As wellness investments increase, some observers ask whether it’s really improving workers’ well-being

Budget for wellness programs increased about 22% in 2021, according to a new report from Fidelity. But whether those funds are having an impact is fully dependent on the approach.

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For many organizations, 2021 was the year to put their money where their mouth was on workplace wellness.

After a catastrophic pandemic that had dire consequences for worker health and mental well-being—and shone a spotlight on the employee experience—organizations saw worker wellness programs as an important investment. According to a report from Fidelity Investments, budget for worker well-being programs increased 22% in 2021.

Human Resource Executive reported:

“The total budget for wellbeing reached an average of $6 million in 2021, up from the average budget of $4.9 million reported in 2020. Among large employers (20,000-plus employees), the average budget earmarked for well-being programs increased $100,000 to $10.5 million. The average budget per employee increased to $238 in 2021, slightly higher than the $230 per employee in 2020.”

High on the target list for these programs is supporting emotional and mental health for workers. According to the report, 92% of employers expanded efforts around mental health and emotional well-being, with programs focused on stress management, sleep improvement and that new corporate buzzword: “resiliency.”

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