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?
One of the key questions that corporate executives should be asking right now is, “What does all this change mean for my company’s wellness initiatives, and ultimately, for our employees’ wellbeing?”
There is no doubt that HR teams, benefits coordinators and wellness committees will need to get creative when it comes to meeting the needs of hybrid workers. The solution is no longer quite as simple as it was when employees had no choice but to work from home.
For some, virtual classes may be losing their allure after many months of digital overload. For others, access to high-quality virtual wellness offerings helps to ensure they get their workout in, eat balanced meals, or take time to meditate or otherwise check in with themselves during a busy day.
Here are some keys to crafting a successful employee wellness plan for the hybrid workplace:
Make it Holistic
The pandemic has shone a bright light on the fact that employees are multi-dimensional beings, not just numbers. Thus, wellness teams need to ensure that their offerings speak to a wide range of human needs. Is your plan holistic? Does it speak to the 8 Dimensions of Well-being? These are great places to start your inquiry.
Change is constant. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will fit forever, the best approach is to choose a wellness program provider that can flex with your employees’ changing needs.
In general, companies must remain prepared to adapt to ever-shifting circumstances that will unfold as our economy continues to recover in the months and years to come. In addition to economic challenges, global issues related to climate change (increased wildfires, extreme heat events, storms, floods, etc.) and even future pandemics will likely continue to disrupt how we live and work.
Honor the Individual While Emphasizing the Collective
We often focus solely on how wellness efforts affect the individual, but the reality is that we are interconnected and relationships are integral to our wellbeing.
Consider fostering a sense of community in your hybrid workplace through activities that inspire authentic connection. This could look like a wellness webinar where employees have the opportunity to bond over shared challenges with mental well-being throughout the pandemic, or like bringing employees from different locations together for a fun livestream cooking demo where the team cooks along with the instructor. On-site movement classes are another great way for groups of employees to shake out stress, sweat, and laugh together.
Since employees may be at all different levels of comfort around re-entering in-person experiences, it is important to remember that there is no one right way for any of us to make this transition, regardless of their role in the workplace. Your employees will benefit from having access to a variety of wellness program delivery methods for the foreseeable future.
Your best bet? Provide structure and normalize a range of options while helping them to honor their experience.
At Urban Balance, we offer holistic employee wellbeing solutions for the hybrid workforce.
Whether your team is working remotely, on-site, or hybrid, our livestream and on-site wellness classes offer a sense of continuity for employees working in multiple locations. Think of our offerings as a trip to the water cooler, helping to create a sense of camaraderie and community within organizations.
On top of the traditional benefits of corporate wellness programs, when you choose to work with us, you’re choosing a partner. Imagine having the support of a tight-knit team of wellness professionals to help you navigate the many challenges of delivering wellness programming during this time.
Is your company ready to up-level its corporate wellness programming to accommodate a hybrid workforce?
Contact us to learn how Urban Balance’s programming can help your employees thrive.
Urban Balance is the premiere 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.