As the landscape of work has changed at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), wellness has adapted to meet employees where they are at.
In 2020, the majority of the company’s employees began to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift in work location became permanent for many as BCBSNE transitioned to a flexible work environment with in-office, remote and hybrid work models available.
Carrie Kahnk, wellness coordinator at BCBSNE, experienced the shift between pre- and post-COVID-19 wellness offerings at BCBSNE.
“Before we [BCBSNE employees] went home, we tracked everything on paper, and there were many in-person wellness events,” says Kahnk. “Now that we are working in a hybrid model, we have had to move a lot of our content online.”
BCBSNE’s wellness program, Be Well at Blue, has a variety of assets designed to help employees attain their goals. The addition of online content has allowed for wellness to extend beyond BCBSNE’s office, which features a gym available to employees 24/7.
Wellbeats, an app with at-home workouts and tracking capabilities, is one such asset that has expanded how wellness can be experienced by employees at home.
“The app helps track engagement and gives us a sense of what people want from the Wellness team,” Kahnk says. “It’s been fun to work with the app and see everyone meet their own individual goals.”
Wellbeats has quickly become a favorite tool for employees as well.
“Wellbeats has been a great tool for me,” Melissa Young, clinical operations program manager at BCBSNE, says. “I have utilized the app for online mindfulness and aerobic classes. It’s another great way to exercise.”
Other platforms, such as Vitality, have also become more favorable in the hybrid work model. Vitality uses a points-based system where users are awarded points for completing activities and tracking workouts. By keeping up wellness outside of office hours, employees have found joy in pursuing their goals.
“Vitality is like a game,” Young says. “I am trying to earn as many points as I possibly can throughout the year. The ultimate reward of all this work and effort has been seeing my Vitality age [which is calculated by an online assessment measuring how healthy you are] be lower than my actual birth age. It has reinforced the work and choices I am making daily are having a positive impact on both my physical and mental health.”
The virtual aspect of the wellness program at BCBSNE has allowed for more inclusivity and for those who work exclusively at home to participate in wellness events.
“We can bring in more good speakers now that we have the virtual side of wellness; it allows for those who can’t come into the office to experience things that were not available before,” says Kahnk.
With the hybrid schedule at BCBSNE, Kahnk and the rest of the Wellness team are working to bring back the activities and events that people miss the most, such as group fitness classes.
“Overall, BCBSNE’s wellness program has changed, but its mission has not,” Kahnk says. “The Wellness team is still dedicated to meeting people where they are at and providing employees with the best experience possible.”
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