Experts Share How to Create Wellness-Centered Hybrid Work Model

Posted by Seraine Page on Tue, Jul, 06, 2021

Hybird-01Wondering how to keep wellness at the center of your new hybrid work model?

Now that companies are opening back up after long periods of remote work, it’s a time for readjustment. That includes figuring out how to create a cohesive wellness strategy that benefits employees no matter their location.

As more companies implement a hybrid work model, there will be more wellness initiatives designed to accommodate flexible and ever-changing work schedules. Wellness campaigns will also require a bit more planning to be inclusive and companies need to get creative with marketing and engaging employees.

Unsure how to bridge the wellness gap between remote and in-house workers?

We reached out to experts for their best tips and practices for navigating wellness while sustaining a hybrid work model. Check out their insights below!

What’s a Hybrid Work Model?

A hybrid work model means a company has employees working both in-office and remotely. There is a wide range of how this may look — partial days in-office, some fully remote workers, a mix of both, etc. During the pandemic, many companies moved into some form of hybrid work if they weren’t able to keep all employees fully remote.

15 Tips From Experts on Sustaining Your Hybrid Work Model

Now that employers and employees have gotten a taste of remote work, it’s too appealing to leave it all behind. That’s why companies like Microsoft, Google, and others have opted to keep the hybrid work model.

But what does that mean for company wellness initiatives? For wellness committees, it may mean getting a little more creative and also looking at wellness at new angles to keep employees engaged.

We interviewed CEOs, psychologists, and international speakers on the best ways to keep employees healthy — whether they work from home or in the office or both.

Here are the top 15 tips to keep wellness at the center of your hybrid work model.

1. Give Employees a Voice

“A large part of the wellness system we've put in place has been giving a voice to the employees themselves, and making sure we're listening and ready to make changes based on any problems that come up. For example, we've been conducting monthly mental health surveys and questionnaires to get a read on whether our staff is feeling depressed, lonely, or anything of the like.

The most important thing we're looking for are trends, because if we see a large proportion of remote employees feeling increasingly isolated, for example, clearly something needs to be done. Surveys help give a strong voice to our employees and allow them a chance to anonymously share their feelings about their mental health, and we can make actionable decisions about that information afterwards.” 

Mike Nemeroff, CEO & Co-Founder of Rush Order Tees

2. Create a Cohesive Wellness Culture

“Creating a culture where multiple versions of a hybrid workplace are acceptable and encouraged can help satisfy employee needs, decrease tension and improve employee wellness. Additionally, leaders who make their wellness a priority can promote a culture that values wellness. 

Encourage open communication. Find out what employees feel works for them and promote acceptance of different ways of working. Be flexible and work with employees to determine the best practices for a hybrid workplace. Create a culture that values and encourages wellness like taking regular breaks and time off, engaging in self-care, and setting work boundaries.”

— Dr. Sunni Lampasso, PsyD, BCBA-D, Executive Coach & Consulting Psychologist at Shaping Success LLC

3. Provide Plenty of Mental Health Resources

“Any and all mental health resources as possible should be available. There are a number of free resources through most insurance plans through EAPs (Employee Assistance Program). There are discounts to be negotiated, though a number of mental health resources are being offered for free (like some meditation apps).

HR needs to play a role in collecting the resources and distributing the information. HR needs to partner with key stakeholders across the organization with programming to engage employees across the board. Leadership must participate and HR needs to be the project leader to get initiatives started.

It is important to keep up and/or upgrade best business practices. Your business will not succeed if you're not aware of how the mental health of your employees is affected by COVID, work from home, and general malaise of the world and politics. Each employee is a commodity to keeping your business successful.

Make the work environment inclusive. Be sure to have captions, subtitles, photo descriptions, audio or video, not just one or the other. The more inclusive, the more people are likely to take the training and learn from it in their own style and at their own pace.”

Jessica Lambrecht, founder and CEO of The Rise Journey

4. Offer Mental Wellness Benefits

“Offering different programs that benefit mental wellness is a great start for companies. There are so many different plans out there that corporations are able to offer to their teams/are part of insurance plans. Take a look into those options, and see what you are able to do for your teams.”

Derin Oyekan, co-founder of Reel Paper

5. Focus on Mental Health Safety

“Create a culture of safety in the workplace. A culture of safety is one where everyone feels safe speaking openly about mental health without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss. When an employee feels safe, seen, heard, and understood, they are more apt to speak openly and get the help they need. A healthier employee is a more engaged employee.

Train the leadership team on how to identify an employee in distress. Knowledge about mental illness empowers leaders to open the conversation and crosswalk the employee to the appropriate services.  Leaders should not be counselors. Leaders should be the first line of defense when creating and sustaining a mentally healthy workplace culture.

Commit to reducing stigma and discrimination in the workplace and embed that commitment in all organizational communications. Leaders have the power to transform the workplace culture. The most powerful organizations empower employees to 'remove the mask of fear and shame' and speak openly about mental health.”

Kim LaMontagne, international speaker, trainer, author 

6. Connect Colleagues Over Wellness Topics

“The hybrid model means workplaces will have to get creative when establishing company-wide wellness goals. They will need to take into account that not everyone will be around at the same time to go on a group walk during lunch or participate in a yoga session for stress relief. They will need to consider wellness with work-from-home employees in mind. 

My company, CreditDonkey, has worked to keep wellness a priority by setting up a special Slack channel where employees can share personal goals and challenges. It's a great way to get employees excited about wellness and encourage each other on tough days. We have also used our weekly internal company newsletter to highlight wellness tips for the workplace. Two examples are stretching exercises that you can do in an office chair and recipes for breakfasts that are rich in protein and complex carbs to power employees through the workday.

My top tips for keeping up a healthy hybrid work model are to understand and work to combat the risk of burnout, encourage employees to move more even (or especially) when they work out of their home office all day, and make wellness resources accessible for all kinds of bodies.”

Ann Martin, director of operations of CreditDonkey Investments

Related: Unwind Instantly With These 9 Stress-Relieving Activities 

7. Share Achievements  

“Shorter initiatives like 10-minute daily workout plans are going to become the norm. Companies that hire fully remote employees will need to think of ways to include people who may be shut out from local gym vouchers and other location-based perks.

My company keeps employees engaged in wellness through positive reinforcement and sharing achievements with each other. Since our business model is based on providing services to camping enthusiasts and RV owners, we're naturally an outdoorsy group of people. We often share pictures of our weekend hiking trips and we always make a point to give positive feedback to team members who have recently completed a big hike or another fitness challenge. 

I have found that small gestures can have as much impact as big ones when encouraging wellness in a hybrid setting. It's harder to plan big, but it's easy to ask a coworker to join you for a walk after work.”

— Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass Texas Campgrounds

8. Make Mental Health a Top Health Consideration

“With all that we experienced last year, companies have become more than just one's employer but an advocate for their employees' health and well-being. Aside from physical health, mental health is also one of the most significant considerations today. Holding virtual and in-person activities, having an open culture, scheduling regular breaks, and holding more intentional collaborations will help keep wellness at the highest standard.

Managing a hybrid workplace involves flexibility and trust. For flexibility to happen, you must be open to adopting new technologies, new policies and work processes, and becoming comfortable mixing up in-person and online communication. For flexibility to work, you must trust that your employees will do their job, with their given options, by setting clear expectations.”

— Joan Alavedra, co-founder of

9. Never Assume All is Well

“While remote work has created so many wonderful opportunities for people to set their own schedule and save time commuting, many people have expressed feelings of isolation. When it comes to sustaining a healthy hybrid/remote work model for employees, you should aim to keep your team connected and involved. Check up on your employees — how are they really doing? Don’t just assume everything is going well.

Flexibility is a value that you should incorporate if you haven’t already. Be flexible in your work model in regard to what’s best for your employees, be flexible in the possibility of changing your model, and be flexible in catering to your employees’ needs. Each person is different and each person’s opinion is equally valuable.”

— Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Austin Lawn Care

10. Create an Open Dialogue

“Have consistent check-ins with your employees and encourage open and honest dialogue. Allow (and encourage) breaks during remote work. Make sure your employees do not feel like they have to be stuck to their computers 24/7 and instead actually take care of their mental well-being while working. Include your employees in your decision-making when it comes to making any adjustments to your workplace model. They should always have a say!”

— Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review

11. Be Open to Different Wellness Approaches

“At my company, we’ve embraced remote-friendly initiatives like step challenges. We’ve also experimented with meditation challenges using a free app. Working from home can often bring about a different kind of stress than office work, so adding meditation and mindfulness to your wellness plan can benefit employees tremendously.

Try different approaches to reach different employees. Don’t pressure employees to try every single wellness challenge, but encourage them to try at least one. It’s a good way of helping people figure out what healthy habits they can embrace for the long term.”

— Daivat Dholakia, director of operations at Force by Mojio

12. Be Flexible and Offer Resources

 “Since every employee has a unique work-from-home setup, wellness programs and initiatives need to be flexible.

Our goal as a company is to provide the resources to employees to stay healthy, and let them decide if they want to use them. We sponsor yearly subscriptions to a wellness app of the employee's choice. Some of the most popular apps employees choose to use are MyFitnessPal, which tracks calorie intake and improves eating habits; another popular app is Elevate, which gives employees access to cognitive activities that improve brain health; since many employees are into meditation, some also choose to use Meditation Studio which has over 250 guided meditations led by experts.

Raise awareness of the wellness programs by using company-wide emails, flyers, posters, or word of mouth. If you sponsor the subscription, employees will be more motivated to sign up and take care of their mental and physical health.”

— Grant Aldrich, CEO of Online Degree

13. Ensure No-Stress Digital Interactions

“Online communication and video conferencing are important tools in the new hybrid work model's toolbox. It's never been easier — or more exhausting — to share information. Digital overload is a real thing after a year of communicating virtually on virtually everything. What are your options? Make online interaction easier, more efficient, and less stressful. Make sure you have enough bandwidth to accommodate everything from small one-on-one meetings to large groupthink brainstorming sessions. Nothing stifles creativity or productivity like an unreliable delivery system.”

— Sandra Saenz, Marketing Manager of The Spanish Group LLC

14. Offer Health and Fitness Programs

“To help keep employees wellness at the forefront, offering health and fitness programs is great. It is an easy program to implement and employees feel well taken care of. Another way is to offer mental health days to team members. The pandemic was a really tough time, so keeping humanity front and center is still important.” 

— Eric Gist, CEO of AwesomeOS

15. Take Time to Listen

“Listen to your employees as everybody is having a hard time. Don't give extra tasks on weekends because they will be using their weekends to recuperate.”

— Robert Johnson, founder of Sawinery

What strategies have you seen work well for keeping wellness in the hybrid work model? Share your suggestions in the comments below!

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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