How to Create a Wellness-Centered Hybrid Work Model

Hybrid work is here to stay. Many knowledge workers are now able to work from home, the office, or anywhere in between. Hybrid work models have moved through multiple iterations over the last couple of years as companies refine their approach based on employee preferences and business objectives.

According to research conducted by Harvard University, 1-2 days in the office is the sweet spot for optimal productivity while meeting the need for interpersonal connection. Many companies now recognize this 1-2 days in/3-4 days from home model to be the most well-organized method for hybrid work.

With employees splitting their time between various locations, how can companies create a cohesive experience for all? How can leadership bridge the gap to create a consistent experience of company culture while centering employee wellness?

  • Listen to employees. Make them feel heard and confirm their opinions are valued. Psychological safety at work is of the utmost importance. Defined as a feeling of interpersonal trust and an overall culture of respect and inclusivity that invites members to show up as their whole selves, take risks, and innovate, psychological safety is a baseline requirement for a healthy, thriving workplace culture. Employers should welcome open dialogue about what employees need and what wellbeing supports they would like to see offered in the workplace – and be prepared to hear and act upon the feedback given. To facilitate this process, invest in listening tools and consistent surveying to stay aware of what would truly support their wellbeing in the hybrid work environment.
  • Provide benefits employees want and most importantly, ensure they know how to access them.
    According to a 2022 MetLife study, 73% of employees said that a wider benefit offering would entice them to continue working for their current employer for longer. Make sure they know how to access what is available – especially any newly-added offerings – whether that is through the company intranet or other means. Communication is one of the keys to success.
  • Focus on mental wellbeing.
    When it comes to mental wellbeing, there are a number of ways that companies can demonstrate care. By making it easy to access EAP and other core wellness benefits, providing a range of holistic wellness offerings that support employees in their lives, and investing in managers who lead with empathy, your company increases its chances of impacting employees who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing.
  • Build flexibility into the employee experience wherever possible.
    Many employees enjoy the flexibility that accompanies hybrid work – things like or being able to prepare and eat healthier lunches, care for the kids after school, or switch a load of laundry over between meetings. Consider updating hybrid work model policies to include flexible scheduling and flexible PTO if these are not already offered. According to recent Gallup surveys, companies that do not support remote flexibility are those that tend to see lower engagement, wellbeing, higher intent to leave, and higher levels of burnout.
  • Include holistic wellness programming into the hybrid work model in new and creative ways. Keep revamping your offerings, trying new things, and don’t worry about getting it wrong. The pandemic provided us with the great “work from home” experiment, and the workforce proved it was possible to sustain. Building a world of work that works for everyone hinges upon a willingness of CEOs and human resources leaders to deliver what employees want along with the flexibility to make use of those benefits to be well and feel sustained in their hybrid role.

That last point – getting creative. It can be a challenge when juggling so many responsibilities. That’s where workplace wellness partners like Urban Balance can help. Download our Offerings Brochure to learn more about how.

 

Ways to incorporate holistic wellness programming into your hybrid work model:

  • Anchor Days – Does your company use anchor days as part of its hybrid workplace strategy? Within these anchor (or on-site) days, get creative with incorporating wellness-centered experiences that capitalize on and celebrate employees being together.
    Check out this recent post for ideas to help bring your company’s anchor days to life.
  • On-site Chair Massagechair massage is an employee favorite that helps reduce stress and tension. Schedule short, in-office sessions to encourage employees to visit the office monthly or quarterly. Alternately, schedule this service on anchor days when most employees will already be reporting to the office.
  • Lunch and Learn Sessions – create learning opportunities around topics that are the most relevant to employees and the challenges they are facing at work and in life. Topics like navigating stress and burnout have been popular in recent months, along with nutrition talks and cooking demos. Consider holding the presentation on-site and broadcasting it to those working remotely. Companies can also offer a webinar that on-site employees can view together in the conference room that remote employees may join individually.
  • Yoga & Movement Classes – no matter where employees are working from, one thing many people discovered during the pandemic is the importance of movement for mental health and maintaining an overall sense of wellbeing. Yoga and movement classes are a fantastic way to bring employees together, help them breathe and move stress through, and help them feel a little calmer as they navigate their workday. As with lunch & learns and webinars, bring a teacher on-site for a live class and broadcast it out to employees working from home, or have everyone attend remotely from their respective locations.
  • Special Events – virtual events like employee retreats and wellness weeks have become a popular option for companies wanting to bring employees together for a wellness experience regardless of location.

Creating a wellness-centered hybrid work model can be a bit of a balancing act – one that requires adaptation and ongoing refinement to ensure effectiveness, just like any other workplace program or initiative. However, this effort will help to enhance your company’s bottom line, retain employees, and lead toward a healthier, happier workforce.

If your company is ready to uplevel its workplace wellness strategy, contact us.

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

How Employee Wellness Programming Can Bring Company Anchor Days to Life

The pandemic has created a major shift in where and how we work. It has also made many people question why they go to work, resulting in the widely-documented phenomena of ‘The Great Resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’. massive changes in workforce demographics with employees abandoning low-wage jobs, embarking on new career paths, or taking early retirement.

One of the shifts we’ve been particularly attuned to in the hybrid era is the fact that, within many organizations, on-site workdays are now holding the place that company off-sites once did.

Research conducted by Harvard University shows that 1-2 days in the office is the sweet spot for optimal productivity and fulfills employees’ need for interpersonal connection. In fact, many companies now recognize this 1-2 day in-office and 3-4 day work-from-home model to be the most well-organized method for hybrid work.

Companies have embraced the shift and are responding to schedule preferences as a demonstration of their commitment to employee wellbeing. At the same time, another hybrid workplace trend is on the rise. Commonly referred to as “Anchor Days”, “Super Days” or “All-Employee Days”, these terms refer to specific days – perhaps monthly or quarterly– where either all employees or certain teams commit to being in the office.

Since one of the main purposes of these days is to revive office culture, they’re often targeted for all-team meetings, town halls, and or other presentations/events.

Well-executed anchor days can be highly beneficial for everyone from brand new and entry-level employees to upper management. As with any workplace cultural initiative, implementation requires strategic planning, communication, and ongoing assessment to ensure their value proposition is clear. In other words, if employees perceive that anchor days are simply an attempt to mandate their work location without a well-communicated purpose and added incentives, getting full buy-in may prove challenging.

There is of course no manual for how to design the perfect anchor day, and if there were, it would read differently depending on the industry and the company’s cultural values. The pandemic has motivated companies across the globe to uplevel their commitment to employee wellbeing through the implementation of strategic programming designed to support employees’ holistic wellbeing. If this is the case for your company, anchor days present the opportunity to prove its commitment to wellbeing.

A few benefits of anchor days include:

 

Meaningful Face-to-Face Time
Employees can use anchor days to their advantage to establish new connections and nurture existing relationships with their peers. They also get face-to-face time with management that they might not have had when working remotely, which better positions them for promotions. Employees can stop by each other’s desks, ask a quick question, or give updates on a project’s status. WFH employees do not interact with management as much as those working on site, which may put them at a disadvantage in these areas, being out of sight, out of mind.

According to a 2020 study in the UK, WFH workers were less than 50% as likely as on-site workers to receive a promotion. The more out of sight, out of mind an employee is, it increases the likelihood they’ll be passed over, which doesn’t benefit the employee or your company in the end, as it may impact your ability to retain them.

Efficiency in Learning & Development

Research points to the fact that today’s employees are hungry for professional learning and growth opportunities. At the height of the pandemic, companies had no choice but to deliver new employee training virtually. There is nothing like face-to-face time with seasoned professionals to help kickstart their journey with your company. Professional development opportunities for seasoned workers may also be more effective for both instructors and employees when delivered in person. Build training sessions into anchor days to champion growth & learning within the culture.

An Opportunity to Showcase Commitment to Workplace Wellness
Anchor days present the perfect opportunity to for companies to prove their commitment to employee wellness – to walk their talk, so to speak. Companies should look to wellness-oriented team-building activities and programming to add value. Be sure to consider how these activities can fit into the agenda without creating stress by packing the days too full, which can counteract the benefits

Bring anchor days to life by infusing them with holistic wellness experiences that promote self-care, foster community, and boost morale.

 

Here are a few anchor day wellness programming ideas to get you started:

 

  • Offer chair massage – while chair massage is always a hit with employees, offering convenient, 10-minute time blocks works especially well in fast-paced, high-stress workplaces where employees are on the go.
  • Schedule an On-site Cooking Demo – great for nutrition-conscious team members and those who love to cook. Choose from one of our most popular topics, or we can customize!
  • Factor in Financial Wellness – if your company is looking to enhance its financial wellness support system for employees, help remove the stigma of talking about money. Invite an expert to give a financial wellness talk and facilitate a fun, thought-provoking financial wellness game or activity that invites employees into a healthy relationship with their finances.
  • Sponsor Lunch & Learn Sessions – provide lunch break learning opportunities to support employees with things like self-care, stress reduction, mindfulness, work-life balance, and goal-setting.
  • Sprinkle in Movement Experiences – from creative movement to fitness challenges to on-site yoga classes, adding movement is a great way to diffuse stress and get employees together for a shared experience that’s fun and relaxing.
  • Host an employee health fair – these are a great opportunity for employees to learn about the benefits available to them and create a nice engagement opportunity while everyone is on-site.

Ready to plan some creative, new team-building activities for your company’s on-site anchor days? Contact the hybrid workplace wellness specialists at Urban Balance to explore the possibilities and book your experience!

*Urban Balance’s on-site services are available in the Portland Metro area only. Virtual events are available worldwide.

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

employee-wellness-webinar

5 Reasons to Include Employee Wellness Webinars in your Workplace Wellness Strategy

The ongoing strain on employees’ mental health and sense of psychological safety at work is taking an enormous toll on today’s workforce. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report, based on surveys which were conducted in 2021 and released in June of this year, employee stress and detachment at work remain at an all-time high, second only to the results of the same Gallup surveys done in 2020.

Among the shifts needed to improve these circumstances, employees need to know their employer is well-attuned to their individual needs and is dependable in supporting them. This support is essential because while many employees know they would be well-served to engage in activities that support their overall wellbeing such as movement and exercise, making nourishing food choices, and getting quality sleep, the demands of work ultimately pull them away from their goals.

Some employees can become addicted to busyness, stress, achievement, and people-pleasing without recognizing it. The urge to stay busy at the expense of wellbeing can even be a trauma response in some individuals. The pull toward stress and overwork becomes even harder to break away from in workplaces where external validation for these tendencies is everywhere.

With all of this being the case, there is a need for employee benefits teams to skillfully curate programming that is creative, varied, offered consistently, and is relevant to employees’ current needs. One approach HR managers, wellness coordinators, and employee benefits professionals can take is to offer regular employee wellness webinars, which introduce important topics related to holistic wellbeing and can help bridge the gap between where employees are across the dimensions of wellbeing, and where they want to be.

Here are 5 top benefits of offering employee wellness webinars:


They are a convenient type of programming for today’s hybrid workers.

In hybrid workplaces, employee wellness webinars hold a similar space to lunch & learn sessions, only they are delivered virtually and thus, can be accessed no matter where your team is working.

They help integrate health and wellness habits into the company culture.

Consistently offering webinars inspires the adoption of healthy habits and curiosity about new avenues for growth. Both employees and management might consider ways to integrate the information, not only personally, but companywide.

They promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace through engagement around holistic topics.

Uniting employees around the common goal of improved wellbeing empowers everyone involved and can help to jump-start conversations around supporting mental wellbeing on both a personal and organizational level. With so much uncertainty, change and trauma in the world, which is not separate from our workplaces, ongoing support for mental wellbeing will remain essential.

They encourage employees to build self-awareness and accountability.

Whether live and interactive or on-demand, wellness webinars give employees space to reflect on how the topic relates to their current life and start asking questions. What might they add to or let go of in their life? What shifts in thinking are necessary? What support might they ask for from their boss or their peers? Holistic employee wellness webinars can create an opening for this type of inquiry.

They include practical takeaways employees can implement in their everyday lives.

By engaging with webinar topics in the group format, employees will pick up new tools and ideas they can integrate into their regular routine. They will also gain insight into challenges their co-workers might be facing, which can lead to increased empathy.

In summary:

Incorporating employee wellness webinars into your corporate wellness plan can help your company create a culture shift that puts employees first and gives rise to a new standard of employee wellbeing.

 

Employee Wellness Webinars with Urban Balance

Guided by wellness professionals who are skilled at holding space and normalizing the many different employee experiences related to the topic at hand, our presenters encourage participation while inspiring comfort in their audiences.

When you work with us as a wellness webinar provider, you can schedule a single webinar, or a bundle of 3 or 6 for added impact. View all of our bundle and program options here.

These may be offered via livestream presentation, with or without a recording. Both are great options for those looking for an interactive group activity. Webinars are also available via on-demand video giving employees the convenience of being able to view at any time.

Want an expanded, yet flexible learning experience?

Consider an on-demand wellness webinar series. We’ll work with you to curate an impactful array of webinars that meet employees where they are to inspire learning and growth.

Browse a wide array of topics related to general holistic wellbeing, financial wellbeing, and environmental wellbeing, then contact us to get started!

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

The Role of Chair Massage in the Workplace

Chair massage was easily one of the most popular corporate wellness offerings prior to the pandemic. With the return to the office underway at many companies and levels of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety still running high, this employee favorite is making a well-deserved comeback.

Why do so many employees jump at the opportunity for a chair massage? One reason is that touch is powerful – we all need it to some degree. The lack of touch, or touch deprivation, is actually connected with negative health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and immune system dysfunction.

During the crisis phase of the pandemic which had us isolating ourselves and social distancing like never before, collectively we learned just how much we need touch. Corporate HR, benefits, and wellness managers should be aware that it is something many of their employees have missed these past few years.

Benefits of Chair Massage at Work

Chair massage is known to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, relieve muscle tension & headaches, increase focus and energy, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, increase immune function and improve range of motion.

Typically offered in 5-to-15-minute micro sessions, chair massage is a portable form of massage in which the therapist has access to the upper body including the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, and hands. Massaging these areas reduces muscle tension, revives connective tissue, and energizes the individual.

Chair massage is a wonderful corporate wellness service for employers to provide employees who are experiencing chronic stress at work. For years now, scientifically supported studies (here and here, among the many) have shown that massage benefits employees in a multitude of ways, primarily through helping to mitigate the corrosive effects of work stress.

Lastly, though corporate chair massage can be offered as a one-off service, it will always be most beneficial when offered regularly and/or bundled with other holistic wellness services like yoga & movement classes, meditation & breathwork, nutrition talks & cooking demos, and employee wellness webinars.

When and Where to Offer Workplace Chair Massage

The best part of corporate chair massage service for employers is that, with a licensed massage therapist (LMT) coming right to your office, you’re bringing workplace wellbeing to your employees right where they are.

While chair massage can be offered anytime for any reason (trust us, you don’t need a special occasion to offer chair massage at your office – employees love it no matter the circumstances!) this service makes a great add-on to on-site health fairs, back-to-the-office parties, and other employee gatherings. It is a terrific way to say “thank you” to new and veteran employees alike after the many challenges of the past few years.

Scheduling regular, convenient chair massages at work is a wonderful way to eliminate employees’ excuses for self-care and in these present times can help decrease the stress of heading back to the office.

Chair Massage with Urban Balance

We partner with some of the most skilled and experienced professional massage therapists in the Portland metro area. Our LMTs are fully vaccinated and take all the appropriate COVID safety precautions, including wearing masks and sanitizing surfaces between clients.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation or schedule corporate chair massage services for your Portland, Oregon employees!

 

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

7 Wellness Services to Integrate into Corporate Meetings and Events

Does your organization have a conference, training, or all-company meeting coming up? Promote workplace wellbeing by adding holistic corporate wellness services to the agenda.

Including wellness services in these types of events provides attendees with opportunities to rest, digest, and re-energize, striking a balance between work and self-care within an otherwise busy event schedule. Services like yoga & movement, meditation & breathwork, and massage can help attendees move through the day feeling more focused, centered, and engaged. This helps to ensure they get the most out of the experience and increases the likelihood your company can call the event a success.

There are many ways to incorporate holistic wellness services into events, but the best strategy is to make sure the offerings are relevant to what employees or attendees really need. Important topics in corporate wellness right now include employee mental health, the role of exercise in mental wellbeing, creating a culture of belonging and care at work, and recovering from and preventing burnout.

The following holistic corporate wellness services make a powerful addition to both virtual and in-person events:

  • Keynote Speakers
    Conferences and meetings revolve around business needs, but they are also about human connection. Create a culture of wellbeing within your event by inviting speakers who motivate and inspire on topics related to employee wellbeing.
  • Chair Yoga
    Chair yoga pairs well with many different corporate events, especially those where attendees are sitting in an event room for extended periods of time without much space to move around, or they are attending virtually and are glued to their screens for hours on end. No special props or clothing are required for chair yoga. Attendees may practice just as they are.
  • Breathwork & Meditation
    Even a minute or two of conscious breathing has been shown to create a measurable increase in focus, concentration, and an overall sense of wellbeing. Bring in a meditation teacher to guide attendees through a simple, yet profound experience of noticing their breath and feeling into the present moment.
  • Mindfulness Talks & Guided Meditation
    Mindfulness talks and meditation sessions make a nice addition to the start or end of a meeting or even a midday break. These offerings help attendees move into a more relaxed, cooperative headspace and feel more connected with the present moment so they can engage meaningfully throughout the day.
  • Wellness Webinars
    Hosting a virtual event? Wellness webinars make a terrific addition to the day. No matter where employees are attending from, they can tune in and explore wellness topics designed to enhance their life, from living more simply and creating healthy habits to recovering from burnout.
  • Nutrition Talks
    Help attendees make sound nutritional choices both during the event and in their daily lives with nutrition talks. Led by certified nutritionists, these webinar-style presentations are packed with nutrition facts, insights, and tips to educate employees while empowering them to make skillful dietary choices.
  • Chair Massage
    Bring in massage therapists to offer chair massage to attendees in short intervals. A long-time staple in the landscape of corporate wellness offerings, chair massage is known to benefit busy professionals in a variety of ways. It can reduce stress, enhance circulation, boost the immune system, relieve pain, and even act as a mood-booster.

Work with True Wellness Professionals

When choosing workplace wellness vendors for your event, be sure you are collaborating with credentialed professionals who are able to adapt their classes or services to meet the needs of different groups and individuals. The Urban Balance team of wellness providers understands how to adjust their presentation style to match a company’s culture and ensure their classes flow efficiently and effectively.

Interested in planning a virtual wellness retreat, wellness week, or employee health fair? Visit our website to discover our full range of event options.

 

*When working with Urban Balance, on-site services are available in the Portland Metro area only. Virtual events are available worldwide.

 

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area, and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

5 Ways to Build Physical Activity into Your Hybrid Workplace Culture

As employees settle into hybrid work-life, employers must consider how to support them in moving throughout the day. One of the 8 dimensions of wellbeing, physical wellness is not only about keeping the body in shape. We also know it plays a key role in employee mental health helping to ward off depression and anxiety, and generally supporting an elevated mood state.

Though hybrid work has its benefits, one of the negative impacts for many workers is that they move less throughout the day. In fact, a recent study revealed that 60% of employees have reduced their mobility by more than half since they began working remotely – all the more reason to build this essential into workplace culture and make it easy for employees to participate no matter where they’re working from.

Here are a few ways to encourage employees to move more in today’s hybrid workplace:

  1. Re-design the office to be more active – After the pandemic years of working remotely, many employees have made the personal commitment to incorporate more movement into their lives, whether that looks like some strength training, a Zoom fitness class, or a daily walk. As we know, though, the workday is often busy, especially on employees limited in-office days, and sometimes it can be challenging to follow through on these intentions. Some employees may be tired of being stuck at their desk, and other will have discovered they have more time for exercise than they thought and want to keep that routine going. Offer upgrades like standing desks, schedule walking meetings, and encourage stretch breaks whenever possible.
  2. Incentivize active commuting – encourage employees to walk or ride their commute (or part of it). This is even more attainable if employees commute to the office has diminished to only a couple of days each week. Create a safe, indoor space where employees can store bikes and other accessories. Consider adding a shower facility to remove the barrier of feeling sweaty during the workday. Companies can even promote “fake commuting” for those working remotely, which might look like a walk or other activity before and/or after work. This can be an effective way to separate work and home life, and a is wonderful way to fit in physical activity. Incentivize participation by creating a challenge connected to any of these options!
  3. Make announcements active – We know that even a few minutes of movement per day can make a substantial difference. Why not build a little activity into your next meeting? During the announcements portion, have an appointed staff member demonstrate movements or stretches like walking in place, side stretch, shoulder rolls, and neck rolls. These types of movements go a long way to freshening up our energy and may even help some employees boost their ability to listen. Better yet, schedule a professional movement teacher to join your meeting, either virtually or on-site, to take this responsibility off your team’s plate!
  4. Encourage out-of-office breaks – Encourage employees to take active breaks where they leave the office to take a walk and get fresh air, whether working remotely or on-site. They could even walk to lunch instead of drive. Employees will return feeling renewed and better able to focus on the task at hand.
  5. Make movement a formal part of your corporate wellness plan – Offer and promote movement classes as a part of your workplace wellness program. Employees working on-site can join from a communal space, while remote workers can connect from home.

Here are a few ideas that can work both virtually and on-site:

  • Schedule a weekly yoga class (or 2-3 per week to encourage consistency!)
  • Make movement fun – think dance-centric workouts like Zumba® or The Ellové Technique™
  • Make it vigorous and sweaty – strength & conditioning, HIIT, SPRK™, barre sculpt, or Pilates are all great go-to’s.
  • Slow it down – for employees who would benefit from a more easeful approach to movement, Tai Chi and Qigong practices are made up of gentle, meditative movements that support stress reduction.

With any movement classes your company might implement:

The most impactful movement classes are inclusive of different bodies and create opportunities for employees to participate in different ways. In a yoga class for example, remind participants they can move close to a wall to support their balance, practice seated or standing, rest, or even stop and simply watch the class at any time. Present options in such a way that all are equal instead of certain options feeling “less than.” (i.e. – if you can’t do this, then do it this easier way).

Why this matters:

Throughout our lives, we have all received implicit and/or explicit messaging about our bodies and what they are capable of. This means within any employee group, there are those who may feel intimidated when it comes to movement, or who do not feel confident or safe being in their body.

So, be sure to seek out corporate wellness instructors who are experienced in supporting people with a wide range of physical abilities and lead practices that are inclusive of everyone in the room. Remember – in the end, employees’ presence is the most important thing!

 


Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and extraordinary events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

 

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

 

 

8 Ways Companies Can Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Originally named by Mental Health America in 1949, this important awareness month encourages individuals and organizations to champion mental health awareness and to normalize conversation and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing.

There has been extensive conversation around the topic of employee mental health and wellbeing over the past few years, and rightly so. Though the pandemic has eased in many ways, employees are still facing challenges to their mental health and wellbeing. Persistent and widespread stressors include conflict around heading back to the office, overwork from staffing issues causing teams to be spread thin, and an undercurrent of global political unrest, among others. This creates a recipe for anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Why acknowledgment of Mental Health Awareness Month matters

Given the state of the world, mental health and wellbeing continue to be top workplace concerns. Everyone is affected to some degree. The good news is that addressing this topic in a meaningful way has the potential to bring employers and employees together by creating a healthier workplace.

Companies must lead the conversation around mental health and wellbeing, listen to employees, and provide benefits that make a difference in their lives. Acknowledging mental health is key to fostering a culture of psychological safety at work. Corporate wellness programs produce the best results for employees when paired with top-down, big picture culture change that allows employees to be themselves at work and feel valued for who they are.

Addressing multiple dimensions of wellbeing, holistic wellness practices boost feelings of connection, which prove integral to our sense of overall wellbeing.

Here are 8 ways companies can support employee wellbeing through investment in holistic wellness programming*:

  • Offer webinars on topics related to mental wellbeing – these presentations provide employees with information and discussion facilitated by a national board-certified health & wellness coach. Many wellness webinars include time for employee questions and interactions on the topic, offering the chance for them to be a little vulnerable if they choose, which can help fellow co-workers with similar challenges feel less alone.
  • Schedule live, interactive fitness & wellness classes – one of the benefits of live classes is the built-in connection employees have with instructors and co-workers. Workouts like HIIT, Strength & Conditioning and other types of exercise that really get the heart rate often help to boost feelings of wellbeing. Or, turn to mindful movement offerings like desk yoga, accessible yoga and Pilates. No matter the type of class, get the maximum reach by pairing live classes with a recording employees can view later.
  • Provide easy access to on-demand classes – many employees make use of wellness offerings they can engage with when it’s most convenient for them. Having an easily accessible collection of wellness practices, fitness classes, nutrition support, and webinars at their fingertips can help employees stay consistent.
  • Organize mindfulness talks or meditation & breathwork sessionsMindfulness and meditation practices teach employees to be present and focused, while breathwork helps to build self-awareness – all strong components of mental wellbeing. Ongoing, weekly classes offer employees a regular touchpoint for their practice, while one-time sessions make a great addition to meetings and special events.
  • Offer Chair Massage at the office – if you have hybrid employees, or employees have fully transitioned back to the office, this is a fantastic service to offer. Pick a day when the majority of employees are scheduled to be on-site or schedule a massage therapist through multiple time blocks so employees can receive a massage when it’s most convenient for them. Massage is known to decrease anxiety, reduce pain, and enhance mood.
  • Get Cooking – Food brings us together. Live, interactive cooking classes are a fun and unique way to bring hybrid employees together, creating the kind of connection that boosts mental wellbeing. These classes can also be fun even if employees prefer to watch and learn from the instructor.
  • Suggest a disconnect from social media – invite employees to disconnect from their social feeds, even for a brief period, while continuing to stay informed through other reliable sources. Social media is shown to have negative effects on mental health. Your company could even set an example by taking a month off from its social media campaigns, allowing your marketing & communications team a respite.
  • Express Gratitude – let employees know they are appreciated. A little recognition can go a long way and help employees feel seen, and thus feel a bit more motivated in their work.

Acknowledgment and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing can go a long way toward having happier, healthier employees, while helping your company to thrive into the future. What steps will your company take toward these ends this month?

*In addition to holistic wellness programming that’s offered at work, employees should always be encouraged to make use of EAP programs to consult with trained and certified mental health professionals. While they can be supportive in many ways, wellness practices are not a substitution for traditional mental health treatment.

 

Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

 

6 Ways to Improve Sleep Hygiene for Quality Rest

Sleep plays a significant role in both physical and mental health, but research makes it clear that Americans struggle to get quality sleep. In fact, according to the CDC, one third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.

Also according to the CDC, getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis or less than the recommended amount of sleep is linked with a wide range of common health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

It is widely documented that stress, the chronic type that is highly prevalent in the workplace, is one of the leading sleep disruptors.

Feeling sleepy in the office while sitting in front of the computer is one thing, but in industries and workplace settings including warehouses, construction sites, airports, and manufacturing, physical safety is of the utmost importance. In these settings, the National Safety Council (NSC) points out that workplace fatigue can contribute to bottom-line issues like worker absenteeism, poor performance at work, occupational injuries, and accidents, and even offers a calculator for organizations to estimate the cost of sleep deficiency on their operations.

So, what measures can companies take to help stressed employees improve their sleep habits (often referred to as sleep hygiene)? Or perhaps as you are reading this, you have realized that you are ready to make some changes to your own sleep habits?

Here are a few tips to share or apply yourself:

1. Reduce stress –
According to medical professionals, high levels of stress hormones in the body can impact how long it takes to fall asleep or may prevent sleeping through the night. Sleep loss itself can also trigger the stress response, only prolonging the cycle. So, it stands to reason we can benefit from bringing our stress level down.

One place to start is being sure to engage in physical activity each day, even if it’s just a short walk, yoga practice, or higher intensity exercise in the form of HIIT routines you can do at home. Exercise increases endorphins (feel-good hormones) while reducing stress hormones, which together help support relaxation.

There are countless stress reduction tools out there. It is likely your employer even offers some through a corporate wellness program provider. If you haven’t recently, be sure to review your company’s employee wellness benefits package to see what may already be available.

If you need some inspiration, Urban Balance’s on-demand class library is a great holistic wellness resource both for companies and individuals seeking guidance with their routine.

2. Develop a consistent sleep schedule – As the proverb “early to bed, early to rise” has long encouraged us, it is beneficial to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Any early riser would agree that having a fixed wakeup time builds the body’s desire for sleep at the end of the day, making it easier to rest and begin the next day’s cycle.

3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool – Invest in a set of blackout curtains or try sleeping with an eye mask to support your body’s internal clock. The absence of light signals the brain that it’s time to sleep. Adjust the room temperature – conventional wisdom suggests between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.

4. Leave ample time to unwind at the end of the day – Turn off screens by at least 30 minutes before bed, do a mediation or some restorative yoga before bed, or settle in with a good book to help your brain unwind.

5. Aim for balanced nutritionEat a balanced diet packed with lots of fruits and vegetables, which provides the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients. Eat dinner a few hours before going to bed, as digestion can interfere with sleep. Be sure to watch your caffeine intake throughout the day, as well as alcohol intake – both are stimulants and can interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

6. Make holistic wellness practices a part of your life – There are many holistic wellness practices that promote quality sleep, including chair massage, yoga (especially yin and restorative styles, as well as yoga nidra), meditation, Tai Chi and other styles of movement. These practices promote overall stress reduction, which sets the stage for better quality sleep.

 

If getting a good night’s sleep is a struggle and you’re curious about whether holistic wellness practices like yoga, meditation, and other healing modalities might help you or your employees, don’t hesitate to use us as a resource!

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our
catalog of virtual wellness services with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

3 Ways Companies Can Support Employees During Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Recognized every April since 1992, this month reminds us of the importance of practices that help with stress management. It can serve as a reminder to both employers and individuals that a key part of wellbeing is about finding healthy ways to cope with the natural stressors of life.

We all experience stress, and not all of it is bad. In fact, stress can play a healthy role in our lives by helping us accomplish what we need to each day and encouraging us to take the steps we need in order to grow. But when left unchecked, stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds.

Work stress was rising even prior to the pandemic – the average worker knows the truth of this. Gallup reports that over 40% of US and Canadian workers say they are facing unhealthy levels of daily stress on the job. The workers surveyed reported high levels of worry, anger, and sadness. Stressed, disengaged employees create a drag on productivity, innovation, and organizational change.

As employers bring workers back to the office, they must consider how they will help employees navigate work stress. We know the successful companies of the future will thrive not only because they are profitable, but because they are driven by the efforts of healthy, happy, and resilient employees.

Stressed employees are less able to perform the duties required of them at work. Happy, healthy employees who are resilient in the face of stress equate to a healthier bottom line for your business.

So, how can employers recognize and celebrate this important awareness month? Here are 3 wellness offerings companies can make to employees during Stress Awareness Month—and beyond.

Ideas to Help Employees Manage Stress

1. Normalize Taking Breaks for Wellness-related Activities

Make it a part of company culture to build in breaks for movement and holistic wellness activities throughout their week. Encourage this by scheduling weekly fitness & wellness classes held on site or virtually – offer a blend of high-and-low impact classes like yoga, t’ai chi, HIIT, or Pilates. Movement of any kind is one of the greatest stress-busters.

Consider making meditation recordings available so employees can listen on their break or offer workplace wellness webinars on topics directly related to stress management. No matter what the chosen offering, be sure to provide paid time for employees to engage in these activities, as well as encouragement from management to do so.

2. Surprise Employees with a Retreat Day

On-site and virtual wellness retreats are a great way to help employees find balance and connection during their workday. They allow employers to offer variety and versatility while introducing employees to the benefits of building consistent wellness practices. They also help bring employees together in the hybrid workplace where connection with co-workers can be a challenge.

3. Prepare Some Food Together

Yes, you heard that right. Get employees together virtually and make food.

Interactive cooking demos are a great way to connect remote workers and bring them together for something fun. No matter the recipes, cooking and baking help to reduce stress by engaging our senses and bringing us into the present moment. Such classes encourage a balanced approach to nutrition, which supports mental wellbeing, sleep and energy levels throughout the workday, while helping employees exercise more creativity in their own kitchen. These sessions incorporate practical nutritional information employees can customize and implement into their meal and snack planning.

Looking Forward

As employers bring workers back to the office and restart operations under what will become their new normal, they must consider how they will help hybrid workers navigate work stress. The successful companies of the future will thrive not only because they are profitable, but because they are driven by the efforts of healthy, happy, and resilient employees.

Boost Stress-Reduction Offerings with a Corporate Wellness Provider

Looking to strengthen your organization’s employee stress reduction programming? Urban Balance offers an array of classes, workshops and webinars on topics related to stress reduction. Browse our virtual wellness services catalog and get the scoop on our latest employee stress reduction resource, the Urban Balance on-demand class library.

Curious about how we could work together? Contact us to start exploring options.

 

 

Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

Why You Should Go on a Wellness Retreat

 

Since the onset of the pandemic, more people have begun to develop an appreciation for the role of health and wellbeing in their lives. And, as we move into this next phase of the experience, many are ready to travel, gather, and experience the world again.

It’s no secret: the past couple of years have taken a toll on just about everyone’s sense of wellbeing. For one, maintaining physical wellness has been a challenge for many — getting out into nature, moving your body, breathing well, and eating well, are a few of the keys to thriving in this dimension of wellbeing. It’s also very important to acknowledge how challenging it can be to keep our attention here while living under stressful circumstances.

Mental wellbeing is another dimension of wellbeing that has been hugely impacted. In a recent survey from American Express, 69 percent of respondents said they had experienced mental health impacts from the pandemic, while 76 percent of respondents said they wanted to spend more on travel that put wellbeing at the center of the experience.

Over the past 10-15 years, this trend of seeking out vacations that prioritize relaxation and self-care has led to the rise of an entire industry. Dubbed wellness tourism or wellness travel, this industry boasts a wide array of retreat-like experiences in locations around the world.

Benefits of Wellness Retreats

Some of the most impactful wellness retreats combine multiple dimensions of wellbeing that help to enrich our lives. Offerings might range from yoga and meditation sessions to fitness classes to massage and other spa services. Wellness retreats often give participants a taste of the local cuisine, as well as opportunities to learn about the local culture.

There is typically some space set aside for retreat-goers to step out of the main group to enjoy personal time in nature or take excursions to local attractions of their choice. Such elements help transform a simple trip into a holistic experience. If you’re ready for a reset, here’s why you should make a wellness retreat part of your plan.

Holistic wellness retreats help you:

Nurture your body inside and out
Holistic wellness retreats often include daily movement practices like yoga or Pilates, access to spa services like massage and skincare, and the opportunity to savor delicious local fare. Typically taking place in restful, relaxing environments, holistic wellness retreats support the release of tension and stress in the body and nervous system.

Care for your mind
Mental wellbeing has been a well-documented challenge throughout the pandemic. Reducing your stress level for a few days by participating in a refreshing experience like a wellness retreat can help to shift your outlook amidst the challenges of life, and even boost your optimism.

Eat well
Often, one of the best parts about wellness retreats is the food – especially when it’s locally produced, sustainably grown, and chef-prepared. It’s easy to feel well when eating nutritious, flavorful cuisine. All the more reason to leave the cooking to someone else for a few days!

Connect with others
Wellness retreats are a great place to make new connections and discover new interests as you step out of your daily responsibilities and into a fresh perspective. Show up solo and you might just come away with a new friend.

Step out of your routine

There’s something comforting about our daily routines. They can help us stay focused and steady to ensure we honor our commitments to ourselves and others. Consider setting your routines aside for a time. Doing so can help to widen your perspective and release the stress of your to-do list as you immerse yourself in the present moment experience. When you return home, you might just appreciate your “regular” life and the space your routines hold even more.

Looking for wellness retreats near you?

Googling “wellness retreats near me” will pop up some great options in your local area.

Urban Balance is proud to offer local and international wellness retreats. To see what we have coming up, visit the retreats section of our website. Next up is our Gather Wellness Retreat happening April 22nd-25th at Brasada Ranch near Bend, OR.

Looking for a virtual “getaway” for hybrid employees? We also offer virtual corporate retreats that employees can take part in from any location!

 

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver live and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.


Browse our
catalog of virtual wellness services with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.