Top Ten Work Trends Quarterly Updates

A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2021. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.

Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here

  • Top 10 Work Trends

The Latest on Trend #2: Employee Health, Well-Being, Wellness and Safety

Maryana Arvan
Keaton Fletcher


2021 1st Quarter Update

In a world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in health, well-being and safety at work is increasingly taking center stage. Many companies are still grappling with the consequences of soaring employees stress levels, and are taking steps to prioritize employee wellness moving forward. Three topics that have emerged in this first quarter of 2021 as trends in this area are (1) the gender-based effects of work on employee health, (2) mental health as something that deserves explicit attention by employers, and (3) building resilience.

Women have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. According to research by SIOP member Kristen Shockley, they exited the workforce at higher rates than men, took on an even bigger share of housework and childcare and experienced worse mental health outcomes. SIOP members Samantha Paustian-Underdahl, Ashley Mandeville, and Asia Eaton’s Eaton’s work on pregnancy discrimination and mother’s health,.and popular business pieces by Gallup, Forbes, and HR Director, speak to the importance of supporting women’s and mothers’ health in the workplace. 

A silver lining of skyrocketing mental health struggles during the pandemic is the fact that mental health is increasingly being recognized as a key player in the workplace. One estimate suggested “mental-health related workplace absenteeism costs soared to £14bn in 2020” with a total cost of £45bn in the UK alone. Mental health issues associated with working from home have also been highlighted, as has mental-health problem disclosure. In response, a growing number of companies report plans to increase employee mental health resources in 2021, including managerial training and offering low-cost online mental health services.  SIOP member Lisa Brady's work on mental illness in management doctoral programs also taps this trend. Amidst all of these challenges, people are looking toward resilience as a potential buffer.  Look for this trend to continue into Q2, following increased interest in how to build resilience, drawing on suggestions from the workplace and professional athletes

About Maryana Arvan

Maryana Arvan is an Assistant Professor of Psychological & Organizational Sciences at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research examines how stressful experiences at work affect employee attitudes, health and well-being, and performance. Protecting and effectively managing vulnerable employee populations is another theme of interest. She received her BA from the University of Arizona, and her PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of South Florida.

About Keaton Fletcher

Keaton Fletcher is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He studies leadership within organizational networks, and the interaction between workplace leadership and health. Keaton is an alumnus of Washington and Lee University where he received a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Psychology, and of the University of South Florida, where he received his PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.