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.


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 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.



How Workplace Wellness Programs Can Boost Psychological Safety,

Returning to Work: How Workplace Wellness Programs Can Boost Psychological Safety

Mental health, and employee well-being in general, have been prominent topics of conversation throughout the pandemic.

At first, quarantine had an overwhelming impact on everyone’s mental well-being. A sense of isolation paired with never really being able to “shut off” work was an issue at the forefront for so many. Fast forward 18 months to now, when many employers have announced their return-to-work plans and the transition is well underway. It turns out going back to the office has been just as challenging, if not more so, than the sudden switch to remote work.

In June 2021, global management consulting firm McKinsey conducted a survey of 1,602 employed people, in which 1 in 3 employees reported that returning to the office negatively impacted their mental health.

What is Psychological Safety?

Psychological safety at work is marked by the presence of feelings 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. Ensuring employees feel psychologically safe in the workplace is part of supporting their mental well-being through this new round of changes.

What are the current employee concerns; how can employers help?

Perhaps the most obvious include physical concerns related to contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to loved ones, including immuno-compromised family members and children who may not yet be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Another top-ranking concern is flexibility, which 62% of survey respondents reported could decrease the stress of transitioning back on-site. Many employees are seeking hybrid work arrangements and more time off. In our increasingly busy world, one where employees are often leaving for greener pastures, employers are needing to find ways to accommodate people in this regard.

What role can your workplace wellness program play in supporting psychological safety at work?

Holistic corporate wellness programs can go beyond providing employees with stand-alone movement, meditation, or cooking classes. When executed well, engagement with these offerings helps to create a culture of well-being at work – a culture where qualities like openness, inclusivity, and caring about co-worker’s joys and challenges, becomes normalized — all of which can help to reduce mental health stigma and help employees find a sense of belonging in the workplace.

Livestream and on-site classes — activities done together in real time — serve to bring employees together to cultivate a shared experience, and even a sense of community and purpose, around something other than work. Through interacting with co-workers during a wellness webinar on reducing stress through meditation, for example, employees may come to realize that they have the same anxieties and stressors as some of their peers and feel less alone as a result.

Providing options can help to reduce stress and give employees flexibility in how they engage with your wellness offerings. Each employee population is a little different. Try mixing up your offerings and how they are delivered. If your employee report feeling “Zoomed out” by the end of the day, it may be difficult to get everyone on board to take part in a single virtual class. Instead, try offering a mix of virtual and on-site services, or perhaps some on-demand classes they can take part in when it feels right for them.

For example, try offering 2-3 weekly yoga classes paired with an on-site massage session once per month. If on-site programming does not yet feel accessible in your area yet due to state or local restrictions, it’s something to consider for the future.

Finally, with ‘The Great Resignation’ underway, your employee wellness program has to do double duty — that is, support existing employees while also signaling to prospective team members the type of workplace culture you are looking to prioritize. If you’re in a leadership role, model positive engagement with existing wellness offerings. Stay connected with current employees’ needs, both by surveying and talking with them regularly, while staying abreast of the trends. A quality well-being program is a singular, yet potentially very impactful piece of the puzzle of supporting your team’s mental health.

In Closing

Psychological safety is a huge part of your employee’s overall well-being and prioritizing it in your company’s return-to-work strategy will be of the utmost importance. If your company is seeking a partner to help tailor and execute a corporate wellness program for these times — look no further! We have a deep commitment to understanding the nuances of employee wellness and will be here with you every step of the way.

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.

Corporate Wellness Program Strategy: 3 Ways HR Teams Can Recommit to Their Employees This Fall

by Kasey Stewart, UB Team Member and Yoga Instructor

As we welcome September and the change of seasons, it is clear that we are heading into a fall like none other. How are you pivoting your employee wellness strategy to compensate?

Of course, there are still many unknowns that may pose challenges for your company, but what can your corporate wellness program strategy look like despite these unknowns? This transitional time is a great moment to acknowledge what is possible, given the circumstances.

Here are a few tips to help you prioritize employee wellness this fall:
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