Making Your Wellness Program Thrive for Today’s Hybrid Workforce

3-minute read

For the last 20 of our 30 years in business HES has succeeded by creating industry-leading wellness campaigns over the internet. Although our programs are provided remotely to organizations worldwide, we’ve always emphasized the importance of in-person promotion, recognition for milestones reached, and celebration of goals achieved. Nothing breathes more life into employee well-being initiatives than sharing the same oxygen.

But norms have changed. With COVID fading from view, most organizations are encouraging (in some cases requiring) return to the workplace along with flexibility to work from anywhere. It seems this hybrid is here to stay… for now.

Time will tell which iterations of work from anywhere will produce the greatest benefit — to employers and employees. But for wellness managers, waiting to find out isn’t an option. Try what some HES clients are doing to help employee wellness flourish.

Get Focused
Conduct focus groups, ideally in person, to know the needs of remote employees. If work-from-home and/or hybrid workers can’t attend live, host separate teleconference sessions for them rather than risk their voices being overshadowed by in-person attendees in a mixed group. Check previous HES blog posts for tips on how to make focus groups rewarding, inclusive experiences that yield actionable input.

Double Down on Live Communication
Take full advantage of in-house webinars, live stream classes, internal and external instant message apps, social media feeds, and push notifications. To accommodate a workforce that spans multiple time zones, managers are rotating schedules to reach each audience live at least once a week.

Record, Edit, and Share Everything
The extra live communication effort doesn’t work for remote employees who often have a set schedule and rhythm to their workday (fewer interruptions are among the top reasons for remote work preference). But they don’t want to waste time listening or watching recordings with fluff. The playful banter that feels good live can get annoying quickly in a recording. Edit ruthlessly.

Set and Promote Office Hours
Blocking out available time — for impromptu messaging, video/phone calls, and 1:1 meetings — underscores people are behind your wellness program, not just apps and portals. Again, vary your schedule to accommodate multiple time zones.

Highlight Individual and Team Success
Surprisingly, some employees are more uncomfortable taking time for workday well-being activities when they’re home than at the office. Just encouraging a mid-morning walk or 20-minute meditation isn’t enough. Highlighting wellness achievements of other remote workers and teams can give them “permission” to do it too.

Host In-Person Events
Employees who aren’t at the worksite don’t stop wanting face-to-face interaction; it’s a basic human need. Hold quarterly in-person-only events and go out of your way to bring in remote workers. Make these decidedly low tech/high touch to give them a break from the daily remote tech grind. Use the opportunity to have a conversation about how to better serve their wellness needs.

Measure Results, Get Better
If your well-being offerings have historically been delivered at the workplace you likely have metrics to analyze quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year participation. These may need refashioning in a hybrid work world. Determine what data is relevant to capture now, then set 1% annual improvement goals where it makes sense. Why just 1%? We’re all going to be feeling our way through this for the first couple of years, learning as we go. Take whatever wins you get, celebrate, and build on them until you have your best version of employee wellness services in this new reality.

 

Dean WitherspoonDean Witherspoon
Chief collaborator, nudger, tinkerer; leads the most inventive team creating well-being and sustainable living programs. Reach out if you’d like to talk about employee well-being, emotional fitness, or eco-friendly living.

 

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