In a seemingly ever-changing work environment, one aspect that appears to be constant is employee wellness programs. While corporate wellness programs are not a new concept, they haven’t always been an $8 billion industry. But with increasing health care costs, higher employee turnover, and mental health challenges on the rise, one way employers are responding is by investing in wellness.
So, while employee wellness programs are a great way to improve the wellbeing of your employees, it can also help save companies money in the long run. Ultimately, an effective wellness program can be a win/win for employers and employees alike.
Here are 12 employee wellness ideas to help get you started.
Physical Employee Wellness Ideas
1. Step Contests
Step contests are simple, low-to-no cost, and a great way to encourage movement. You could have people or teams use their fitness tracker, like a FitBit or Apple Watch, to count their steps. Or, to be more inclusive, you could choose to track time spent walking instead of actual steps.
Because step contests are generally accessible to everyone, they have an added bonus of setting an example. Managers can schedule walking meetings rather than conference room meetings. Leaders can encourage their teams to get up and walk once an hour. When employees see their leaders embracing wellness initiatives, they’re more likely to partake.
2. Offer Healthy Foods in the Café
If your office has a cafeteria, be sure to offer healthy food options. This doesn’t mean only healthy food, but it’s hard to truly demonstrate a wellness culture if all the food options are packaged and processed.
If your office doesn’t have a cafeteria, consider a weekly or monthly healthy team lunch. This could be offsite or delivered to the office. Either way, this is a great way to show appreciation while supporting a wellness initiative.
3. Offer a Wellness Stipend
With more and more employees working virtually, it’s not always easy to include them in your wellness program. But because wellness stipends are taxable benefits paid to employees to help cover wellness expenses, this offering can benefit everyone.
In addition to other virtual employee wellness programs, offering a wellness stipend allows remote workers to engage with your program, while offering flexibility for everyone on the team.
4. Start an Office Sports Team
Whether it’s a golf league, softball team, or an ultimate frisbee squad, a corporate sponsored sports team is a fun way to keep people active. Sports are also a great way to foster camaraderie and boost morale. It can also help encourage peer-to-peer recognition both on and off the field.
Ask your employees if there’s any interest in starting a sports team and see which sports generate the most excitement. There’s likely a local organization associated with whichever sport they choose. Give them a call to see ow to get started.
Mental/Emotional Employee Wellness Ideas
1. Offer Mental Health Apps
Meditation and mindfulness practices have been claiming to improve people’s mental state for thousands of years. But now there’s research to back it up. In fact, one study even found meditation to be as effective as depression and anxiety medication.
Many meditation and mindfulness apps, like Calm and Headspace, now offer corporate packages. They’ve specifically designed programs to help improve mental wellness in the workplace so why not give it a try?
2. Start an Employee Recognition Program
Studies have linked effective employee recognition with happier workers. In fact, one survey found that 82% of employees are happier when they’re recognized at work. So, starting an employee recognition program may be a simple way to improve employees’ mental wellness.
The Terryberry 360 Recognition Platform offers a comprehensive solution that can host your recognition efforts, including milestone and service awards, peer-to-peer social recognition, feedback and communication, and performance and incentive rewards.
RELATED: 10 Employee Recognition Ideas
3. Offer Flexible Working Hours/Remote Work
If there’s one thing the pandemic showed employers, it’s that requiring everyone to be in the office from 8am to 5pm every day, may not be necessary. In fact, allowing employees a bit more freedom in their schedule can actually contribute to more efficient work and happier employees.
One reason for this is because employees rarely, if ever, have an 8-hour block of productivity. More often, productivity comes in shorter bursts throughout the day. In fact, one study found remote work was just as productive as working in an office, and possibly even more productive. So, if you can, try instilling some trust in your employees and offer flexible hours and remote options.
4. Get Out of the Office
To help workers see each other as whole human beings rather than just coworkers, plan events outside of the office. The intention here is to spend time together specifically in a non work-related setting.
Try an escape room, a picnic, or visit an arcade. Whatever the activity, the point is to create and strengthen genuine connections. This helps workers feel engaged and appreciated, which leads to better mental and emotional wellness in the office.
Financial Employee Wellness Ideas
1. Bring in Financial Speakers
Don’t forget that financial troubles can be closely tied to your employees’ mental wellness. So, by encouraging finance-positive activities, you may also be helping to improve emotional wellbeing.
Try bringing in a financial expert to lead a discussion around finance foundations or a tax expert near tax time. This could be a good way to gauge employee interest in this area.
2. Incorporate Finance-Related Challenges into Your Program
Consider simple challenges like bringing lunch for a week or setting a monthly budget. Depending on your area, maybe a challenge focused on walking or biking instead of driving could work. This could even double as a fitness challenge too.
3. Offer Employee Discounts
Sometimes local businesses or attractions will offer a corporate discount. This could be an opportunity to partner and offer a discount to your team.
Consider gyms, parks, zoos, concerts, sporting events, and more. It may seem small, but for a family on a budget, you could be making a night out together more accessible than before.
4. Offer Financial Consulting
If you can, offer free one-on-one meetings with financial consultants. Given the sensitive nature of personal finances, your employees may gravitate to this more private option.
This can be a great way to get employees set up for financial success specific to their needs.
When brainstorming employee wellness ideas for your company, be sure to consider what your team is most interested in - without relevant initiatives, your efforts will fall on deaf ears. But done right, and you team will be more engaged, happier, and healthier than ever.
If you’re looking for a platform that supports all types of employee recognition and wellness, check out the Terryberry 360 Platform. We’re ready to help you make sure all your employees feel appreciated and valued! Contact us to get started today.