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.
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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