Written by Mia Denny (Account Executive) & Helen Byrne (Senior Account Executive)
Last month, we were cordially invited to attend the STYLUS: Rethinking Future Wellness breakfast briefing. STYLUS is the Porter Novelli global trends and insights partner, and we were presented with a series of predicted trends in areas we are likely to see growth within the health and wellness space over the next five years.
The presentation was highly informative and sparked discussions about what these topics will mean for companies working in Healthcare or the Employee Engagement space.
- Growing attention on mental wellbeing for employees
While employees’ mental wellbeing is increasingly on the corporate agenda, there is a strong caution for businesses to avoid ‘wellness washing’, where companies publicly support mental health and wellness, whilst internal initiatives supporting the workforce are lacking. Companies are expected to implement an increased number of mental health initiatives, now not only acknowledging mental health awareness days on social media but also providing services such as access to a mental health helpline, counselling, and mental health first aiders. Mental Health awareness has been firmly within our priorities at Porter Novelli for some time, with the above support systems in place. Hearing STYLUS’s insights further reinforced the importance of being mindful of the evolving needs of our colleagues.
- Productivity hacks: rise of the body doubles
Initiatives to encourage productivity and connectivity in the workplace post-COVID are another trend gaining traction. In a hybrid world where WFH is common practice, ensuring sustained productivity should be a key business goal, and some companies are achieving this by using body doubling services (such as this one). These allow people to conduct solo or group work from home with their cameras on but mics off, enabling colleagues to work without interruptions and have the added feeling of community that an in-person office space provides. An increasingly popular solution among the ADHD community, observing others completing their work triggers our brains to follow suit and acts as an attention anchor, a sensory cue that signals to our brain that it is time to focus.
- Making break times great again
Alongside solutions that help us get our ‘heads down’ when needed, companies are being encouraged to promote more frequent breaks in the workday. Providing platforms that share reminders for employees to take breaks on a regular basis, such as completing a 10-minute yoga flow, a 5-minute guided art explanation, or simply reciting an affirmation, are becoming more popular and encourage a move away from the ‘always on’ work environment.
This growing craving for human connection is evidenced by the post-pandemic rise in ‘authentic analogues’, where in-person conversations and friendships are preferred, as 95% of British Gen Zers believe real-world interactions with friends are more important than making friends online. Apps are being developed to facilitate in-person meet-ups in contrast to those that became popular in the pandemic which allowed virtual conversation. This is also being leveraged in the medical world, with ‘social prescriptions’ becoming a new treatment for conditions such as anxiety and high blood pressure.
- Market for menopause products on the rise
It was noted that the market for women’s menopause products is predicted to reach $22.7 billion by 2028[i]. This is promising news for a previously considered ‘taboo’ topic. As an example, health and wellness market leaders Holland and Barrett are setting up ‘Pause and Listen’ rooms in a number of their stores to provide customers with the opportunity for face time with someone who is going through or has already been through menopause. We’re also seeing an influx of innovative products making their way onto the market, such as perfume companies utilising aromatherapy in an attempt to ease symptoms of menopause or perimenopause and phenotype gummies formulated to encourage hormone balance. Consumers are signalling that they’re open to dialogues around topics such as menopause and other areas of women’s health that were previously considered too sensitive for open discussion. As a communications agency, it’s important that we pick up on these signals and nurture conversations around this topic, increasingly so when menopause is known to be a touch point for many conditions development.
- Health equity for all
Our presenters highlighted that the race of participants in clinical trials is often not representative of the general population, with one study finding that as of 2014, nearly 85% of participants in clinical trials were reported to be white[ii]. This is an extremely problematic statistic, highlighting the lack of representation in scientific research for minorities, and whilst we are currently seeing a huge shift by the pharmaceutical industry to address this, there is still more that can be done to address this disparity and convey the action being taken to broaden these demographics.
Last year, we sought to uncover the expectations healthcare professionals and policymakers currently hold towards pharmaceutical companies. The data expressed was clear that both of these groups expect us to do more in terms of addressing health equity[iii] and as an agency, we have made it our mission to support health system stakeholders in identifying and addressing these critical challenges.
[i] Hardcastle, K. (n.d.). Menopause Supplement Industry To Grow To $22.7 Billion By 2028 As Women Seek Out Alternative Treatments. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katehardcastle/2022/10/07/menopause-supplement-industry-to-grow-to-227-billion-by-2028-as-women-seek-out-alternative-treatments/?sh=4ed493e3282b [Accessed 10 May 2023].
[ii] National Academies of Sciences, E., Affairs, P. and G., Committee on Women in Science, E., Research, C. on I. the R. of W. and U.M. in C.T. and, Bibbins-Domingo, K. and Helman, A. (2022). Key Trends in Demographic Diversity in Clinical Trials. [online] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. National Academies Press (US). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK584392/#:~:text=Among%20approved%20drugs%2C%20participation%20of [Accessed 27 Apr. 2023].
[iii] Data from a Porter Novelli commissioned a survey, tracking purpose and health equity beliefs of HCPs and payers in the US, UK and Germany using a robust sample of approximately 460 HCPs and 75 payers. HCPs included three specialties: oncology, neurology and infectious diseases/immunology. Payors were formulary decision makers at organisations responsible for processing patient eligibility, enrolment claims and payment. Fieldwork took place between July – August 2022.