16 Great Ideas for Employee Wellness Programmes

employee wellness programme

Employee wellness is more important than ever before.

Job seekers are looking beyond generous paycheques and into a business’s benefits and company culture to ultimately achieve a good work-life balance.

So, to drive results, you need to ensure that you create an engaged workforce through a culture of wellness.

But how do you ensure that employees are happy? And at what cost?

While you won’t see an initial return in terms of money, it’s vital to understand the link between employee wellness and performance. Indeed, when employees are happy in their environment, they are generally healthier and more productive.

To help you transform your workplace with an employee wellness programme, we’ve put together this list of tips and ideas.

1. Find Out What Employees Want

Establishing a wellness programme that employees won’t use is pointless for everyone involved. To ensure that you’re addressing workplace issues, you should include your staff in the development of the programme.

You could do so through an anonymous survey or a suggestion box, or by creating a dedicated team (led by the HR department) to implement the programme. Once you’ve established the programme, continue seeking feedback from everyone so you can improve and optimise all benefits.

2. Create a Bike-to-Work Scheme

If you have many employees that live locally, you can help them reduce their CO₂ emissions and improve their fitness by creating a bike-to-work scheme. There are many different ways you can do this – including offering credit for rented bikes or purchasing a bike for the employee and providing space for them to store it safely during working hours.

Alternatively, you could consider transport reimbursements for those that have a long commute and are required to drive or take the train every day.

3. Provide Complementary Healthy Snacks

If your budget might not stretch as far as that of major companies like Google and Facebook who provide employees with freshly-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, a great alternative is to provide an array of healthy snacks.

You don’t have to go overboard and get fresh fruit delivered to the office every morning, though. Instead, you can simply invest in snacks like dried fruit, nuts, rice cakes, oat bars and other relative nibbles that will keep for a long time.

4. Offer Catered Lunches

If you’re a large company and do have the budget, catered lunches are a huge incentive for all staff members – especially if healthy options are included. This, essentially, ensures that they stop eating unhealthy takeaways at their desk every day which only lead a mid-afternoon crash.

By offering catered lunches, you’re effectively investing in their nutrition and making sure that they are eating healthy foods that are good for their brain, and you’re also encouraging interaction among employees – turning lunch into a social gathering in the process!

5. Offer Discounted Gym Memberships

As most office workers live a sedentary life, we often don’t see the damaging effects it has on our health. Indeed, the so-called ‘sitting disease’ can cause type 2 diabetes, among many other life-threatening illnesses. As such, it’s important to encourage physical activity in and outside the workplace.

If you can’t create an on-site gym, then you should consider arranging discounted membership prices with local gyms or investing in free exercise classes, allowing employees to work out before or after work.

6. Supply Step-Tracking Devices

To encourage healthy living, you can give everyone a step-tracking device to ensure they walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day. With a tool like Fitbit, you can do exactly that, as users can track their daily activities, steps and sleep and input what they eat to help them reach their goals.

You can also host competitions and awards for those who have completed the most steps to encourage all members to use their step-tracking devices and work towards a healthy lifestyle.

7. Offer Corporate Discounts

Help your employees’ paycheques last longer every month by offering a bundle of corporate discounts and freebies. These could be linked to essentials like travel, food and supermarket shopping, or they could be entirely for leisure like free cinema tickets and massages – something to make your employee feel rested and refreshed!

8. Devise a Smoke-Free Policy

If you have designated on-site smoking areas, considering getting rid of them altogether and start promoting a smoke-free policy. If workers don’t have easy access to a smoking area, they are less likely to inhale the dangerous toxins throughout the day!

This policy is tricky as it can anger the smokers in the workplace, so do be cautious when implementing it. If the smokers outweigh the non-smokers, then you should skip this idea.

9. Invest in Wellness Software

Employee mindfulness should be taken into consideration when forming an employee wellness programme. And with so many meditation apps readily available, it’s never been easier to incorporate them into your scheme.

Consider giving all staff members funds to invest in a recognisable wellness app like Headspace, for example. You could also create a private meditation room where employees can comfortably take some time out when they need to.

10. Create Social Clubs

Social activities are a great way to improve corporate culture, increase team morale and promote employee recognition. Through team-building activities like game nights, karaoke or laser tag, employees can build strong connections within the workplace, making them more loyal towards the organisation and fellow team members.

11. Offer Work-from-Home Fridays

Another great addition to an employee wellness programme that will not cost a penny is none other than work-from-home Fridays. While many employers frown upon working from home, others applaud it – indeed, research proves that it increases employee productivity.

Think about it: employees will work with minimal distractions and can focus on the tasks that they need to complete. To test the waters, you can assign two separate groups so that the office isn’t completely empty and see how the new programme rolls out.

12. Host Dress-Down Days

Another benefit to celebrate the end of the week could be dress-down days. It’s surprising how a change of attire can shift someone’s entire psyche. According to Inc, ‘the majority of American workers view casual office attire as a perk that creates a less stratified work environment and puts the emphasis on employees' contributions rather than their wardrobes’.

13. Offer Flexible Working Hours

Employees that have a flexible working schedule will feel more content in their jobs. They can juggle their job responsibilities and out-of-work duties without having to worry about the effects on their jobs. This is especially beneficial for new parents who are learning how to raise a child. A parent who is sleep-deprived isn’t going to be productive, but if they have a flexible work schedule, they can catch up on some much-needed sleep before heading to work.

14. Arrange Incentive-Based Trips

Incentive-based trips are a great way to improve employee morale and offer recognition for hard efforts. To ensure everyone is engaged, offer this incentive as a team reward. For example, if a team exceeds its targets, they can be taken on a celebratory trip during working hours.

15. Allow for Personal Days Off

Occasionally, employees need a day to unwind and gather their thoughts. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ill; it just means that they need a moment to recharge their batteries. But as most businesses have a strict sick policy, they hardly ever include personal days off.

JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand, has nailed this one, and allows employees three personal days off per year – no questions asked! In return, employees are more productive when they return to work!

16. Set Up a Mentoring Programme

Mentoring programmes are essential within the workplace as they ensure new hires have a person to turn to when in need. When a new employee is assigned a mentor, they can gain insight into the company’s goals and will, ultimately, be more effective in their jobs. And when they succeed, they will generally feel more satisfied.

Employee wellness programmes are beneficial for many reasons, from lower healthcare costs to increased productivity and healthier staff members to employee retention. Indeed, as a business, it’s essential to invest in your staff so that they can invest in you.

Do you have a wellness programme already set up in your company? If so, let us know how you maintain employee happiness in the comments section below!