Employee wellness programs have become a staple in many companies as a way to attract top talent, keep them happy and productive, and decrease employee turnover.
In fact, 80% of employees at companies with robust health and wellness programs at work feel engaged and cared for by their employers.
The key to having a successful wellness program at work is encouraging overall wellbeing while still keeping it fun. If you can’t get your team engaged then your wellness program ideas will quickly lose steam. So make your initiatives fun, try new ideas and see what your team values the most.
Below is a list of 121 employee wellness program ideas that you can easily implement at your office.
This list of wellness activities & ideas are the ones we’ve used ourselves and have seen the benefits firsthand. Many others were contributed to us from awesome companies that know how to take care of their teams.
Once you’ve gone through our list, you can get employee wellness ideas from The Assist — a free weekly email for professionals full of actionable workplace culture, productivity, and leadership inspo.
I really enjoy getting this email blast every week—it’s seriously a breath of fresh air. In the few weeks that I’ve been receiving The Assist, I’ve already gotten several very practical tips that have helped me in the day-to-day with our employees. -Madelyn K., The Assist Subscriber
Here’s a quick list of employee wellness program ideas voted on by our readers.
|Wellness Program Ideas Your Team Will Love|
|2||🧘🏽 Gift A Wellness Experience|
Whether you’re a small startup or large corporation, there’s bound to be something here that will fit your organization.
Browse by Category: Click any of the links below to jump to each category.
Nutrition and Healthy Living
Group Activities and Fitness Hacks
Fun Fitness Challenges, Competitions, and Contests
Cool Perks and Just For Fun
Mental Health and Personal Growth
1. Encourage wellness initiatives through your recognition and rewards program
When someone takes part in Bike to Work Day, you can tell by the grease marks on their calves and helmet on their desk. But how do you scale and reward your wellness initiatives as your company grows? Bonusly’s claimable awards incentivize healthy behaviors that contribute to a strong workplace, whether it’s Bike to Work Day, flu shots, a company step challenge, or your team’s vegetarian chili cook-off.
You can also create custom wellness rewards using Bonusly to showcase your company’s culture and add some fun to your corporate wellness initiatives!
2. Celebrate a big win with a redeemable gift program
Whether your employee closes a big sale, finishes a demanding project, or reaches a quarterly goal — these workplace events are an excellent time to celebrate success, recognize employees for their contribution, and promote overall employee wellness.
However, it can be difficult to find the right gift that is just personalized enough while still easy enough to order, wrap, and present to them. You can take out the guesswork by encouraging employees to select a gift on behalf of the team with a redeemable gift program!
Simply award the redeemable points and let your big winner choose whatever option is right for them. Whether that is something off their Amazon wishlist, a dinner certificate at a local restaurant, or a new experience for them to try out — the rewards are endless.
Plus, you can even add customized rewards, such as a bonus day off work, lunch with the CEO, or team swag!
3. Encourage employees to try something new
There’s no better way to promote employee wellness than to give them the power to choose how they want to destress.
You can give your employees free time to practice hobbies or skills that they may be too busy with during their typical work week.
You can also consider giving your employees an experience that they’ve always wanted by working with a company like Blueboard. They make it easy for companies to celebrate their employees at scale with a menu of hand-curated experiential in-home or out-in-the-world rewards to suit anyone’s specific needs, wants, and comforts. Blueboard is trusted by Salesforce, GoPro, Glassdoor, and other leading enterprise companies with over 500 employees around the world.
Working in tandem with your company’s rewards program, adding a wellness benefit can have a positive impact on your employees when they get back to work after their new experience.
Be it simple or luxurious, giving your co-workers an unforgettable Blueboard experience is a great way to reward them for their hard work and promote employee wellness.
4. Survey your employees to find out what is working and what is not
Don’t waste time and energy on corporate wellness initiatives that employees don’t find engaging or beneficial. Use an online collaboration tool to create a survey and collect valuable feedback from employees. Knowing how they feel can help deliver employee wellness insights that will make changes easier to implement.
Whether you set up 1:1 meetings or send out a short questionnaire to your team, soliciting employee feedback is an easy and effective strategy to determine where your time is best spent. There are so many different ways to approach an employee wellness program, sometimes the best ideas come from the people who matter most.
5. Zen out at your next team building activity
Oftentimes a team building activity can be a fast-paced and exciting hour of fun, teamwork, and decision-making. However, sometimes you want all the benefits of team bonding without all the hoopla.
SnackNation recently tried out the Tea & Mindfulness Experience which expertly combines workplace wellness with team building camaraderie.
In this activity you will:
- Learn to brew and taste 3-6 globally sourced loose leaf and flowering teas
- Experience a guided mindful eating exercise
- Participate in a goal-setting meditation
To learn more, get in touch with the team at Unboxed Experiences!
Pro-Tip: Unboxed Experiences supports causes that promote mental health by donating fees from its Tea & Mindfulness Experience including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a leading nonprofit advocacy group for individuals affected by mental illness.
6. Celebrate “Wellness Wednesday”
Dedicate hump day to try out any of the ideas on this list. This wellness Wednesday idea is a great tactic if you have an office that is set in their ways or otherwise resistant to change. One day a week seems much more manageable (and less overwhelming), and can be a gateway to healthier lifestyles.
Wellness Wednesday is a great idea because it’s in the middle of the week when employees usually experience a bit of a lull. (Plus, alliteration!)
Creating wellness challenges and recognizing each person’s contribution to Wellness Wednesday can be a tall order. With an employee recognition platform like Nectar — you can add individual and team challenges to help manage and scale this type of initiative. Nectar’s program promotes engagement and automatically delivers rewards to participants in a social way for everyone to see.
7. Order in lunch for the office, especially during crunch time on big projects
Reward your team for putting in the extra hours by ordering in lunch for them. Stick to something healthy of course – salads, wraps, Mediterranean, or a taco-salad bar or all good options. Sending your employees fresh morning coffee, virtual lunches, happy-hour drinks, wellness gifts, or just about anything you can think of will help support them during a stressful day on the job.
8. Hand out weekly awards
Create fun awards like “The Duct Tape Award” (the person in the office who fixes everything). “The Pearly White Award” (the person who smiles the most), or “The Cliff Jumper Award” (the person who takes the most risk).
You can even award that week’s recipients with a little bonus gift using a tool like Kazoo where colleagues can easily comment and reward the winners via an updated recognition feed.
9. Provide your employees with a nutrition and healthy living budget
One way to encourage your employees to live healthier lives is to provide a budget for nutrition and healthy living. You can use your healthy living budget to cover the costs of healthy foods, gym memberships, fitness classes, and other wellness-related expenses. Employees can use this budget to improve their own health and well-being, and your company will benefit from having a healthier workforce.
10. Host a week/month-long corporate wellness event led by world-class experts
Wellable is a corporate wellness technology platform that offers a wide range of on-site and virtual services to promote healthy living. Organizations can create programs designed to help employees thrive with modules and activities that reward employees to maximize engagement. This results in a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce that leads to greater business success. Wellable works with employers and health plans of all sizes across the world, with active users in more than 23 different countries.
Here are a few examples of the corporate wellness services that can be customized for your company:
- Educational Presentations – interactive educational presentations are designed to connect with attendees and instill lasting healthy habits
- Fitness Classes – a wide variety of physical and mental fitness classes designed to motivate movement and support healthy lifestyles
- Health Coaching – programs designed to guide and motivate participants to become advocates for their own health
- Health Fairs – a great opportunity for employees to learn about the different health and wellness benefits that are available to them
- Specialty Services – includes acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, massage therapy, and food demonstrations
- Screenings – provide employees with individualized information about a specific part of their well-being
- Information Tables – staffed by trained subject matter experts and include take-home handouts and other items to facilitate learning on the associated topic
- Consulting – Wellable works with you to understand culture, goals, and initiatives to help build a program that creates an exceptional wellness experience
Request a quick demo of Wellable to see how it can help bring your vision of a perfect corporate wellness program to life.
11. Improve employee wellness with shared laughter, releasing endorphins and creating connection!
It’s not just a catch-phrase anymore, there are scientific studies proving that laughter truly is great medicine. Cardiologist Michael Miller quoted here from the New York Times, “Having a good sense of humor is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety during these turbulent times.”
The dedicated team at Laughter On Call creates connection and relieves stress through shared laughter. Using key tools from both Improv comedy and Stand Up, Laughter On Call’s approach encourages people – through games and exercises – to express themselves authentically, free their imagination, and feel genuine human connection.
12. Stop offering low quality snacks
If you offer your team snacks or meals with no nutritional value, make the switch to healthier alternatives. At the very least provide a majority of healthy items for your office and just a few traditional junk food items.
Pro-Tip: From curation to fulfilling and kitting, Caroo makes it easy to send healthy and delicious snacks to your employees – even when they are working remotely.
Bonus: Offer standing desks
Varidesk offers adjustable-height standing desks that allow users to easily switch between standing and sitting while working. The switching aspect is key to getting optimal health benefits from a standing desk because it’s not healthy for people to remain in any one fixed position—sitting or standing—for too long. Give employees timers along with their standing desks so they can be sure to switch their positions throughout the day.
13. Visit a local farmer’s market for lunch
Offer to pay for all organic produce employees decide to purchase.
Here’s how to make it happen:
- Find a Farmers’ Market near you.
- Figure out how to coordinate transportation to and from, if the market is not within walking distance of your office. (Luckily, there are so many convenient ways to get around these days. Get volunteer drivers, rent bikes or scooters, or simply book a ride share.)
- Set the date and send your invitations.
14. Community Supported Agriculture
A lot of larger farms offer community-supported agriculture programs where you invest in their farm, and they bring you fresh produce weekly. National wellness service provider TotalWellness actually does this for their employees, and if you get enough people from your company signed up they might deliver right to your office. It’s a convenient way to get some fresh, healthy food in your fridge while supporting local farmers.Employee Wellness Idea #14 - Community Supported Agriculture Click To Tweet
15. Promote and reward healthy eating habits
Proper eating is an essential part of overall wellness, but this is often difficult to address in the workplace. This is especially true when routines are disturbed like during the pandemic when employees are no longer in the office or just returning to it.
Employers can help by creating a nutrition challenge that rewards employees for taking steps to build healthier eating habits. Logging meals, attending nutrition seminars and webinars, sharing your favorite snacks with colleagues are ways in which employees can participate in a company wellness challenge.
The folks at Caroo specialize in healthy and delicious snacks which they pack in curated employee care packages that can be sent to the office or straight to your employee’s doorstep. It really is a great option to start off a nutrition program with your entire team stocked up on high quality, non-junk food snacks.
Fill out this 60-second quiz to get personalized results for your snacking needs.
16. Hold a health fair
Invite local vendors and companies to your office for a day to talk about nutrition and fun wellness activities at work. You should have no problem at all persuading local businesses to attend, as it’s a great way for them to promote their service.
Planning a health fair comes with a lot of work and a lot of steps. If you’re not sure how to get started, then check out our step-by-step health fair planning guide.
17. Squat till you drop
Squats are one of the most effective exercises for overall health and fitness. They are great for fat loss as well as muscle building. But the question is, how can employers incorporate squats into their workplace fitness programs?
Vantage Fit, an AI-powered corporate wellness platform, allows employers to include squats into their wellness challenges with its in-app squat recognition feature. It uses AI to track users’ movements while squatting to ensure that they perform the exercise correctly.
Apple recently handpicked this corporate wellness solution for their Accelerator Program. They loved the easy-to-use mobile app that includes useful features such as a heart-rate monitor, step tracker, mood tracker, calorie tracker & virtual mindfulness sessions.
Also, with Vantage Fit, there is the added benefit of incentivization with its point-based reward system. So every time an employee completes a task, they can win points that employees can later redeem for gift cards from an exhaustive list of global brands.
18. Assess Your Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the science of designing work tasks (and work spaces) in a way that limits stress on the human body. For office workers, this means things like keyboards designed to minimize the risk of repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel, screens that minimize eye strain, and chairs that minimize back pain. This assessment tool can help point you in the right direction to create wellness at work.
Bonus: Incentivize smoking cessation
In a study conducted by The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School, employees who were financially incentivized to quit smoking were 3 times more successful at ditching the habit than non-incentivized employees.
19. Help combat eye strain
Staring at a computer for hours on end can take a toll on your vision. The blurred edges of computerized typeface force your eye to constantly focus in and out for hours on end, which can lead to headaches and fatigue.
Here are a few of our favorite tools to help prevent eye strain.
- Flux adapts the color of your screen to the time of day.
- Time Out reminds you when to take a break.
- Pangobright is a free utility for Windows that dims the light on your screen according to your preference.
20. Remind people to get flu shots
Post a list of locations near your office offering flu shots on the company bulletin board.
21. Reward your team with on-site chair massage
Could your team use a boost in energy, relaxation, or even posture? Bring them back to life with in-office chair massage! Proven to reduce workplace stress by up to 85%, massage’s many benefits also include blood pressure reduction, improved sleep quality, and increased productivity. Regular chair massage is a surefire way to enhance performance by reducing stress and increasing focus and relaxation.
Bringing chair massage to your office is easy with Zeel@Work. Using their self-serve portal, you can book any time, for any size team – as soon as same day! Zeel coordinates with a vetted, licensed massage therapist to travel to your location, massage chair in tow. You just provide the space!
22. Go Meatless on Monday
The average American eats 102.5 pounds each year, more than almost any country on the planet. But all this meat is bad news. Our meat-heavy diets have been linked to autoimmune and inflammatory disease, cancer, and heart disease. Make a dent in our meat addiction by encouraging your team to go meat-free at the beginning of the week.
23. Create a healthy office cookbook
Ask employees to share their favorite healthy recipes. Compile the best ones into a collection and share around the office via a downloadable document in email or a simple printed booklet.
24. Reduce your employees’ prescription drug costs with this FREE benefit
Out-of-pocket drug costs increased nearly 30% between 2010 and 2018. Even with good insurance, average copays now range from $12 to $57.* This can result in significant costs for your employees.
The solution many HR managers are turning to is GoodRx.
GoodRx is the #1 drug discount company in the country and has saved Americans over $15 billion. For example, while $15 and $20 copays are common with insurance plans, thousands of drugs are under $10 with GoodRx. Many are $5 or less! GoodRx is accepted at 70,000+ pharmacies and is 100% FREE to employers and employees. Plus, there are no deductibles, pre-authorizations or drug-tiers — just great prices on the prescription drugs your employees need to stay healthy.
*Takeda Reports 2016, 2017 & 2018
Bonus: Hook your team up with a Bevi
Bevi is a smart water cooler that dispenses refreshing still, sparkling, and flavored water that your team will love. This futuristic hydration station provides a healthier alternative to sugar-laden sodas, while reducing your team’s plastic footprint.
It’s a popular fixture of the SnackNation kitchen – and it just looks cool.
Bonus: Host Mindful Mondays (or any other day of the week)
Stress drains employees of health and wellness, making energy levels drop and bad moods skyrocket. Unfortunately, most workers experience damaging levels of stress that affect their work and home lives. According to an American Institute of Stress report,
- 80% of workers experience stress at work
- Almost 50% of workers would like help managing stress
- 42% of workers believe their co-workers also need help managing stress
A simple mindfulness program could give employees the tools they need to manage all this stress. A mindfulness practice involves focused awareness and acceptance of the present. It helps people pull away from thoughts of the past and the future, which is where we find most of the fear and doubt that produces stress.
Try bringing everyone together once a week for a mindfulness session. Simply pile into a conference room, turn on a guided meditation, and voila—you’ve got a Mindful Monday!
Bonus: Start a stress circle
The American Psychological Association recommends social support for people looking to effectively manage stress. Anyone who’s ever experienced the joys of venting will understand why; when you talk about stress with others, you benefit from the listener’s outside ideas, perspectives, and solutions you couldn’t see because, well, you were too stressed out. Talking about your stress also helps process the underlying feelings causing your anxiety.
Organize a recurring weekly stress circle employees can attend if they want to talk about anything. Set safe-zone rules so everyone can feel comfortable talking about anything without facing judgment or appearing incompetent. (Everyone should feel comfortable admitting their struggles without facing special treatment from teammates.)
During the stress circle, each employee gets a turn to talk while everyone else listens and offers thoughtful constructive comments. If your stress circle gets too big, split into small groups so everyone’s stress gets the proper attention. If possible, try and separate managers and their direct reports. You want your team to be able to speak freely without fear of reprisal.
25. Join a local sports league
Google softball, kickball, basketball, or indoor soccer league in your city to see which organizations offer co-ed sports leagues. Offer to pay for some or all of the league’s entrance fee for people interested in participating.
26. On-site yoga classes to relieve stress
Invite a yoga instructor into your office every couple of weeks to guide the team through a yoga class.
27. Participate in a 5K run
Find a 5K in your community and offer to cover entry fee for anyone who chooses to participate.
You can also start a regular running group so participants can get into race shape before the event. (In addition to boosting your race time, a running group also provides priceless bonding.
Make the event even more fulfilling by finding a 5K with a cause or a theme you love. These sites will help you find a 5K that gets everyone excited:
28. Turn meetings into walking meetings
You sit all day, so why not make your meetings a walking meeting instead? Research has suggested that walking makes people more creative.Employee Wellness Idea #28 - Turn your meetings into walking meetings Click To Tweet
That’s right! Stanford researchers uncovered a compelling correlation between walking and creativity.
The news gets even better:
- You can walk both inside and outside. The location of the walk didn’t seem to impact the creative process. So you can have your walking meeting right in the office!
- Walking can improve the ideas you have during your walking meeting and for a short time after the walk as well.
So follow in the footsteps of famous walking creatives such as Charles Dickens, Steve Jobs, and John Muir with walking meetings. Just be sure to tell your participants ahead of time!
29. Put some scooters in the office
Scooters encourage people to move around the office. And let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw someone ride a scooter with a frown?
30. Post a note near the elevator reminding people to take the stairs instead
Photo belongs to Ludovic Bertron via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
31. Keep some footballs, hula hoops, and volleyballs around the office
Make the office fun and encourage people to take a break and rejuvenate.
Bonus: Offer discounts to a local gym
Many gyms will offer a discount if you sign-up enough employees. Reach out to some local gyms in the area and ask for discounted group rates.
Bonus: Hand out workout “passes”
Help employees stay happy and healthy by giving them a free hour to work out. Create workout “passes” employees can use when they want to come into work an hour late or leave an hour early to squeeze quality workouts into their hectic days. The passes can be valid for one day a week or one day a month, depending on the demands of your office. (You can even work with your Human Resources team to create some official policies if that’s something your company leadership appreciates.)
For many employees, this little kick of flexibility could be just what they need to get more exercise, and in turn, feel better every day.
32. Team scavenger hunt
Adventures like Wild Goose Chase or The Amazing Chase can help you do the heavy lifting of coordinating a scavenger hunt. They even have a virtual team building version of their game that is designed to bring remote teams together and drive employee engagement.
If you’re thrilled to plan the scavenger hunt yourself, then check out SnackNation’s essential how-to guide for creating in-person scavenger hunts. Also, if you are working on a remote or distributed team, this list of virtual scavenger hunt ideas can help you plan an online experience for you and your colleagues to enjoy!
33. Hold a fitness challenge
Corporate wellness company Headspace created a custom fitness challenge using Bonusly to institute a daily wall sit challenge where employees increase the duration of their wall sits by 10 seconds each day, going until the last person remains standing. This serves as a fun fitness challenge idea that gets the whole office involved, and is a great way to get the competitive juices flowing! Bonusly allows its members to create fully customizable challenges with topics that are relevant to their personal interests/needs – popular themes include optimal nutrition, stress reduction, weight management, financial wellbeing, resilience, sleep improvement, safety, tobacco cessation, and social causes… but the possibilities are endless!
(Here are some additional ways to create a killer office fitness challenge in 4 weeks or less)
34. Host an employee field day
Harmless Harvest, makers of raw coconut water and tea, have combined team building activities with workplace wellness by hosting employee field days followed by dinner. Their team heads to a local park in the afternoon for a game of tennis, catch, soccer, frisbee, or whatever else people feel like doing (even if it’s just getting some sun on a nice day). Afterwards they have a healthy dinner by grilling out at the park or heading to a co-founder’s house.Employee Wellness Idea #34 - Host an employee field day Click To Tweet
35. Subsidize wearable technology that helps employees track their activity
Wearable technologies like FitBit can help people monitor their fitness levels, track their sleep, and challenge friends who also have the device. The good people at 3 Birds Marketing take part in “Workweek Hustle” challenges where members of the team with FitBits try to out-step each other.
36. The Mile-A-Day Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they ran at least 1 mile. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.Employee Wellness Idea #36 - The Mile-a-Day Challenge Click To Tweet
37. The 7 Hours of Sleep Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many nights they slept at least 7 hours. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
38. The 8 Glasses of Water Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they drank at least 8 glasses (8 ounces) of water. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
39. The Whole Life Challenge
The 8 week long Whole Life Challenge incentivizes major lifestyle change by awarding points for completing each of the 7 Daily Habits: nutrition, exercise, mobilize, sleep, hydrate, lifestyle, and reflect. Game mechanics help keep you engaged, and a scoreboard keeps you in friendly competition with co-workers.
40. Monthly and weekly fitness challenges
Throw down a challenge of the month – most push-ups, most miles run, most miles biked. Factorial’s healthy work environment tips include encouraging physical activity as a way to motivate employees who may need that extra push to enter a fitness challenge. Your team members will also have a collective goal to rally around which can help them keep each other accountable.
41. Healthy cooking contests
Have your staff make their favorite healthy recipes and bring them into work for a cooking contest voted on by the rest of the office.
42. The Biggest Loser Challenge
The people over at Corporate Fitness League offer a step-by-step plan on how throwing a successful Biggest Loser Challenge at your office. Check it out here.
43. Start a virtual exercise challenge
Map out a long distance “virtual mission” from one location to another on My Virtual Mission and challenge your office to complete it either as a team or competing against each other in a virtual race. You could also raise money for a local cause – it’s a win-win!
44. Hold impromptu contests
Encourage healthier lifestyles with impromptu contests and other business giveaways. Who brought the healthiest lunch or who can do the most pushups?
Frequently change up the contest focus so people have no idea what’s coming. Here are some other ideas for fun, healthy contests:
- See who’s the most flexible during a round of limbo
- See who can hold the longest plank
- See who has the healthiest snacks at their desk
- See who knows the most deskercises (The winner can give a demonstration so everyone else can benefit from the office fitness knowledge.)
45. 21 Days of Gratefulness Challenge
Track 3 things you’re grateful for everyday on a shared Google sheet for 21 days. Research on the physical and mental health benefits of gratitude has piled up in recent years. Practicing gratitude boosts overall wellness; it can make people happy and even inspire them to exercise more.
The psychology experts at Harvard Medical School praise gratitude,
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
46. Encourage nap time
The benefits of napping include improved creativity, productivity, and memory. Put a comfortable recliner in an unused room in your office to create a “nap room”.
Photo belongs to Nathan Jones via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
47. Schedule recess
Pick a 15 time-slot in the afternoon for everyone to get away from his or her desk. Go outside, socialize with each other, and enjoy some fresh air!
48. Offer unlimited vacation
Before you laugh in my (virtual) face, hear me out. Offering your employees unlimited vacation shows you trust your staff to be responsible and take time off when they need it. The best way to implement this program is to tie it to performance, meaning projects need to be on-track and goals being met.
It’s a win-win because employees have more flexibility and employers can reward good performance.
49. Pay your employees to volunteer
Give your employees an allotted amount of time each month to leave their desks during the day to volunteer. Ideas include volunteering at a local food bank, or cleaning up a park, beach, or trail. You’ll benefit doubly from team bonding and group physical exercise.Employee Wellness Idea #49 - Pay your employees to volunteer Click To Tweet
50. Turn an empty office into a “No Work Allowed” Employee Lounge
Hack Reactor has a company break room that requires access through a smartphone. It includes a series of soft, comfortable couches for relaxation or naps, turfgrass (so you can feel the experience of being outside without leaving the building), a cubby for shoes, and a strict rule of no work talk! Employees are free to listen to guided meditations, play board games, or do yoga.Employee Wellness Idea #50 - Create a No Work Allowed Employee Lounge Click To Tweet
51. Give employees a vacation day on their birthday
You can also offer 1 floating holiday for the year if they choose to work on their birthday.
52. Encourage employees to schedule break time hourly
Studies have shown that taking breaks is a good thing for our productivity, so encourage people to schedule a small 5-10 minute break every 90 minutes to rejuvenate and come back strong. Studies have shown that taking even small breaks provides major benefits; researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that small breaks improve focus. The study authors believe you can regain engagement in a task after a short break because of how our brains are wired to judge constant, repetitive stimulation unimportant. A small break from a task can make a tedious job seem new to a fatigued attention span.
53. Reward your most loyal employees
Offer a month-long sabbatical for all employees who hit the 5-year mark of service. For more ideas, check out our list of 121 ways to reward employees.
54. Don’t let frustrated people keep working
NuGo Nutrition says that when people get frustrated at the office, they tell them to go for a walk around the block. They find that fresh air and some sunshine often make people more productive once they get back.Employee Wellness Idea #54 - Take a walk to blow off some steam Click To Tweet
55. Offer flexible paid time off
Give employees the option to choose how they want to use their bank of paid time off (sick days, personal days, and vacation).
56. Attire themed days of the week
Pick a day of the week for people to dress up in a certain theme. Our office recently started something called “Aloha Fridays” where team members wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts to work. Theme days are a great way to boost employee morale and engagement.
57. Put on some tunes
Play some music through speakers around the office. Studies show that music improves mood, which can help boost productivity and creativity. Opt for music without lyrics and keep it at an ambient noise level. The SnackNation Ultimate Productivity Playlist is our personally curated selection of lyric-free songs guaranteed to maximize focus and increase your effectiveness.
58. Incentivize ridesharing
Voted by Outside Magazine as a Top 100 Place to Work, Team One implements a fantastic rideshare program that rewards employees for carpooling. Each employee gets a card to mark down the days they partake in ridesharing. Each day counts as 1 point and Team One also throws in double points for certain days of the week. Once an employee hits 30 points, they get a $25 gift card.Employee Wellness Idea #58 - Incentivize ridesharing Click To Tweet
59. Company sponsored Happy Hours
Working hard deserves some playing hard. Take your team out for Happy Hour after a long workweek to help everyone unwind before the weekend.
60. Gift card giveaways for major project completions or sales
Buy a bunch of $25 gift cards to Amazon or local restaurants, put the name of each team member into a bowl and select one at random each time a big sale is made or project completed.
61. Institute Summer Fridays
Most businesses experience a decline in sales/business activity during the summer months. Let your employees enjoy more of their summer by offering half day or shortened day Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Bonus: Publish a workplace wellness ideas newsletter highlighting the best fitness, nutrition, and educational content from around the Web
A company newsletter can be a great way to introduce new health and wellness ideas in the workplace. Setup separate google alerts for “fitness”, “nutrition” and “wellness education” and select “only the best results”. Compile the best articles each week or month into one email and send out for your employees to enjoy.
62. Change attire to business casual or just casual
By allowing people to ditch the heels or suit and tie, employees will be much more inclined to take a walk outside or bike to work.
Dress code may seem like a casual thing, but employees have serious reactions to it and opinions on it.
Talint International, reporting on a Stormline Poll, called out the points below to underscore the importance of a casual dress code:
- 61% of polled employees said dressing casually made them feel more productive
- 61% said they wouldn’t be thrilled to hear a potential employer enforced a dress code
- 78% said that not having a code would not change their drive to dress presentably
- Most employees feel that office dress codes don’t have much of a use
- This idea makes people happy, and best of all, it’s totally free for companies to implement. (Unless you want to kick off the casual dress code by passing out branded t-shirts!)
63. Encourage public transportation, walking or biking
Panjo, a mobile marketplace for auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts, doesn’t provide parking spaces to associates who live within 2 miles of their office in order to promote biking and walking. In inclement weather the company covers the cost of a taxi, Lyft, or Uber ride for the walkers and bikers.Employee Wellness Idea #63 - Encourage walking or biking to work Click To Tweet
64. Incorporate plants around the office
There are many health benefits associated with having a “Green office,” including fresher air, improved emotional state, and a reduction of office illnesses. A University of Queensland study found that an office outfitted with plants can actually increase employee productivity by 15 percent.
65. Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires
Welcome new hires onto your team by taking them out for lunch with your department.Employee Wellness Idea #65 - Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires Click To Tweet
66. Post your company’s mission and core values in the office
The “why” of an organization is almost always more important the the “what.” Hire a graphic designer to create a poster or a foam board printing cutout of your company’s mission and core values and post it somewhere with a lot of foot traffic like the breakroom, central conference room, or waiting area right where people walk into the office.
Core values can help instill a sense of purpose to your employees’ daily work, which will lead to elevated moods and higher employee engagement.
67. Make your office pet-friendly
Pets in the office help employees reduce stress and increase things like communication and productivity. Plus pet owners take multiple walks throughout the day.
68. Post an “About Us” page on your website
Include all team member pictures and a short blurb sharing something unique about them.
69. Setup a chair race
Organize an impromptu chair race. What’s the worst that could happen?
70. Post your company’s accolades
Remind your employees that their hard work has been recognized by outside organizations. Frame your accolades, honorable mentions, and community awards around the office.
Free bonus: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it for your company’s next meeting to plan a team building event.
71 Bring in a chef to teach people an easy cooking recipe
Hire a chef who specializes in healthy food to come in for a cooking demonstration.
Doing this is easier than it may sound. Just check out these resources to feel like you have nearly any kind of chef at your fingertips!
72. Clothing drive
Ask people to bring in old clothes to be donated to a homeless shelter or Goodwill.
73. Celebrate work anniversaries
Make yearly work anniversaries a celebration. Send an email out to the team to commemorate your team’s anniversaries. Also have the CEO or someone else on the executive team craft a hand written note to that person thanking them for their service (this goes a LONG way).
74. Sponsor a company retreat or offsite
Probably one of the best wellness activities for groups you can do are retreats. Company retreats are a ton of fun and a great way to brainstorm new ideas to drive the company forward. Use the beginning of the day to work on the company and then follow it up at night with a group dinner and drinks.
75. Celebrate an obscure holiday
National Popcorn Day anyone?
Here are some amazingly obscure holidays to celebrate:
- Draw a Picture Of a Bird Day
Make Your Own Holiday Day
- Be Late for Something Day
- Dance Like a Chicken Day
- Goose Day
76. Hire a masseuse for a day
Create a sign-up sheet with 15-30 minute blocks per massage.
77. Randomly held gifting between employees
Just like White Elephant around the holidays, setup a gift exchange just for fun.
78. Encourage cubicle customization
Hold a contest to see who can customize their cube the best and vote on a winner.
79. Throw a costume or themed party
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to dress up in theme. Why not a random Wednesday in March?
80. Offer some cool freebies
A Netflix subscription, babysitting, custom shoes, tickets to a sporting event. Check out our list of company swag ideas your employees really want.
81. Build a game room
Setup a Nintendo Wii, foosball table, darts, or ping-pong table for some friendly daily competition.
Photo belongs to Sean Hagen via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
82. Free company gear
Make sure your team has all the cool company swag you giveaway at conferences and social events (Hats, t-shirts, polos, pens, etc).
83. Leave in the middle of the day to watch a movie
Call the nearby theaters and find out which ones offer a group discount.
84. Get a bean-to-cup coffee machine or coffee keg
Throw the old coffee pot into the trash and upgrade to a bean-to-cup coffee machine or coffee keg.
85. Discount your service or product to employees
Offer an employee discount program for your service or product at 25% off or more to employees.
86. Reduce health insurance premiums for employees who are extra active
Offer to subsidize a set amount of an employee’s insurance premium when they log a certain number of exercise hours each month. There are also several apps and services in the digital health marketplace that can help employers ensure that their workforce is adopting and keeping new, healthy habits.
Here are four apps that can help your workforce achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
87. Use holidays as an excuse to get healthy
The holidays always seem to be an excuse to eat food that’s not good for us. Instead of the traditional junk food, offer green juices/smoothies on St. Patrick’s Day, red bell peppers and hummus on Valentine’s Day, turkey jerky around Thanksgiving, blackberry and orange fruit salad on Halloween.Employee Wellness Idea #87 - Use holidays as an excuse to get healthy Click To Tweet
88. Offer convenient laundry service
Your busy people could benefit greatly by having a laundry service pickup their clothes and return them back to the office.
89. Create an employee referral program
Chances are your good people know other good people, so offer employees a bonus for referring someone who is hired and kept on for at least 6 months.
90. Implement a “Team Bucks” system
Make a fake currency where people can reward each other with “Team Bucks”. Allow people to collect and trade their “Team Bucks” in for real-world prizes like gift certificates.
91. Appoint an Employee Wellness “Governor”
Make it fun and hold an election every quarter, 6 months, or year where the whole office gets to vote on the new woman or man in charge.
92. Offer paid maternity leaves
If your company is not already doing so, consider offering new mothers paid maternity leave.
93. Tea for the soul
Lay out some hot water, tea bags, and some healthy treats. Google “inspirational quotes” and write them down on strips of paper. Put all the quotes in a bowl. Invite people to take a 15-minute break to enjoy a cup of tea and snack and have everyone grab 1 quote from the bowl.
94. Start a facebook group that highlights hikes around your city
Ask people to submit photos from their hikes and highlight trails they walked. A facebook group will also easily allow people to organize group hikes.
95. Spin the wheel for hitting milestones
Purchase a Dry Erase Spinning Prize Wheel from Amazon that employees get to spin for prizes when they hit special milestones like achieving a quarterly goal, winning a company challenge, etc.
96. Promote laughter
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter has a number of short- and long-term benefits, including improved immune system, elevated mood, and reduced stress. To get your office chuckling, give away two tickets to a local comedy show or even invite a local comedian to perform.
97. Establish designated coffee time
Setup a time in the morning and/or afternoon for employees to walk together to the local coffee shop for a pick-me-up. It’ll also give people a chance to catch up and exchange some laughs.
98. Offer a donation-matching program
Companies like Apple offer to match any charity or philanthropic donations made by employees.
99. Reward those who drive hybrid cars
Give hybrid car owners an assigned parking spot in the parking lot.
100. Encourage creativity with collaboration spaces
Find an empty office or unused area around your office and turn it into a place where people can meet and collaborate on projects. Install some comfortable furniture so people can set up shop away from their desks and let the creativity flow.
101. Create flexible work hours
Everyone likes more flexibility with work because it allows him or her to structure their day to their lifestyle. Kick the habit of mandated working hours (i.e. 9am – 5pm with a half hour for lunch) and focus more on results. What matters most is the quality and effectiveness of someone’s work.
102. Subsidize personal development books and courses
Nothing is more important than the personal and professional development of your employees. Offer a flat or percentage based subsidy for personal development books, seminars, and training courses.
103. Offer one remote working day each week
Give your responsible and reliable team members the option of working remotely 1 day out of the week. A few of the perks of remote work are that it allows people to work more productively, eliminate long commutes, and spend more time with their family.
104. Share personal goals on a whiteboard
Get a whiteboard where people only write their non-work related wellness goals. Things like “Go to the gym 3 times per week”, “play basketball 4 times per month”, or “read 10 books this year” are some good ones to get people started. Doing so will create a sense of common cause and accountability, spurring higher goal completion rates.
105. Morning huddles for each department
Schedule a daily huddle with all department team members to verbalize everyone’s main goals for the day and let others know if they are needed.
106. Departmental “Crucial Results”
Create a google shared spreadsheet where everyone within a department lists the 3 most important assignment, tasks, or projects they need to finish each day and their top 5 for the week. Highlight “crucials” green at the end of the day if they were completed and red if they were not. This will help create a better level of accountability for each person and lead people to focus on the most important items:
(Here’s a more in-depth look at how we do Crucial Results at SnackNation)
107. 20% time
Google used to offer “20% time”, which allowed employees to take one day a week to work on side projects (provided it advanced Google in some way). The program led to the developments of Gmail and Adsense, so it could give your team some time to let their true creative genius shine.
108. No Talk Tuesday
From 9am-noon, try banning any non-urgent meetings and interruptions with each other. It’ll help everyone in the office get more work done early in the week so that the end of the week can be less stressful.
Check out our list of 27 ways to improve your work productivity for even more tips.
109. Create a “high-five” board
Create cutouts with each employee’s name on it and paste it to a magnet. Then buy a white board and put all the names up on it. Leave some dry-erase markers out so people can call-out another team member for something positive they did. Here’s one of the “high-five” boards at SnackNation:
For more ideas like this, check out our list of the best employee recognition ideas.
110. Host Lunch and Learns
Choose a day of the week or month to gather for a company-wide Lunch and Learn. Allow team members to present on a topic they’re interested in (whether it’s work related or not) and use this time to discuss important company updates. Revolutionary news site RYOT hosts a brown bag lunch every Monday where the company meets to discuss goals and triumphs.Employee Wellness Idea #110 - Host Lunch and Learns Click To Tweet
111. Teach your employees the basics and importance of finance
This is especially important for younger employees, but can also be useful for older staff that is not familiar with finance. Here are some great online resources to get you started:
- Investing 101
- Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting
112. Acknowledgment and gratefulness meeting at the end of the week
Feeling unacknowledged can quickly lead to burnout. But it’s an easy employee wellness problem to solve. Schedule half an hour on Friday afternoon for the company to gather together and go around in a circle naming off another person’s work they want to acknowledge and 1 thing they are grateful for that week.
At SnackNation, we call it the “Crush-it Call.” Here’s a video explaining how to implement your own version of the CiC:
113. Organize a book club
Reading interesting books allow employees to share ideas on a wide range of topics. Select a book each quarter and allow people to form small groups to read and review.
114. Start a community library
Setup a bookshelf in your office and ask everyone to lend books to the library. Create a sign-up sheet so people can check-in and check-out books.
115. Inspirational quote of the day or week
Who doesn’t love a great quote, right? Most companies have a bulletin board or chalkboard where employees frequently pass by. Write a new inspirational quote daily or weekly to energize the office. BrainyQuote is a great site to find quotes.
116. Put up a wellness wall
Toms Shoes has a wellness wall at their office in Los Angeles where employees can post things like healthy eating tips, exercise routines, etc.Employee Wellness Idea #116 - Put up a wellness wall Click To Tweet
117. Ask people to create a vision board
Vision boards are a way for people to associate images with the things they want to achieve in life. Christine Kane breaks down how to create a vision board in 5 steps.
118. Take an emotional intelligence class
Emotional wellbeing depends on the ability to recognize and process events in healthy ways. The ability to process makes people resilient because, in many cases, it’s the only aspect of office life and office politics we can completely control. That’s why group classes in emotional intelligence, a skill that helps people process and manage both internal and external emotions, make incredible workplace wellness programs. Every benefit sharp emotional intelligence offers—including enhanced communicating, clear thinking, and deepened interpersonal relationships—boosts wellness levels around the office.
Look for emotional intelligence coaches and trainers in your area, or see what online resources, such as Lynda, have to offer.
119. Create an acknowledgement jar
Setup a jar with strips of paper and a pen next to it for people to acknowledge someone else’s work. Read the acknowledgements aloud during your weekly team meetings.
120. Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with light therapy
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that afflicts office workers during the winter months, when the lack of light affects the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and melatonin. To ward off SAD, maximize the amount of natural light in your office, or use bright artificial lights (like the Verilux HappyLight) at employee desks.
121. Subsidize ongoing education
One of my favorite Core Values at SnackNation is “Seek Perpetual Growth”. One of the best investments an organization can make is in the development of its people. Encourage people to seek ongoing education by subsidizing any classes they take that will help them grow in their position. This will not only provide your team members with an opportunity to learn new skills, it will help to energize them to keep learning rather than falling into a path towards employee burnout.
Bonus: Implement an employee wellness software
Employee wellness programs can be difficult to manage. There are plenty of corporate employee wellness tools available to organizations that help manage and maintain programs to keep team members engaged and active. These types of company culture software can help with employee health education and conduct confidential health assessments, as well as increase employee participation and progress through gamification that includes incentives.
Bonus: Nobody (should) put wellness in a corner
Too often, wellness programs are siloed off from other benefits (and they’re typically limited to an annual weight-loss challenge or quarterly steps competitions). But the most successful companies are integrating their wellness programs into their day-to-day business strategy and overall company culture, allowing it to benefit the company beyond “just” wellness. Sonic Boom Wellness co-founder Danna Korn says there are countless areas where your program can boost business needs beyond wellbeing, including: Employee Recognition, Sales, Workplace Safety, Customer Service, Absenteeism, and even promoting Company Values.
The possibilities are endless – just get creative (and then get promoting)!
Regardless of the size of your business, there are several reasons you and your employees can benefit from an increased focus on employee health and happiness.
Employee wellness programs are a vital component in attracting top talent, keeping them happy, and decreasing employee turnover and absenteeism. Many of the best companies to work for already offer their workers the awesome employee wellness ideas listed above.
Now it’s your turn to improve the well-being of your workspace.
So what ideas are you using for your wellness program? If we’ve missed an awesome ideas for wellness or just wellbeing at work ideas in general – let us know in the comments below.
Free bonus: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it for your company’s next Wellness Meeting. Includes 10 bonus ideas not found in this post.