In recent times the world of work has shifted from the office to... well... anywhere.
The flexibility that the hybrid model provides has improved the work-life balance for many. But there are reports of negative effects too.
According to recent research on the impacts of working from home:
- Fifty-six percent of employees found it hard to switch off from work
- Sixty-seven percent felt less connected to their colleagues
- Thirty-nine percent developed musculoskeletal issues
- Thirty-seven percent experienced disturbed sleep
- Forty-six percent exercised less than when they worked in the office
It’s clear hybrid workers face certain challenges, and as such, need support. But how can you improve the wellbeing of a workforce that you don’t see day-to-day?
In this article, we’ll take a look at five wellbeing exercises and activities for hybrid workers.
1. The five senses exercise
Let’s start with something simple - a ‘Five Senses’ exercise.
This only takes a few minutes, which means it’s great for those who don’t have the time to engage in traditional meditation.
Essentially, it’s a grounding exercise. It enables people to engage their senses one at a time by noting the following:
- Five things they can see
- Four things they can feel
- Three things they can hear
- Two things they can smell
- One thing they can taste
Set aside time in your team’s schedule for this simple activity. Stress and anxiety will be easier to manage when they have time to reset and recharge.
2. Gratitude wall
Gratitude is an essential quality in life and business. After all, studies show that gratitude makes you happier, healthier and more able to deal with stress. It makes sense - reflecting on what you’re grateful for helps put your worries in perspective. It also makes you feel more positive as you’re focused on the good experiences in your life.
The impacts of gratitude go beyond the individual, however. Scientific research shows that it encourages people to help others, be kind, and strengthen relationships. As a result, it may improve workplace climates.
A gratitude wall is a visual way for employees to express gratitude. Usually, a portable chalkboard or whiteboard allows employees to think about why they’re thankful. But in the hybrid working world, consider a dedicated channel on your messaging platform instead. It will give everyone the chance to express their gratitude, no matter where they are.
3. Wellness Wednesday
It's easy to neglect simple self-care when you're rushing to meet deadlines and targets. Drink water, exercise, get some fresh air—sometimes people forget to do the basic things they need to keep both mind and body healthy.
Wellness Wednesday began as a social media hashtag and is now promoted globally. And among dispersed workforces, it’s becoming increasingly popular, as it’s a great way for employers to promote self-care from a distance.
Implementing a Wellness Wednesday is simple. You can email your staff a wellness newsletter with self-care tips. Some organisations even create wellness series, concentrating on one aspect of health over many weeks. Heart health, for example, can be improved with exercise and a good diet. You could create a series on mental health to let your employees unwind and to remind them there are resources if they need help.
4. Group fitness
We all need to exercise to stay fit and healthy. But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise boosts energy, improves mood, and promotes better sleep. It also gives people the opportunity to be more social.
And yet, those working from home are less likely to exercise than their office-bound counterparts. They’re also not on-site and thus less able to engage in team sports.
Therefore, a more novel approach is necessary in this new hybrid working world. You must also consider the wellbeing of everyone in your organisation, not just the young and non-disabled.
Holding fitness sessions via video conferencing will allow everyone, regardless of location, to attend. This will help them pursue better physical health, while giving your remote employees that dose of social interaction they desperately need.
Remember to keep it inclusive. Chair-based pilates, for instance, might be a good option for your teams. But if you’re unsure about what classes would be appropriate for your employees, a good health and wellbeing app can provide the answers you need.
5. Mindfulness meditation
'It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,' - Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre
Everyone knows that meditation is beneficial for reducing stress. But, how do you clear your mind when you have so much to think about? There’s also the fact that traditional meditation requires a quiet environment, and not all of your hybrid employees will have this available to them.
Mindfulness meditation takes a different approach. We can become more aware of the present moment, our emotions, and signs of anxiety and distress.
Here are a few mindfulness exercises you can encourage your employees to take part in:
- Body scan meditation focuses on each part of the body in order to identify associated emotions and sensations.
- Slow walking meditation requires just 10-20 feet of space, and encourages awareness of physical sensations.
- Sitting meditation encourages focused breathing.
That said, it’s hard to know when to stop, think, and breathe. A health and wellbeing app like Symbio gives employees personalised insights into their mental health, lifestyle, and sleep performance, as well as engaging content on mindfulness written by HealthHero specialists. So not only will they be able to recognise when they need to be more mindful, but they’ll also know how to achieve it.
Find the right wellbeing exercises for your employees
The hybrid model comes with a plethora of benefits. But unfortunately, it can make some employees neglect aspects of their wellbeing. And it’s difficult for employers to recognise the signs when they’re off-site (and out of sight).
Our five wellbeing exercises and activities will help you better tend to the physical and mental health needs of your hybrid organisation. But for a holistic approach, consider Symbio. This health and wellbeing app combines specialist content, personalised recommendations, and employee assistance programs for preventative and incidental care. It’ll also provide you with data-driven insights, so you can better address the wellbeing of your entire workforce, wherever they are.