February 23, 2018

Are wellness programs missing the mark? And what future workplaces might look like

In this week’s Roundup, new research finds that employees think that employer well-being offerings are missing the mark. Plus, the story behind those ubiquitous motivational posters that were once in offices everywhere, and what work could look like in 2030.

Employees aren’t impressed with current well-being programs

New research from Willis Towers Watson finds that employer health and well-being programs are falling short of employees’ expectations. According to the firm’s 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, while 56% of employers believe their well-being programs have encouraged employees to live a healthier lifestyle, only 32% of employees agree.

What’s more, 87% of employers who participated in the survey said that increasing employee engagement in health and well-being is a top priority. Why the disconnect? The research shows that employers have been using approaches they believe employees are on board with – like financially rewarding employees for living healthier lifestyles. In today’s connected world, however, it may make more sense to provide immediate and ongoing rewards and recognition.

Employers need to rethink how their programs are designed, to create longer-term behavioral changes, says Steve Nyce, Willis Towers Watson senior economist. This means leveraging technology and online tools to more meaningfully integrate wellness into employees’ lives. It also means designing the workplace environment to encourage employees to stay fit and address stress. “If there was ever a time for employers to rethink their approach to well-being, it’s now,” says Shelly Wolff, senior health care consultant at Willis Towers Watson.

Related: Does your wellness program needs a makeover?

Nostalgia: Remember those motivational office posters?

Oh, how office decor has changed. Quartz recently published an interesting feature that covers the backstory behind the Successories motivational posters many office workers may be familiar with. It also highlights how workplaces themselves have changed, and what employees today look for when it comes to “motivation.”

The boom, bust and rebirth of Successories mirrors the tumultuous changes in the offices it decorated, and in the stories workers tell themselves to get through the day.

Of one of the posters itself:

Teamwork, the copy read, “is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” The empty text, the faceless figures, the utter forgettability of the photograph itself—together, it added up to bland magic, a poster that could hang on virtually any wall in the world without offense, controversy, or distraction. It was the company’s bestseller, and remains so to this day.

And then the internet ruined everything.

Photoshopped parodies of Successories posters proliferated much faster than the real thing, glomming up searches for actual motivational posters with pages of goofy, filthy, or otherwise offensive knockoffs.

The story highlights that motivation has become another form of media, alongside inspirational quotes on Instagram, which is why they may enjoy a resurgence and new relevance.

The posters aren’t interesting, but they are immune to division, offense, or controversy.

Read the full story here.

A fantastical future of work

Speaking of workplace visuals, the MIT Technology Review recently featured some artistic interpretations of what the future of work could look like, specifically in 2030.

The images were inspired by panels at the World Economic Forum that were attended by a team from digital agency AKQA and the Misk Digital Forum.

What’s your take on 3D-printed buildings? See more of the images here.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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