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.

 

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.

The Benefits of Live, Ongoing Employee Wellness Classes

Companies looking for ways to help employees maintain physical health, address mental wellbeing, and build stronger connections with their co-workers have many options to choose from, including wellness apps that provide everything from on-demand content like guided meditations and yoga classes, to biometric tracking.

While these solutions have their benefits, companies that are looking to shift company culture, by taking a holistic approach to employee wellness should consider the benefits of live, ongoing virtual classes aimed at developing the mind-body connection, as well as a sense of connection with co-workers.

This includes offerings such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi & Qigong, dance fitness & conditioning (Zumba, Ellové), HIIT (or strength and conditioning formats), and meditation & mindfulness sessions.

With virtual wellness here to stay, here are 5 benefits to adding live, weekly classes into your workplace wellness program.


Employees can join from anywhere

One of the beautiful parts of online classes is that some of the participation issues that arise in on-site wellness classes, such as vacations, business trips, and employees working different shifts, are no longer as much of a barrier to participation. Whether your team is hybrid or fully remote, employees leave for business trips or vacation, or even if they relocate, they can still join their Pilates class or build that regularly scheduled group meditation session into their day. We’ve heard first-hand from employees in our live classes that they enjoy the convenience and flexibility that accompanies such offerings.

Easy implementation

From a business perspective, live, ongoing wellness classes are relatively easy to implement. Once you determine which class to offer and set the schedule, encourage employees to schedule their classes into their calendar. Working with a company that handles the administrative side, including marketing and employee communications, means wellness coordinators can “set it and forget it”.

They provide a built-in space for connection

Live virtual yoga and movement classes offer an element of connection and community that is especially essential with so many employees now working in hybrid or fully remote environments. In addition to interactive and engaging class content, many mind-body wellness instructors, especially those trained to teach yoga & meditation, are skilled at encouraging connection not only through their teaching but in the spaces before and after class.

Having a weekly time and date to attend class vs. participating via recording encourages employees to be consistent and accountable. Knowing there is a live group they’ve committed to provides many people with motivation to stay engaged.

They offer little something for everyone

Many of today’s group fitness and wellness classes include mixed-level instruction, making them appropriate beginners and the more seasoned practitioners alike. In a live setting, teachers build relationships with the employees who come to class regularly and can offer specific instruction based on what they see. In this way, live classes make it easier for teachers to meet employees where they are and to deliver an experience that differs from the on-demand classes.

A connected, engaging solution to employee burnout

Virtual fitness and movement classes help employees to address common physical issues, such as poor posture, stiffness, neck and back pain, as well as the mental stress that comes with working long hours in a hybrid or fully remote work environment. Mindfulness and meditation sessions can also help employees to create space in the course of a stressful day where there otherwise may have been none.

 

 

In Conclusion:
There are benefits to engaging with wellness offerings no matter the frequency, however, based on positive outcomes with our clients, we are strong advocates for weekly, ongoing corporate wellness programming whenever possible.

Live wellness offerings help to bridge the gaps inherent to a distributed workforce. This type of programming encourages consistency, connection, and community, all of which helps employees stay accountable and reach their wellness goals.

Visit our website to learn more about the full array of yoga and movement classes Urban Balance delivers.

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.

 

 

5 Workplace Wellness Trends to Act on in 2022

The workplace wellness trends emerging so far in 2022 send a clear message about what employees are expecting from their employers. Staying abreast of the most current workplace wellness trends can prove impactful for organizations seeking to retain current employees, boost employee engagement and retention, and attract new talent. Here are a few we believe deserve extra attention right now:

 

Support for Mental Health & Wellbeing

This first trend has received a lot of buzz to date. In a 2021 American Psychological Association (APA) study, 79% of employees said they had experienced some degree of work-related stress in the last month, with roughly 6 in 10 saying they experienced negative impacts from that stress.

While supports like employee assistance plans and telehealth therapy are integral parts to a well-rounded benefits package and should be prioritized, companies should look to other stress-reduction methods to supplement, such as livestream yoga or t’ai chi classes, or on-demand mindfulness meditation practices. In our experience working on-site and virtually with employees over the past decade, these supplemental yet impactful practices help employees to feel more resilient in the face of stress and give them something to look forward to each week.

Another possible avenue for mental health support is through wellness webinars. A great strategy is to offer a bundle of monthly or quarterly webinars on topics related to self-care and stress management.

Diversity in Well-Being Offerings

When it comes to workplace wellbeing offerings, one of the common challenges is that employees all need a little something different – because some of the variables of being human include gender, race, sexual orientation, family structure, religious background and lifestyle, to name just a few – we are all different. It is important for leaders to recognize this and offer a diverse array of wellness offerings to connect with as many employees as possible. Doing so can help them to feel seen and heard, which can boost feelings of psychological safety at work.

We expect this trend will take the corporate wellness landscape further into a focus on holistic programming, which recognizes and prioritizes the whole person and all dimensions of wellbeing.

Employee Benefits will Become a Key Employee Retention Tool

In 2021, “The Great Resignation” took center stage, as many employees vacated their positions in search of greener pastures. This has prompted a wake-up call for employers and led to a re-imagining of the workplace. Employees want to be heard by their employers. Employers can encourage healthy feedback loops by survey employees and taking action on the data they receive.

Community Connection & Engagement

Employee engagement continues to be a challenge in our hybrid world. How can you bring employees together? One option we advocate for is offering livestream workplace wellness classes, which give employees the opportunity to come together for something other than a meeting – in a space for self-care and connection.  Try scheduling classes in for your employees as meetings to increase the likelihood that they’ll attend. Make it fun and don’t hesitate to incentivize them!

Increased Interest in Financial Wellness Offerings

Financial stress impacts employees’ emotional wellbeing. According to a 2019 report by Metlife, 1 in 3 employees admits their financial stress makes them less productive at work. Some of today’s top stressors include lack of emergency savings, keeping up with monthly expenses and being laid off. For companies, this can mean lost revenue, absenteeism, and high turnover.

Research shows that providing financial wellness support can increase employee engagement and even loyalty to their company. Per this PWC study and analysis, more than 80% of employers report having a financial wellness program in place, however many of these are traditional programs focused on retirement education and other planning programs that aren’t addressing the current, real causes of employees’ financial stress.

 

 

How to Deliver Workplace Wellness Programs that Work

The first step to delivering impactful employee wellness programming is to start by gathering data. Survey employees to find out what they need and deliver based on those responses. Remove as many barriers to participation as possible. Make wellness offerings creative, interesting, and easily accessible no matter where employees are working from. Finally, be sure to measure the impact the offerings had, through participation tracking and surveys.

 

In Conclusion

To position your company for success in the face of a competitive job market, hybrid work environment and ongoing global uncertainty, improving employee wellbeing must be top-of-mind. Employee wellbeing is the key to a profitable, sustainable business. Corporate HR and employee benefits teams should find ways to meet the needs expressed by these trends and most importantly, deliver in a way that is authentic and in alignment with the overall culture your unique company is looking to promote.

 

Find out how Urban Balance’s Workplace Wellness services can enhance your employee benefits program when you contact us for a complimentary consultation.

 

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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.

3-Ways-to-Get-Creative-with-your-Employee-Wellness-Programming

4 Ways to Get Creative with your Employee Wellness Programming

At this point in the pandemic, when it comes to your virtual wellness offerings, maybe it feels like you’ve tried it all (and then some!) and aren’t quite sure how to pique your team’s interest. Need a little inspiration? If you’re looking for ways to keep your programming fresh and share gratitude with your employees as we head into 2022, here’s a list of fun event ideas to consider.

Virtual Wellness Retreats

Design a virtual wellness retreat experience tailored to your employees’ needs. This fully customizable option invites employees to enjoy all the relaxation, bliss, and centering of a wellness retreat within the safety of their own home or office. Companies that work with us can choose from any of the live or pre-recorded or classes in our catalog including movement, meditation, nutrition, wellness webinars, and more.

During these events, employees are encouraged to make their space a sanctuary and be as present as possible by disconnecting from work for the span of a few hours. Having some scheduled time away from their daily responsibilities could be just what your employees need to help feel nourished and re-charged for the new year.

Host a Virtual Wellness Week

If you’re looking to offer more of a multi-day experience with a diverse array of offerings spread out across several days, consider hosting a virtual wellness week.

With this type of event, we can help you customize a creative, informative, fun and interactive weeks’ worth of webinars. One possible way to structure the event is to focus on a different dimension of well-being each day for 5 days. Consider having 2-3 webinars live-streamed per day, and opt-in for recordings to send to employees who could not attend live. We will collaborate with you and with our skilled and experienced team of corporate wellness professionals to present a rich blend of webinars that will speak to mental, financial, physical, environmental and nutritional/social well-being.

This format has a high likelihood of sparking good conversation in the office (or virtual workspace), because it allows employees to steep in each topic for a little longer than usual. This extra time spent with the material can help guide employees toward meaningful change in their lives.

Virtual Health Fairs

Is your company planning a virtual health or benefits fair? These events are a great way to help employees take initiative over their well-being by showing up to interact with a variety of wellness experts as they learn about the benefits and services that are available to them.
Consider tying in benefits providers you haven’t worked with before to help keep things fresh. Offer a meditation session or movement class, or even a nutrition demo as part of the event. Providing opportunities for experiential learning through classes and webinars can help keep the event fun and informative while building community.

Substitute Your In-Person Holiday Gathering with Virtual Wellness Experiences

If your organization is unable to hold an in-person holiday gathering again this year, consider other ways you could bring employees together to appreciate their efforts and have a little fun. One of our favorite strategies is to offer a holiday-themed interactive cooking class where employees can cook with the instructor. You could also consider a virtual yoga class or a high-energy movement class like Zumba, HIIT, etc.

Whichever path you choose here are some general guidelines to help you design an experience that runs smoothly and ends up being meaningful for employees:

  • Meet employees where they are – make it relevant. Cater to your team’s wants and needs. Survey them. Give them two or 3 options to choose from. Find out what employees want and deliver! For instance, if you have a team that loves food, offer an interactive cooking class. If you’ve heard a lot of people say they’re burnt out or need a break, consider some gentle or restorative yoga, or group meditation session.
  • Make it interactive. have presenters ask engaging questions, offer fun prizes or other incentives for those who attend, and be sure to follow up with participants to see what their experience was like when all is said and done.
  • Give employees paid time to participate. This is one of the best ways to boost engagement and show employees that you are prioritizing their well-being.
  • Get the word out early and often. What is your department is doing to inform and remind employees of what is available to them? Employees may need to hear about wellness offerings several times before they really notice them and decide to participate.
  • Offer multiple ways to participate. Livestream classes are great for bringing people together in real-time and building community. Consider offering a recording for those who could not make it to the live session.
  • Build excitement around the offerings. To ensure employees show up to reap the benefits, really make it an event that employees won’t want to miss – make it “cool” to participate! Offer a drawing or other incentive or find other ways to create a little friendly competition.

In these times, there is no doubt that companies will need to be creative when it comes to supporting employee well-being. Think outside the box and let us know how we can support your remote or hybrid employees. We’d love to brainstorm with you to create an event that makes a difference in their lives!

 

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Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site and virtual corporate wellness services in Portland, Oregon. We deliver yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, nutrition and learning opportunities to the office environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Check out our catalog of Virtual Wellness Services here.