8 Fun & Engaging Ideas For Your Employee Wellness Program (and one to skip!)
Did you know that more than half of US businesses have a wellness program? The number rises to 80% of companies with more than 50 employees!
It’s no mystery why employers want their staff to be healthy (and happy) – some of the many benefits of wellness programs include
- fewer sick days
- better productivity
- higher job satisfaction
But the trick to get the most out of what’s offered is making sure employees are engaged and find value in the activities. Start by surveying your team to find out what they are most interested in, and collecting feedback after each event or activity so you know what’s a winner and which ones to skip for this year!
The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison
Part of the program should encourage or incentivize a biometric screening or annual preventive physical at a doctor’s office to help people catch issues early on, but make sure you add in some activities that are more social in a variety of wellness areas.
In my experience as a corporate health coach, most people have at least one area that’s a weak spot – you won’t get everybody with every event, but hosting 3-4 a year should offer a little something for the whole team!
8 Employee Wellness Activities to Engage Your Team
- A step challenge: walking is the most approachable physical activity, and using a pedometer can be a wake-up call for people who sit the whole day! Encourage your crew to join by posting maps of good routes near the office with distances and estimated step counts, and throw in a few prizes to make it interesting – try to keep them related to the theme, something like a fitness tracker or gift card to an athletic store. Find the right app to track things for your company here, and keep it to a doable amount of time, just 1-2 weeks is usually best.
- Potluck with recipe swap: schedule a smorgasboard lunch with everyone bringing their favorite healthy recipe. Create a signup list (here’s a free website that does the hard work!) for entrees, side dishes, desserts, and beverages to make sure there’s a balanced spread. For remote workers, try requesting their recipes to pull into a mini cookbook and have a virtual lunch to share reactions.
- Healthy sleep kit: send out this questionnaire to screen for sleep quality, and offer sleep kits that have some sleepy time tea, night masks, lavender sachets, and links to guided meditations. After nutrition and exercise, sleep is the third most popular area people want to improve when I ask them what is holding back ideal health, so this is a universal favorite!
- Stress less activity: yoga & meditation either in-office or virtually. Some people report having a higher engagement in these kinds of activities when they are in their own space and don’t have to worry about feeling awkward in poses next to coworkers, so don’t think you need a big space to host this one!
- Cooking demo: everyone eats, so these events tend to have very high engagement and create lots of good conversations. I offer presentations and demos in the DC area in person, and also virtually from my own kitchen! Opting for a few hours of 1-on-1 coaching offers people who are uncomfortable about asking questions a chance to get personal attention, and those who are ready to make habit changes an opportunity to dive in.
- Mocktail happy hour: hydration is a popular goal, and people are more likely to drink when the beverage has some flavor! Host with a few options pre-mixed and ready to garnish, or get fancy and hire a bartender! This is also a great one to do virtually by sending some recipes out ahead of time.
- Community volunteering: health isn’t just about individuals, it’s about how we interact and support each other in groups! Social connections and a sense of contributing to a purpose greater than yourself are keys to vitality and mental health. Find some opportunities for a group your size, or offer paid time off for people to go on their own.
- Become a hub for a CSA drop: “community supported agriculture” is farmers selling directly to their customers, usually delivered weekly in bags or boxes of whatever is freshest in the field. But, one common barrier to subscribing to a CSA is the time to pick it up. Help your employees connect with your local farm by having your job site be a drop off point. Find one near you!
Whatever you do, please take my advice and skip the “biggest loser” and other weight-centric challenges. The idea is to encourage people to take positive steps that create healthy habits and lifestyles, not see who can withhold food and drop pounds the fastest! Plus, biggest-loser challenges make people uncomfortable because they reduce health to their number on the scale and draw attention to people’s physical differences.
So there you go! I guarantee at least a few things on that list will be a good fit for your company – make a list of your top 3 and get started planning today! Schedule a call with me to learn more about how to customize a nutrition seminar and coaching.
How to establish a wellness program