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.



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.



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.


Navigating Employee Wellbeing in the Hybrid Workplace

by Kasey Stewart

In the latest phase of pandemic recovery, companies across the country are embracing a formal shift toward a hybrid work environment. Many are in the process of welcoming employees back into corporate offices this summer, while others are in the planning stages for a larger-scale return in the fall.

This shift in work environments, along with a changing labor market, is prompting companies to invest in their physical workspaces and their team – everything from office renovations to beefed up benefits packages – in an attempt to retain employees and enhance their experience.

A recent report from Microsoft paints a detailed picture of the current state of affairs. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index Annual Report, a notable 66% of leaders said their company is considering re-designing its office space for hybrid work. On the employee side, 73% of workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue, while 67% are ready for more in-person time with their teammates.

These statistics paint a clear picture – permanent changes are coming to the way we work, and both companies and employees are on board. The report even goes so far as to frame hybrid work as “the next great disruption”.

Is your workplace ready – and is your company as prepared as it can be to prioritize employee wellbeing through the transition? Read more

4 Ways to Promote Resilience Within Remote Teams

November 2020

There’s a lot of talk about “Covid fatigue” these days. Perhaps you’re seeing signs of it in your employees and colleagues, and maybe even yourself. Now several months into this global pandemic, most workplaces have moved beyond the adrenaline/shock of it all and further into the question of “when will we go back to normal?” Read more

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:
Read more

Live or Pre-Recorded Wellness Classes: Which is right for your company?

Live or Pre-Recorded Wellness Classes: Which is right for your company?

Here in today’s corporate wellness landscape, companies everywhere are transitioning their on-site employee wellness offerings to virtual programs, or they may be seeking this type of programming anew as a means to support their employees through this challenging time.

If you’re in the field of human resources or employee benefits and are exploring virtual wellness solutions for your team, the number of choices available out there can seem a bit daunting. One question that often arises is how to decide between livestream and pre-recorded classes. Here are a few benefits of each:

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5 Tips to Help You Embrace the “Pandemic Pause”

5 Tips to Help You Embrace the “Pandemic Pause”

The Covid-19 pandemic has put many aspects of life as we know it at a stand-still and required us to quickly adapt to a change in routines. Many people are finding themselves with more time on their hands, while others may continue to have a full slate of obligations to fulfill related to work and family. Perhaps you are still trying to figure out what self-care looks like for you in this “new normal”. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay connected with the 8 dimensions of well-being, even while navigating this challenging time.

Read more