Kick start your employee wellness plan with these 13 ideas!
Anytime is the perfect time to run with employee wellness program ideas.
Try implementing a new program at the start of a new season or a new month.
An employee wellness plan is an employee benefit that contributes to healthier, happier employees.
When you have an on-going plan to support employees in healthier habits, overall morale and productivity goes up. Try a range of ideas so everyone can get involved!
Start improving your employee wellness plan with these ideas:
Provide healthy snacks for staff
Get a fruit box delivered weekly (or more!) – stop offering sugary snacks – get rid of the unhealthy vending machine! Order healthy lunches instead of muffins, cookies and cakes for staff meetings. Provide a healthy breakfast bar for employees to enjoy.
Implement standing desks
If budget allows for everyone to have height adjustable desks or simply provide a stand up desk option that staff can book. Stand-up desks have many benefits for people, they're a great alternative to sitting all day as standing rather than sitting promotes better blood flow, better posture and therefore less risk of neck and shoulder injuries.
Make it cheaper to keep fit
Contact local gyms or other activity providers to get a corporate special deal based on quantities to encourage your staff to sign up. Notify staff when your local gym is having a special.
Publish a wellness newsletter
Or a health and wellness section to your staff newsletter. You can focus on different topics each issue such as healthy eating, exercise ideas, health risk awareness, easy ways to get active at work and healthy recipes for staff to try!
The latest innovations in wearable health devices take fitness monitoring to new heights. Users can track their steps, physical activity, sleep patterns, heart rate and more – all of which helps motivate staff to stay active. In the workplace, these fit wristbands act as great reminders to get up and move around, particularly important for staff who work at their desks for long stints.
A new challenge and there’s nothing like a dose of healthy competition between departments or regional offices to rev people into action. Encourage staff to enter corporate fitness challenges, a staff wide fun run, 10,000 a day step challenge, local gym challenges or start up a staff sports team. Or organize internal challenges to improve wellness, run a mile a day, get 8 hours sleep or drink 8 glasses of water per day for a month. You can use leader boards and a prize to incentivize staff.
Rethink the office layout
To counter the sedentary effects of a desk job, review your office layout with a view to encouraging staff to move around more. For example, reposition frequently-visited sites – such as the water cooler, stationery cupboard, and printer/scanner to a higher floor, or further down the hall. Repurpose a disused office into a mini gym. Introduce pods of standing desks.
It's important to get input from your employees to see which current initiatives are working well for them. Give them the opportunity to suggest new initiatives, challenges and changes you could make around the office to improve their wellness. It's important to get a pulse check at least every 6 months to see if you're missing anything, you could even incorporate it with your quarterly staff survey.
Daily step challenge
Experts says that 10,000 steps – around five miles - is the recommended daily minimum distance for a healthy active person. A desk-bound person may only average around 2,000 steps a day. To get this employee wellness program idea moving, offer staff free pedometers (or if you’re feeling super generous, a fitness watch) at the start of the year, and challenge them to beat their own Personal Best each month. Help them on their journey by listing the number of steps to the local park, shopping mall, public transport, and taking the stairs. Do bare in mind accessibility for all employees and ensure activities are inclusive.
In the winter months the dreaded flu continues to lurk, putting staff out of action for days. The best way to avoid it is to vaccinate against it. Offer staff on-site flu vaccines, or reimburse them the fee if they’ve already been vaccinated. Prevent cross-contamination by having hand sanitizers freely available, and remind staff about the importance of regular hand washing.
Simple, timely communication
An effective way to provide guidance and influence healthy behavior is via bite-size chunks of information. Timely tips such as ‘Go drink some water’; ‘Stand up and do some stretching’; or ‘Breathe deeply for one minute’ can be all that’s needed to incite action and contribute towards employee wellness.
How you deliver these reminders is just as important. Create an internal communications campaign using these messaging tools, and be able to measure the impact of each employee wellness program idea. Encourage staff with visual reminders to take the stairs, walk to work, remind staff to take a break, check their posture, rest eyes, take the stairs, do some stretches, go for a walk etc. Visual messaging channels – such as desktop alerts, screensavers, desktop wallpaper, and desktop tickers – ensure your wellness communications get noticed.
Don’t skimp on sick leave
If you don’t provide paid sick time, then expect unwell staff to turn up and attempt to work. That means they’ll infect others, who’ll infect even more, and before you know it, you’re faced with a workplace epidemic. Genuinely encourage staff to stay home when they’re unwell. It’s best for everyone. These simple but effective employee wellness program ideas will ensure your team are on track for a healthy, happy and productive year.
Learn more about employee wellness communication