Gen Z and Workplace Wellness
As fellow trend watchers would likely agree, once a trend is sparked, not much fanning is needed for the flame to spread.
Each month I dive into 3 examples of a trend, rating as below based purely on my own humble opinion:
1) Spot On– An example of the trend I think is “sticky” and well executed
2) Missed the Mark – A well-intended, but poorly executed example
3) What the… An example I can’t quite relate to or don’t see gaining traction
So for this month….
No, this is not the (not so long awaited) sequel to Eat, Pray, Love.
This is how we’re seeing Gen Z and older cohorts live a “hybrid” lifestyle, with work, life and wellness elements converging.
Post-pandemic, and post-post pandemic, it’s no surprise that research shows the top 3 characteristics Gen Z, our future workforce, want from their workplace are:
1. Flexibility – desire for some in office collaboration time, but not too much
2. Support Wellness and Mental Health – demonstrated investment in initiatives that support holistic health and balance
3. Tech Savvy/Connected Space – the bare minimum: cloud based collaboration tools and conference room / desk booking tools
I’ve been tracking unique work spaces for a while. Climbing wall at work—Google and WeWork tried it. Sleep Pods in the office– really?! And Twitter’s given that a bad rap anyway. I’ve been to a co-working space where I had a meeting in a swing—not gonna lie, it was fun!
Here are 3 more attempts to adapt to Gen Z’s workplace wellness expectations.
It’s long been known and bemoaned that meeting overload hinders productivity. (Why this vicious cycle perpetuates is a mystery.) The Cala meeting cancelling app is described as “Tinder for cancelling meetings”, allowing the employee to simply swipe left on meetings they want to opt out of. It integrates into the calendar, and with full consensus the meeting is canceled. But the best part is: votes are kept anonymous! This is a simple but impactful way to boost productivity with more work time and less angst over advocating to preserve your time during working hours. Love it!
MISSED THE MARK
Those Canadians tend to have the right ideas, and this one is close, but ultimately misses the point, IMHO. In 2022, the Canadian PR agency Media Profile offered a $3K benefit to work away from home for a month. It was adopted by 47% of their employees, so they reprised the office in 2023 despite financial pressures.
Why does this valiant effort miss the mark? Come on. Despite what these frustrating staged pictures suggest, if you’re in a prime vacation destination, do you really want to work AT ALL!?!? Better they offer unlimited vacation, which people likely won’t abuse, or a smaller stipend for employees to actually take a vacation, without attempting or pretending to work, and returning refreshed and recharged?
OK, as a dog mom, I wanted to love this one, which might appeal to people with small dogs or who must have the latest gadget.
I certainly get the benefits for both dog and owner of bringing your pup to work, but the Barc Dog Kennel, positioned as a “high end, design-conscious solution” seems absurd to me. My dog who is only 30 pounds would not fit, nor would he want to be grounded to his “simple platform style bed” when he’s in a new place! I’d spend at least half the workday chasing him to prevent friendly-slash-annoying overtures to co-workers, or to other dogs, who also wouldn’t stay put! Here’s a better idea: offer a subscription- based dog club with space to run around that’s monitored by a dog whisperer and engenders important doggie socialization.
The Fan Fit wellness app designed a few years back was on the right track. It was developed in the UK as a white label community fitness app intended to help employers promote physical and mental wellness, allowing employees to track their steps and compete with each other in a friendly way. Editorial note: no app needed for this—before smartwatches existed, I used to do this with coworkers analog style, taking the stairs to the 12th floor instead of the elevator. But a competition for the highest stepper to win free smoothies or coffee for a month? Worth it!
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways to be Well at Work!
See you next month!
Sources: TrendHunter 2023 Dashboard, https://snacknation.com/blog/employee-wellness-program-ideas/, https://www.workdesign.com/2022/08/how-workplace-design-can-help-attract-gen-z/
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