Have you decided it’s time for your company to invest in a health and wellness program?
There are many reasons to offer an employee wellness program, such as reducing absenteeism, increasing employee engagement, and attracting top talent with competitive benefits and perks. Now more than ever, many companies ranked as a Great Place to Work have robust health and wellness programs to attract great employees.
In fact, employee wellness programs have mostly become an industry standard. According to a study by SHRM, 70% of employers offer a workplace wellness program — and those investments yield a 150% return on investment.
That said, the cost of developing and managing a workplace wellness program can add up quickly. We’ve curated an awesome list of ideas and activities that will get your employees up and active — without breaking the bank.
1. Have Walking Meetings
This policy is easy to implement and way more enjoyable than sitting in an office all day.
According to a study published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine, walking for half an hour in the day helped employees feel less tense, more enthusiastic, and more relaxed. It also helps them think more creatively and pay better attention.
2. Reduce Noise Pollution
Studies have shown that excessive noise pollution — that is, exposure to the sounds like modern appliances, car traffic, and airplanes — can increase high blood pressure, heart attacks, and even strokes.
If your employees need a break from all the cacophony, consider designating a quiet space in the office where employees can go to meditate or work silently. You can also add a white noise machine in the general office area to help drown out more distracting sounds.
3. Have a Dog-Friendly Office
What does a dog-friendly office have to do with health, you ask? The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that pets improve people’s mental health. Dogs also give a great excuse to take a break and walk around — boosting those endorphins and resulting in more productivity and collaboration in the office.
4. Hold a Step Counter Competition
If your employees have a smartphone, there are plenty of free step tracker apps they can download. For example, Count.It is an app that ranks how many steps people have taken by both teams and individuals. There’s nothing like a little competition to start burning those calories.
Related article: 13 Team Bonding Ideas Coworkers Will Enjoy
5. Sample Essential Oils
Bring in a vendor for the day to offer essential oils samples to your employees. When Justworks hosted an Alternative Wellness Day, we had the vendor Young Living offer samples of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and jasmine.
Employees enjoyed slowing down to use their sense of smell as an alternative way to relax during the work day.
Most people use these products for topical application, dietary consumption, and aromatic diffusion for a range of uses, from improving their skincare regimen to relaxing or boosting antioxidants.
Get the guide with 27 wellness ideas for any budget.
6. Go Forest Bathing
Forest bathing involves immersion in a natural environment, enjoying the sights, sounds, and feel of nature. Tour guides like Audubon Naturalist Society help immerse participants to relieve them from everyday stresses and pressures of urban life. One study published on forest bathing showed that participants saw a reduction in their systolic blood pressure after four hours in the forest.
If your team doesn’t have the woods nearby, not to worry. Any type of experience in nature will do, whether that’s the woods or the beach.
7. Make a Plant Refuge
If you can’t bring all your employees to the forest, bring the forest to your employees. Offer a space in your office laden with plants that features big, open windows for a breath of fresh air.
A study published by the American Psychological Association found that employees were 15% more productive when house plants were added to their minimalist workplace. It’s a simple fix, and will bring your employees a step closer to the relaxing ambiance of the outdoors.
8. Improve Relationships with CultureIQ
Health and wellness programs aren’t exclusive to physical and mental health. Social and emotional wellbeing are also important factors in creating a healthy, happy workplace.
Enter CultureIQ, a company that uses data and advanced software to enhance your company’s culture. CultureIQ helps identify employee engagement tools that will be most effective for your company, including year-round culture programs that enhance employee happiness.
9. Subsidize Gym Memberships
A gym membership or discount is one of the top benefits employees want according to an SHRM study. It makes sense: many employees go to the gym anyway, and this is a way to show that you care about their health and wellbeing as an employer.
10. Host a Hypnotherapist
Have employees interested in other alternative wellness ideas? A hypnotherapist is a fun place to start. Justworks hosted an experiential workshop with Hypnotherapist Dan Ryan, who walked through the concepts, principles, and practices of hypnotherapy.
The workshop helped employees leverage hypnotherapy to relax, focus attention, and work more productively. The practice has been scientifically shown to help improve deep sleep, improve irritable bowel syndrome, and ease pain and nerves.
11. Provide Healthy Snacks
Cheetos and Twinkies in the office are tempting, but junk food has its drawbacks. What employees eat directly affects their productivity — after all, can you recall being really productive after eating a greasy meal of burgers and fries?
Instead, offer snacks that will boost employee productivity, like apples, cheese, granola, or veggies with hummus. Healthy brands like GoMacro, Beanfields, and RawRev also offer snack products free from preservatives and excessive sugars.
If you want to offer even a larger variety, companies like Snack Nation offer delicious and healthy office snacks through a subscription service.
12. Give Out Smart Water Bottles
Smart water bottles like Hidrate Spark and Ozmo help keep your employees hydrated and alert. And new smart water bottles have all kinds of novel features, like integrations with FitBit, smart phone tracking, and even glowing when you need to drink more.
Offering one to each of your employees could add up quickly, but consider purchasing a few for a raffle or competition as an employee incentive.
13. Join Headspace
Headspace is an app that helps people meditate and better balance their lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation may help with conditions such as anxiety, asthma, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.
Regular meditation is also shown to decrease stress levels and increase focus — something every employee (and employer) could benefit from. Headspace even offers a workplace wellness program where employees can focus on specific tracks such as stress, sleep, focus, or creativity.
14. Raffle Out Conbody Subscriptions
ConBody offers a unique workout. The founder of the company, Coss Marte, developed a full-body exercise technique while serving time, where he lost 70 lbs in six months without any exercise equipment.
The company hires former convicts to help turn around their lives around. And due to its exploding popularity, they now offer online workouts for only $5/month. One major benefit? Employees who sign up for this could do the workout from home.
Interested in hearing the story behind ConBody? Gimlet Media’s podcast StartUp shares it here:
15. Take a Spin with Citi Bike
Citi Bike, based in NYC, has rentable bikes that can be picked up and dropped off in various parts of the city. It offers convenient access to bikes for those who don’t own one, and is perfect for a ride around the park. Justworks offers Citi Bike as an employee perk, which is available to customers as well.
16. Offer TalkSpace
TalkSpace brings mental health support to the 21st century. TalkSpace matches participants to a licensed, verified therapist who can best addresses their challenges online.
That means your employees could chat online with a matched therapist instead of having to wait for a weekly or monthly appointment to seek out help.TalkSpace has 500,000 customers and also offers video chat and mobile access.
17. Bring the Yoga Studio to You
Companies like Yoga District in Washington, D.C. specialize in employee wellness programs and bring yoga to the workplace to improve concentration, decrease stress, and create happy and energetic employees.
Justworks Can Help
Justworks values employee wellness in the workplace, and it’s our mission to help employers take care of their employees. As a PEO, our benefits packages offer great perks such as same-day doctor's appointments at OneMedical and gym memberships. You can learn more about us here.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.