30 Workplace Wellness Ideas To Keep Employees Happy

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When you’re considering the happiness of your employees, you should, of course, think about their career satisfaction, but you also need to take into account their wellness. Workplace wellness goes beyond offering a great health insurance plan. Though those benefits are important, too, you must think holistically about wellness. Offer ways for employees to focus on and strengthen their physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. Prioritizing wellness in a workplace leads to a stronger company culture along with many other benefits.

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IN THIS ARTICLE:

Why is workplace wellness important?

Your workplace should not just be a place where employees clock in and out. Workers today value a work-life balance and want their job to offer more than just a paycheck. Offering opportunities for employees to have wellness resources and outlets shows them that you care. Create a company culture that cares about balance, both to increase employee retention and to attract strong new talent. Workplace wellness should not feel like a chore. It can also be fun. Events like group yoga classes or organizing fitness competitions are great opportunities for employees to get to know eachother better and form stronger bonds.


The last year has been tough on all employees and all workplaces. Many workers are feeling burnt out and need wellness resources more than ever as they deal with stress and exhaustion. Putting a focus on workplace wellness helps to prevent turnover, encourages engagement, maintains production, and builds a strong company culture.

What do employees want in a wellness program?

Before integrating a wellness program into your workplace, it’s important to find out what employees actually want. Since every workplace and company culture is different, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to creating your wellness program. Poll your team to see what kinds of activities and offerings are most interesting and important to them. This information can be gathered through a survey, a suggestion box, through your Human Resources department, or any other way you can think of where employees can send their thoughts and feedback as you test ideas. If your team is not engaged with your offerings, then any wellness initiative will be a waste of time and money. So after using initial feedback to create your program, make sure that your employees are aware of the new offerings. Keep the lines of communication open for more feedback to ensure initiatives serving employees so they are worthwhile and more likely to be long lasting.

pexels-energepiccom-313690How do you bring wellness into the workplace?

You can use internal and external support to bring wellness into your workplace. Ask your leadership team to help support new initiatives. If no one has the bandwidth or qualifications, bring in outside help. This may include consultants and instructors.


It’s also important to ensure you have a budget. Some wellness programs cost nothing, while other activities need supplies and financial support. Don’t shy away from anything just because it will cost money. Remember, you are making an investment in your employees and your company overall.

pexels-monstera-9429552What are some wellness activities?

Workplace wellness ideas don’t have to be expensive. Even without a large budget, there are fun ways to encourage well-being. And you don’t have to do a giant overhaul of your offerings at one time. Introduce and try out new ideas and see what sticks with your team and what they value most by asking for feedback. Here are 30 employee wellness activity ideas. Use our list of ideas and also brainstorm your own workplace wellness initiatives specific to your company and employees.

This article offers workplace ideas for health and wellness in the workplace, including:

30 Workplace Wellness Ideas To Keep Employees Happy

    PHYSICAL WELLNESS

  1. pexels-cottonbro-5319394Host fitness contests

    From more laid back walking challenges to training as a team for a 5K, there are lots of ways to turn fitness into a friendly competition.

    Encourage everyone to track their steps for a month and award prizes to the top walkers. Or offer incentives to get employees to join you for more intensive events, like race training. 

  2. Sponsor employees in their own fitness conquests
    If one of your colleagues is running a marathon or competing in a triathlon, show them support by helping to sponsor them or pay for their race fees. This will show that you’re invested in their wellness outside of the office and make them feel valued.
  3. Start an office sports team 
    Remember how much fun middle school kickball was? You can still play as an adult! Lots of workplaces have company softball, kickball, or dodgeball teams. This should, of course, be more focused on fun, fitness, and camaraderie than fierce competition, so make sure the team is open to everyone who wants to play….or bring halftime snacks.
  4. Offer paid time off for health screenings
    To ensure employees take the time for regular checkups, screenings, vaccines, and other preventative care, offer paid time off while they take care of these needs. It can be hard to juggle taking care of these appointments outside of the work hours, so make it clear that they (and you!) prioritize their health.
  5. pexels-edward-jenner-4031630Offer ample sick time

    In the same vein, it’s important to make sure employees can rest when they are sick and take the time to heal. Make sure your company policy offers generous sick time.

  6. Organize group fitness classes
    If your team meets in person, schedule yoga, Zumba, dance classes, or more before or after work or even as a midday pick-me-up. If your team is remote, everyone can join classes virtually as you sweat and stretch from your own living room. 
  7. Provide complimentary healthy meals
    Everyone loves when someone else picks up lunch. Sit and eat together and while the meal does not have to be just salads, make sure there are healthy options. (And yes, healthy can of course still be tasty!) These lunches can be scheduled weekly or monthly, depending on your budget, (there are some workplaces that serve meals every day) but they’ll likely be most appreciated during big project deadlines when people are stressed and might usually skip a meal. 
  8. Encourage walking meetings
    Most jobs are very sedentary and almost every meeting involves sitting down. Get up and move while you chat. Walking improves creativity so get up and take a lap during your next meeting if it’s feasible. This works better in a one-on-one meeting, though it could be a funny challenge to hold a large meeting while getting your steps in. 
  9. pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3757944Create an in-office gym

    If you have the space, having a gym in the office allows people more opportunity to get fit. It’s a great way to blow off some steam mid day or before or after work. Many people skip the gym because it’s too hard to get there before or after work. Having a gym at work eliminates the barrier to fitness.

  10. Subsidize or pay for gym memberships

    No space for a gym? No problem. Subsidize the cost for your employee’s gym memberships. Or, if you are able, cover the entire cost. This is another way to eliminate the barrier to fitness as some gyms are cost prohibitive.

    MENTAL WELLNESS AND EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
  11. Offer mental health resources

    Even if you are unable to pay for therapy for all of your employees, there are great ways to offer mental health resources. You can contribute to the cost of meditation apps like Calm and Headspace. Encourage everyone to use the resources and start a meeting with meditation to model mental health. Some offices even have a “Happiness Coordinator” that employees can talk to one-on-one. You can also offer employee resource groups facilitated by an outside expert for specific or recurring workplace issues.

  12. wellnessOffer support for alcohol and substance abuse

    Offer access to support meetings or even host them at your office. If that’s not possible, allow employees the flexibility to leave when they need to go to a meeting so they can take care of their own wellness and healing.

  13. Build a nap room

    A midday rest might be exactly what some people need to keep going. Offer quiet spaces where people can take a break and relax, and maybe even doze off for a few minutes.

  14. Allow pets to come to work

    When you consider what are good self care activities, you may forget the joy of cuddling with a dog. Making your office pet friendly allows your office to be filled with animals who could provide some real pet therapy to stressed out employees. Of course, you have to consider if there are any allergies or phobias before you do this. Come on—think about how nice it will be to be able to pet a dog on the way to your next meeting.

  15. Hang plants in the office

    Not ready to invite animals into the office? Start with more low-maintenance living things—plants. Hanging plants around the office helps with stress. (Of course, in terms of the wellness for the plants, make sure you remember to water them as needed.)

  16. night owlOffer flexible working hours

    Some people are night owls and others thrive in the morning. If it’s possible in your work setting, offer flexible working hours. Let someone start at 10 instead of 9, and end at 6 instead of 5, if that schedule fits better for them. Allow someone who needs to stretch their legs to take an extended lunch break and go for a run if that will help them work better. Show trust in your team by allowing them to manage their own schedule and set up their day in a way that works for them.

  17. Allow employees to work from home

    After the last year, many people have become used to working from home. While some may want to be back in the office every day, for others being able to work from home at least a few days a week offers flexibility and opportunities for work-life balance that contribute to their well-being. This helps people cut down on commute time and spend more time with their families, both important for emotional well-being.

  18. Make a new rule: No one works on their birthday

    Make all birthdays paid days off. No one should have to work on their birthday! (Of course, you can also always send a cake as an extra bonus. Cake is good for emotional wellness.)

  19. Offer unlimited PTO (paid time off)

    Speaking of time off, many companies are switching to an unlimited paid time off model. This gives employees the ability to manage their time and take vacation or sick days when they need it. This has been successful in many companies and allows people to maintain a work-life balance.

  20. new dadOffer paid parental leave

    The U.S. is one of only six countries with no national paid leave for new parents. Giving new parents the space and time to bond with their child, heal from birth, and get organized while not having to worry about their career is a huge benefit to their physical, financial, and emotional wellness.

  21. Implement Summer Fridays

    One more plug for time off is summer Fridays. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, end the work day by 1:00pm. This fairly common practice gives employees time off to enjoy summer and even spend time together outside of the office.

  22. Create an employee recognition program

    How do you promote staff wellbeing? Make sure your staff feels appreciated. A yearly review is not the only time your workers should feel like they’re getting positive feedback. Host annual or even monthly awards ceremonies. Set apart a time in a meeting that’s just for shout outs and celebration.

  23. Make time for fun and games

    Get your team together and do something totally unrelated to work. Playing together influences higher productivity, increases employee motivation, and creates stronger teams. But also, it's just fun and provides a great brain break! Need some game-related employee wellness activity ideas? Compete in a virtual game show or run around in a scavenger hunt. Scheduling regular activities meant just for fun will help your team spend quality time together.

  24. offica gamesCurate intentional play and bonding areas

    Leave board games around the office for spontaneous game nights and hangouts. Set up areas where people can eat lunch together inside and outside. Make it easy for people to spontaneously sit together and take a break. (Though of course, you can also set up coworking spaces within the office for people to leave their desks and work by each other, too.)

  25. Laugh together at a comedy show

    It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s proven that laughter leads to less stress. Do something fun together like go to a comedy show or watch a funny movie after work. Whatever it is, it will help relax everyone and bring you closer together.


    FINANCIAL WELLNESS
  26. bike rackGet a bicycle rack

    Encourage employees to bike to work (a healthier and more cost effective commute than driving) by having a designated bicycle parking spot. You can put it in the parking lot or even inside the office so people can make sure their bikes are safe.

  27. Provide a public transportation stipend

    Another way to lessen the stress of your colleagues’ commutes is to provide a monthly stipend for public transportation. Public transit is better for the environment and usually allows people to get more steps in, too.

  28. Relax your dress code

    After a year of working entirely in sweatpants, it may be hard for people to transition back to professional wear. Changing your work dress code to something more casual not only helps relax everyone, it also helps your employees save money. When they don’t have to stock up on dress shirts and pantsuits, workers can focus on other things that need their financial attention.

  29. BooksBuild a library of books and resource in the office

    Even if your work is not financially focused, you want your workers to be financially savvy. Purchase books to build a library of books about anything from investing to taxes. More competent employees will only be beneficial to you, so helping people manage their money is a great place to provide assistance.

  30. Host guest financial speakers and facilitators

    Offer employees resources and tools by rotating in experts to speak about financial wellness. Make sure to pull in different skill sets from accountants to financial planners who can offer advice about saving and investing. It’s important that all facilitators create accessible, positive experiences to help people feel more confident and knowledgeable .

 

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Now that you know how to promote wellness in the workplace, make wellness a priority on your team. Schedule time to play together. Use these wellness tips for the workplace and book your next team building event for in-person or remote teams at weve.co and sign up for a demo now.

 

 

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