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 Massage – chair 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.
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