How we work is key to our overall health, since most of us spend more of our time working than doing anything else. Thankfully, many companies are adapting to that reality: Gone are the days of suits, ties, and a strict 9 to 5. Meanwhile, seniors are downshifting, and Millennials and Gen Z are entering the task market with a new mindset about wellness. This transformation has some experts heralding the next healthy trends in the workplace.

Flexible Schedules

A majority of larger U.S. companies — by one report, up to 80 percent — now offer flexible work options, including more family-friendly schedules, as part of a better all-around emphasis on work–life balance. This really is critical to employee satisfaction, according to the United Nations’ World Happiness Report 2021, plus some business experts say there’s a brand new acceptance of a life outside work.

Flex schedules have, in fact, become a prime recruiting tool, based on a 2021 Gallup poll of 195,600 U.S. employees: “The advantages and perks that employees truly worry about are those that offer them greater flexibility, autonomy, and also the ability to lead a better life.”

Collaborative Environments

Open offices, once hyped because the great hope for workplace collaboration, turned out to be more of a distraction — as well as petri dishes for colds and flu. Simultaneously, telecommuting and remote working were viewed as the ultimate in flexibility however they often diminished team cohesion.

Now some business insiders are reconsidering the need for human interaction and the resulting organic collaboration, and companies are creating new, multifaceted offices to better enable productivity — and boost morale. “Companies will continue to promote their workspaces and design them to facilitate [productive interactions] between employees,” reports Forbes.

Coworking Spaces

For people who work remotely or have fun playing the growing gig economy, you will find multiple new workplace options. Hybrid live–work spaces are on the rise via WeLive, WeWork, and others. The nascent Life span Work is designed to promote healthy and flexible office spaces — even including access to Life Time health clubs in the monthly membership fees.

“Life Time Work is a completely new take, intentionally made to reframe our approach to work,” explains president James O’Reilly. “We want to inspire novel thinking and health, with the goal of seeing good results professionally and personally.”

Prioritized Wellness

While some visionary companies offer perks such as yoga classes, massages, acupuncture, and chef-prepped meals, a 2021 Harvard Business Review survey discovered that most employees simply prefer better medical health insurance. As unemployment rates drop and competition for quality employees increases, Forbes states that employers will strive to prioritize their workers’ “financial and mental wellness.”

“We spend roughly a third of our adult lives working,” O’Reilly notes. “So, past the serious physical implications [of sitting a lot], our experience with work has long-term ramifications — not just at work, but also outside work as well.”