• Employees are returning to workplaces that have changed forever
  • Workplace wellness programmes must adapt to complement hybrid working patterns
  • Care must be taken to ensure no one is left behind

With employees returning to workplaces that have changed forever, ‘hybrid working’ is becoming established. While managing staff splitting their time between home and the office, employers also need to ensure their corporate wellbeing programmes are fit for purpose.

Gympass, the world-leading corporate wellness platform, spoke to one of its corporate partners, Thames Water, to gain insight on how to shape hybrid wellness solutions to suit hybrid workforces.

Mind the gap

Hybrid working can create a ‘them and us’ mentality where people at the office have more connection, support and services. To bridge the gap between those working from home and those in the office, it’s important to ensure wellness services are accessible both in-person and online to ensure no one is left behind.

“Not seeing people day to day or being able to interact regularly with your team face-to-face is challenging,” agrees Aimee Cain, Occupational Health & Wellbeing Manager, Thames Water. “Necessity required us to create our hybrid working model quickly, but we prioritised wellbeing within there, as we had throughout the pandemic. We are fortunate to be with Gympass as our staff can access its remote health and wellbeing service with mental health and musculoskeletal health being in high demand.”

Clear communication

Communication can be a major challenge around hybrid working, making it harder for managers and colleagues to recognise any changes to wellbeing among their team.

Thames Water implements regular communications to keep wellbeing top-of-mind and talked about.

“We make a point of showing clearly how hybrid and remote working can impact on people’s health, wellbeing, social relationships and work performance,” says Aimee. “In this way, we aim to help colleagues recognise their wellbeing as integral to their work, not just a ‘nice to have’ if they’ve got time.”

Hybrid wellbeing for hybrid working

It’s important to offer both on-site and online wellness options so that colleagues working at the office and those at home have equal access to services that will support what they need, where they need it.

Aimee says Gympass as a key element of fulfilling hybrid wellbeing services at Thames Water. “Gympass has always been able to provide us with wellbeing resources for all our staff regardless of where they are working,” she says. “During the pandemic they moved quickly to offer a wealth of digital options. These, coupled with the on-site facilities offered by their facilities partners, means the platform is particularly well suited to hybrid working as it allows people to choose between online and in-person activities.”

Lead by example

“As a health and wellbeing manager I actively practice healthy eating and make time for physical activity to achieve a healthy work life balance,” says Aimee. “It’s crucial for managers and leaders to set the best example – not only to encourage staff but also to show that taking time for exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating is acceptable within the workplace.”

Looking ahead

“Hybrid workforces are here to stay, but so too is the significantly raised awareness among employers about the importance of staff wellbeing that came to light during lockdown,” says Luke Bullen, Gympass CEO UK/IE. “Hybrid working patterns will continue to evolve as people settle into their new routines. In the same way we responded quickly to offer many more digital wellness options during the pandemic, we are now ensuring a full complement of in-person and online options. This will ensure we answer the needs of employees whether they are working from home, at the office or combining the two.”

Aimee feels that during the pandemic employees were able to generate a better work life balance and believes employers have an opportunity to continue supporting positive health and lifestyle changes. “People now have more flexibility and autonomy around their working life,” says Aimee. “By adapting our working model to include more of a hybrid worker, we are allowing people to choose to work in a way that is most beneficial for them to suit their specific health and social needs.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.