Staying healthy on the job is a daily challenge for most people on earth. That’s why wellness tips for the workplace are so important.
Let’s consider the impacts of just one enemy of workplace wellness—stress—to demonstrate just how important it is to take wellness seriously.
According to a Towers Watson survey, stress is the largest threat to worker health, ranking above even physiological issues such as obesity. Other surveys suggest most (83%) of workers in the United States suffer from stress, which can add up to billions in lost productivity.
Stress can manifest as back pain, headaches, defensiveness, fatigue, and indecisiveness.
Fear not! Focusing on wellness could be the antidote to workplace stress. Here are some curated wellness tips for the workplace to help you take control.
Wellness Tips for the Workplace
Wellness comes in many forms. Here are some workplace wellness tips that cover all the different ways you may want to boost your workplace health and happiness.
Individual wellness tips
Start here if you’re looking for wellness tips for yourself and maybe a few co-workers.
Organize your desk
Declutter your desk to boost your physical and mental feelings of wellness.
Focus on easy and accessible storage solutions and remember, as Marie Kondō says in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”
- 8 Fast and Easy Hacks to Organize Your Desk (and Give the Impression You’re on Top of Your Game)
- 9 Clever DIY Ways to Organize Your Desk
- KonMari Method™
Take hourly stretch breaks
Set a timer for 60 minutes; when it goes off, get up and stretch.
Listen to calming music
Studies show music can have a measurable effect on stress.
- Relaxing classical music on Spotify
- Billboard’s Top 25 Relaxing & Calming Songs to Chill to
- 12 best playlists for calm and focus
Start a journal
Use your journal to write down things you’re grateful for, or simply do stream-of-consciousness reflections about thoughts that may be driving you crazy. Writing about your gratitude may help you feel happier, and stream-of-consciousness writing may help you process thoughts more effectively.
Dedicate the first 5 minutes of every morning to journaling. You can do this longhand or on your computer, whatever is most convenient. A few minutes a day is practically nothing, especially when you consider the potential benefits of this practice. Keep up the journaling for a few weeks, and it will become a habit before you know it.
Bring in a standing desk so you can spend at least part of your day on your feet. Standing may reduce back pain, improve energy levels, and offer a host of other benefits.
Office-wide Wellness Tips
Start here if you’re looking for wellness ideas for the entire office.
Organize a walking group
Get moving to feel better! A walking group is perfect for the entire office because it accommodates all fitness—and motivation—levels.
- Pick a daily or weekly time, timeframe, and location. Choose something easy to boost participation. For example, Wednesday lunch walks—that last only 20 minutes and happen at the park right across the street—present an easy target.
- Spread the word! Tell everyone who is interested to spread the word. Send an entire company email. Make some fliers. Do whatever you need to do to get a healthy group of interested walkers.
- Add the recurring activity to the calendar and invite everyone.
- Start walking. Reference your list and walk around the office to pick people up as you lead the walk.
Walking in nature can be a healthy mindful activity to start off your week on the right foot. Rather than walking near your office, finding an area closer to nature can have a tremendous impact on your approach to the work week.
Start a meditation group
Meditation offers tons of wellness benefits. It may help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and fight depression.
- Pick a daily or weekly time, duration, and location. (For example: Monday, in conference room 1, from 1 to 1:15 PM.)
- Spread the word.
- Add the recurring activity to the calendar and invite everyone.
- Show up and play turnkey guided meditations.
Create quiet spaces
Create pockets of calm around the office to give stressed workers somewhere to go when they need to reset.
- How to Create Quiet Spaces in the Workplace
- 6 Ways to Create Quiet Spaces in the Office
- The Virtual-Reality App That Turns Your Office Into a Vacation Paradise
Provide healthy snacks
Healthy snacks may boost productivity and happiness at work. Plus, they just make everyone feel good.
Form a sports team
Get moving and boost teamwork and team connectivity at the same time.
Organize a weekly Farmers’ Market excursion
Do some socializing while encouraging everyone to enjoy more fresh local produce.
- Find a Farmers’ Market near you.
- Coordinate transportation to and from, if the market is not within walking distance of your office.
- Invite co-workers by setting up a recurring calendar event.
Variation: If you don’t think you can stick to an excursion, sign up for a produce subscription or community supported agriculture box. Have the box delivered to your office, or pick it up and bring it in to share nature’s bounty.
Laughter can be the best medicine. Plus, it’s free and relatively easy to cultivate.
- Crowdsource laughter by starting a weekly email chain or Slack channel where people can post anything that recently made them laugh out loud.
- Schedule a lunch comedy hour and watch your favorite stand-up routines in a conference room during lunch.
- Go see a live comedy show.
- Take a group improv class.
- Play funny games together. Try Poop the game, MadLibs, or FunEmployed.
Looking for more? See our 121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas Your Team Will Love.
Wellness Tools for the Workplace
Need help staying on track and accountable during your wellness journey? These tools should help.
An application and portal that helps manage and even incentivize wellness programs.
An app that helps people do one of the most simple wellness activities possible: drinking more water.
An app that makes effective cognitive behavioral therapy techniques as convenient and accessible as possible.
An app for meditation and sleep.
An app delivering customized wellness solutions, from workouts to nutrition plans.
Evidence-based techniques for improving outcomes of wellness goals.
Provides an in-depth website that has training, resources, and helpful step-by-step guides for wellness initiatives.
Health, beauty, and wellness—all in one beautiful web interface.
An app that helps you improve and train your brain for optimal wellness.
Incentivize Workplace Wellness
So you’ve got some great ideas for workplace wellness. Now it’s time for the real challenge: getting everyone else in the office to be as excited about wellness as you are. It’s not that people don’t see the value of making time for wellness, it’s just that they often don’t feel like they can make time for wellness. Here are some ways to incentivize workplace wellness programs and boost engagement.
Offer incentives that feed back into your program
Compel employees to participate in wellness programs by offering incentives that also boost wellness. These kinds of incentives include:
- Discounted gym memberships
- Healthy snacks
- Water bottles
- Yoga mats
- Exercise gear
- Extra days off
- Group outings
- Teamwork retreats
- Training and continued education
Select a wellness program tool that incorporates rewards
Out-of-the-box wellness program management suites often come complete with a research-based incentive or reward capability to boost employee engagement. For example, WellSteps offers a point-based awards capability as part of their solution.
Gamify your wellness program
Gamification is simply the process of incorporating all the irresistible aspects actual games (video games, sports, etc.) into things that are not games (wellness programs). Gamification involves a reward aspect, but it also brings in popular gaming elements such as competition, time limits, leveling/benchmarks, and achievement metrics.
Here are a few gamification ideas:
- Add competition by offering prizes for the person who earns the highest wellness scores.
- Add timeliness by planning limited challenges that people can dive into.
- Developed ranked titles, linked with rewards or recognition, that people can earn when they complete certain aspects of the program.
You can also leave this aspect of your wellness program to the experts by trying out a paid gamification solution.
Design a wellness program people want
A Rand Corporation Research Brief indicates that the best way to boost wellness program participation is to design high-quality initiatives people enjoy. According to the brief,
“Offering a rich, well-designed program is almost as effective at boosting employee participation rates as incentivizing employees to join more-limited ones.”
Do some discovery research as you work on your program to make sure it’s something people actually want to participate in. (Interviews, surveys, and maybe a few pilot programs should do the trick!)
Try reverse incentives—penalties
The Rand Corporation also found that penalties, things like higher health insurance premiums, increased program participation.
What are your biggest challenges for workplace wellness? Let us know in the comments below!