Employee wellness programs have become more and more prevalent as our cultural awareness of the importance of health and wellness has grown. It's doubtful that workplace benefits in 1950's America included lunch hour yoga classes or an onsite nap room; now, these and other wellness initiatives are increasingly the norm.
The benefits of workplace wellness programs to both employers and employees are well documented. Wellness initiatives have been shown to cut health care costs, reduce time off due to illness, increase productivity and positivity in the workplace, and improve employee retention. Encouraging employee wellness is one way that employers can ensure that the work environment where employees spend a majority of their time is healthy, happy, productive, and fun.
The elements of employee wellness programs vary greatly, depending on the size and resources of the business, as well as the company culture. But any company, from a small local business to a major worldwide corporation, can create wellness initiatives that support and enhance employee health, well-being, and morale. If you're a business owner, a human resources professional, or simply a staff member eager to lead the charge for an employee wellness program where you work, here are several ideas and tips to help guide your campaign.
Components of a Successful Employee Wellness Program
Although the specifics of workplace wellness programs vary, there are a few critical factors to keep in mind to make yours a success.
- Create a program that suits your staff and fits your company culture, incorporating aspects that are relevant to your employees and focused on their wants and needs. For example, BlenderBottle is a healthy lifestyle and fitness-focused company, with employees who enjoy competition. Therefore we have onsite athletic facilities such as a gym and a volleyball court, we host numerous staff competitions throughout the year, and we track competitions on a leaderboard that provides added inspiration.
- Create wellness initiatives that are onsite, convenient, and easy to incorporate into everyday schedules. For example, lunchtime group runs, bike rides, or yoga classes provide a healthy midday break; onsite massage or health screenings make staying on top of one's wellness time-efficient and convenient.
- Keep competitions friendly and fun. Don't be afraid to fuel your employees' competitive fire, but keep rivalries lighthearted, enjoyable, and inclusive. Also make sure that any rules for participation are easy to understand and follow.
- Incentives and goals are integral to successful wellness plans. One of our initiatives at BlenderBottle includes a points accrual system for taking part in various activities; employees are rewarded with special edition gold shaker cups and other prizes when they reach certain milestones. A company-wide wellness goal for your business might be to encourage employees to drink more fluids throughout the day; you could give each employee a branded BlenderBottle shaker cup to encourage hydration. (Our online designs tool allows you to design custom bottles in quantities as small as 1 or we can handle orders of 1,500 or more!)
- Workplace wellness programs are not only about physical fitness; also consider initiatives to support good nutrition, ongoing education, entertainment, relaxation, medical services, and mental, emotional, and financial health.
- Keep in mind that the health, fitness, and mobility of your employees will encompass a broad range, and that many people feel intimidated by trying new activities especially those that involve lifestyle changes. Be sure that your employee wellness program has something to offer everyone, is not intimidating, and makes every staff member feel welcome and eager to participate.
- Be sure that your program is open to both part-time and full-time staff. You may even consider expanding your wellness plan to include your employees' spouses and family members.
Suggestions to Get Started
An employee wellness program can include any of the following some of which cost nothing to the employer. Even those that do require a financial investment will pay off over time, with healthier, happier employees who are committed to your company for the long haul. Here are some incentives, activities, and services that might be a match for your employee wellness plan:
- Onsite fitness facilities (gym equipment, treadmills, spin bikes, etc.)
- Onsite fitness classes (group spin, yoga, personal trainer sessions, etc.)
- Fitness reimbursement (can be used toward gym memberships, race/event entries, fitness classes, fitness equipment, etc.)
- Group rate discounts at local fitness facilities
- Organized group activities (runs, walks, hikes, bike rides, 5k or 10k races, half-marathon training program, team-building activities, etc.)
- Company team sports
- Wearable device fitness challenges (steps per day, etc.)
- Incentives for ride sharing, biking/walking to work, or utilizing public transport
- Scheduled ‚Äúrecess‚Äù times throughout the day to get up, move around, and refresh
- Walking meetings
- Nap room
- Meditation room
- Onsite medical services (health screenings, flu shots, etc.)
- Onsite alternative medicine (massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc.)
- Onsite health programs and counseling (smoking cessation, stress reduction, weight management, nutrition counseling, life coaching, mental health counseling, etc.)
- Onsite financial counseling and services
- Subsidized personal development (courses, seminars, books, etc.)
- Access to healthy meals and snacks (healthy snacks/meals in break room/vending machine/cafeteria, onsite garden, fresh produce deliveries, incentive to join a CSA, healthy meal prep and cooking classes, healthy cooking contests, etc.)
- Healthy workspace (ergonomic workspace assessments, proper lighting, standing or treadmill desks, etc.)
- Flexible schedule and remote work options
- Generous or unlimited vacation policy
- Sabbaticals after a certain term of service
- Paid time off to volunteer or take part in community events
- Onsite childcare
- Pet-friendly office or onsite doggie daycare
- Celebrations of personal milestones
- Rewards for professional success
- Social connections (coffee hours, bagel breakfasts, happy hours, inspirational employee presentations, etc.)
As you can see, the options for creating a workplace wellness program and tailoring it to best serve your staff are endless. Are you ready to get started and add some exciting new opportunities to the standard benefits that your employees receive? We think the gift of a cool new BlenderBottle shaker, branded with your company logo, is a great place to start! It's a tangible incentive to kick off a new wellness initiative, or to give as a health-focused welcome when new employees come on board. Visit our online design tool to create your custom bottles today.
Do you know of other wellness initiatives that we have not mentioned? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.