This article was originally published by the Public Risk Management Association.
Earlier this year, I shared my predictions for 2022’s workplace health and safety trends in Public Risk magazine. Let’s reflect on a few of these predictions.
Increase of Workplace Injuries
With the “Great Resignation,” we have seen a record number of workers switching jobs and organizations hiring new workers, while still being understaffed — meaning less time for training. Without a proper training process, organizations put themselves and their employees at greater risk for workplace injuries.
In-person workplaces aren’t the only ones at risk. According to a Chubb study, 41% of remote workers reported pain developing in their backs, shoulders, and wrists, possibly due to the need for more ergonomically sound home workplaces.
As such, I foresaw an increase in workplace injuries in 2022. And this has proven to be true. At Company Nurse, we have seen an increase in workplace injuries, up by 38.34% from this time last year. It’s important now more than ever to have a plan in place to address these rising workplace injuries including nurse triage and solutions for reporting of and training on workplace safety issues.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Employee mental health was a hot topic of 2021. In fact a Mental Health America study reported that 85% of employees believe their workplace affects their mental health and wellbeing.
I shared my prediction that the focus on employee mental health and wellbeing would continue to destigmatize mental health and drive innovation of digital mental health resources.
The prediction that the demand for these resources would continue to grow was correct, according to the American Psychological Association, who reports that “Eight in 10 U.S. workers say that how employers support their employees’ mental health will be an important consideration when they seek future job opportunities, while 71% believe their employer is more concerned about the mental health of employees now than in the past.”
A Willis Towers Watson study also reports that “Nearly all (86%) of employers said that mental health, stress and burnout are a top priority; however, half (49%) have not yet formally articulated a wellbeing strategy for their workforce and only a quarter have already articulated and adopted a wellbeing strategy.”
It may seem overwhelming to create a plan, especially since I was correct in that the number of digital mental health tools will continue to grow. In fact, the “digital behavioral/mental health market is set to witness an exponential growth rate of 25% in the next five years.”
Implementing a plan doesn’t need to be difficult! If you are one of the employers looking for a strategy, look for a digital health and safety tool that hosts all your solutions. This way, you provide employees with direct and easy access to your organization’s employee assistance program so they can utilize mental health resources.
Employee Privacy and App Fatigue
Employees are suffering from app fatigue and may be hesitant to use employer apps, for fear of losing their privacy. I predicted the increased need of HIPAA technical safeguards for encryption, multi-factor authentication, and audit logging.
And according to a BenefitsPro survey, this prediction was correct. The survey reports that “the demand for privacy protection [has reached] an all-time high and that, “compared to two years ago, half of the employer respondents report their companies are spending more time and resources dealing with data privacy and security risks related to/ more people working remotely.
An important part of your organization’s security plan is ensuring that the external tools you utilize do incorporate these HIPAA safeguards.
Artificial Intelligence and the Customer Experience
If this year has taught us anything, it is how quickly market needs drive innovation. Which, of course, includes artificial intelligence (AI). I predicted the adoption of artificial intelligence to both increase data quality and the customer experience.
This has proven to be true at Company Nurse as we continue to see a demand from clients for AI channels for digital workplace injury reporting. Gen Z and Millennials, who make up more than half of the current workforce, not only prefer digital workplace processes, but expect them of their employers. And when employees can utilize the channel that they are most comfortable with, they will have more confidence in the injury reporting, which, in turn, leads to an increase in data quality.
Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse, the premier nurse triage and reporting service for workplace injuries, and its sister company, Lintelio, the digital workplace health and safety solution.