Adapting the employee wellness programme to a hybrid office set-up

As the Covid-19 vaccination programme progresses, many companies are looking to implement a hybrid-working model offering their staff a degree of flexibility between working from home and from the office. Corporate wellness programmes will need to adjust to this new reality.

The experience of working from home has produced a number of advantages for many office workers, including less commute stress, a better work-life balance, location independence, and money savings. 

At the same time, Zoom calls and webinars have created a certain level of fatigue for some who are missing face-to-face interaction. A more clearly structured day and a separation between private and professional life are additional advantages that the office environment can offer. Combining the advantages of both set-ups by implementing a hybrid-working model is therefore emerging as the preferred option for many companies and employees. When designed correctly, a hybrid work model can deliver the structure, independence, flexibility, and sociability that an employee culture needs.

However, employees will expect that the corporate wellness programme they signed up to offers at least the same level of wellbeing as before, independently of their location. The pandemic has tested the population’s mental and physical health, making employee wellness programmes more important than ever. There is strong evidence showing how stress can weaken the immune system and how sedentary lifestyles contribute to a slew of health issues. 

A recent survey conducted by Gympass (opens a new window) — a global corporate wellbeing platform — found that over the past year, younger employees (18-24) turned to therapy to take care of their mental health, while older employees (55-64) turned to physical activity. When it comes to the mental impact of physical activity, those 65+ reported that it gives them more energy. Respondents between 18-39 years old reported that physical activity makes them more productive. Respondents 25-44 years old feel that returning to the office will impact their mental health positively, and this group also showed the most excitement for returning to in-person fitness, showing the importance that in-person interactions (both in the office and at the gym) have on mental health. 

Lockton and Gympass have partnered to share some insights on how organizations can implement corporate wellbeing solutions to support employee health & wellbeing as companies transition to a hybrid working model.

A good employee wellness programme cannot only help employees stay healthy and happy, but also improve their levels of engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Moreover, when employers support their employees in improving their health, they are sending a clear message: they care for them on a human level. However, the wellness offering needs to reflect the same flexibility to employees as the hybrid-working model. A corporate membership at a fitness club near the office may not be an option on days working from home. While some may enjoy online workout classes, others may be more motivated to attend an in-person training session. To make sure that the corporate wellness programme is state of the art, HR managers should review and test and make sure it is fit for purpose.

Recommendations: 

  • Determine what employees want and need

  • Conduct health assessments and surveys to gauge employee interests and identify common risks/goals

  • Establish clear goals with your leadership team (e.g. reduce absenteeism, increase employee retention), then set up a reporting process to track progress.

  • Address the risks/goals with specific types of programmes aligned to your business

  • Showcase buy-in from the leadership team

  • Leverage insurer value added services and set additional budget for wellness including tools and resources, promotional materials and new services

  • Feed the enthusiasm and support from all levels of the organisation back to the leadership.  

  • Promote your programme and consider rewards and incentives to keep engagement rates high.

Multi-option wellness solutions are emerging as the best way to address the hybrid-working model. They provide an “all-in-one” option for employers, enabling HR teams to manage the programme more efficiently.

Lockton is pleased to have partnered up with Gympass. If you would like any further information, please contact the author or your Lockton consultant.

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