even those businesses that are not 100% remote will need to adapt accordingly, and those who remain in offices will need to reassess their arrangements going forward.

Key observations on this topic include:

  1. Multiple apps covering different topics increase management workload, expense, and decrease the likelihood of ongoing usage.

  2. Developing an in-house wellbeing plan is labour-intensive and time-consuming.

  3. Engagement levels are key to any type of wellbeing programme, so deploying one which has this covered is fundamental.

  4. Measuring the effectiveness of a wellbeing programme is essential, especially when justifying the case to senior management.  Having in-built tools to help with this makes this easier.  It also needs to be done without causing privacy issues, which are becoming more of a concern with the data-collecting wearable devices that accompany many wellbeing apps.

  5. Cost and cost-effectiveness are key drivers in making decisions about wellbeing programmes.   Any investment needs to be realistic and create a return - this links to the point above.

  6. Wastage - many programmes involve a flat payment for each employee, whether or not they interact with and use the facility.  Paying only for what you use is the best outcome, as there will always be employees who choose not to take part.

  7. Enthusiasm at the start that peters out over time - this is an often cited problem, as when there is a new initiative it’s popular by virtue of being new, but interest is sometimes difficult to sustain.  So you need hard-working tools in place to be able to keep users engaged to get the full benefit.

  8. Time taken to deploy and learn how to use.  Time is a precious commodity, and if HR, IT, management or end users have to spend too much time figuring out the basics in order for the system to work, it’s a big no-no.  Simplicity is key to most things, and never more so than with business tech tools.

Throughout the development process of Keep Fit Eat Fit, we spent time researching the employee wellbeing market fully, talking to corporations about the challenges and needs they were experiencing, and working to constantly improve the employee experience and delight our end users. 

Creating a programme that addresses all the above points is a big undertaking, but we think we've cracked it - if you're in HR or wellbeing feel free to check this out!

Angela Knox

Angela Knox

I am a co-founder and director of Keep Fit Eat Fit Wellbeing Ltd and have come from a business and marketing background over many years, with a particular interest in everything to do with health, fitness and overall wellbeing. Having worked in offices for decades, I know the pitfalls of too much sitting at a desk, the challenges of fitting the gym around other commitments, and all the issues addressed within our website. The personal experiences of me and my partner Mark were the original inspiration for the concept of this website. Enjoy!