Corporate wellness programmes have become a staple in many companies as a way to attract top talent, keep them happy and productive, and decrease employee turnover. This has only become more important as the divide between work and home life continues to relax.
Of course, designing a company wellness programme isn’t easy. But looking at what other businesses offer is a great way to benchmark the types of benefits you may want to include in your employee wellness programme.
In this blog, we will cover how to design a corporate wellness programme that actually works, share some ideas you can easily implement, and shine a light on some companies that are leading the way in this area.
Designing a corporate wellness programme that works for you
Before creating a corporate wellness programme, you need to understand what your employees value. Some of the main actions to take when designing a corporate wellness programme are;
- Align it with your company values – Think about the environment you want to create within your organisation.
- Create goals and objectives – Understanding why you are introducing the programme will help you decide which initiatives to include. Set some targets that can help you show tangible results.
- Understand what your team wants – This part is never going to be perfect, but run a survey or hold focus groups to find out what types of wellbeing benefits people want.
- Create a dedicated programme committee – Encouraging employee participation will help the programme run smoothly. Try to include people from different departments to get fair representation.
It’s about looking at the full picture, caring for your employees physical and mental health, whilst also relieving pressures that impact their wellbeing.
Employee wellness programmes ideas
Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, the list below is bound to have some inspiration to suit you.
Host mindfulness sessions
Most, if not all, employees will experience stress in the workplace at some point. This is a simple and effective way of alleviating some of this pressure and provides staff with the mechanisms to manage their stress better. Bring everyone together once a week for a guided meditation or breathwork session.
Flexible working options
Relieve some of your team’s daily stress and focus on employee wellness by allowing flexible working hours when it’s appropriate. Permitting an employee to shift their schedule by as little as one hour could make all the difference. You can even consider offering the choice of a four-day workweek. Which is the more productive employee – one who is rushing to work in a frazzled mess or one who is arriving calm and ready to get down to business?
Hand out weekly awards
Create fun awards designed around the employees in your office. You could get the team to vote on the winner or pick them yourself and hand out certificates or small prizes. These can also be used as a way of recognising your employees’ hard work. Don’t forget to share your team’s success outside of the workplace too. If you’re proud of your team or standout individuals, let everyone know about it in a press release, trade publication or video.
Slow pace team building
Quite often team building activities are very fast-paced, so why not try slowing things down a little bit? Host a more relaxed team building activity such as a nature walk, tea blending or an art class. These will bring you all the benefits of team bonding without haste.
You could run workshops, seminars and classes on topics such as healthy eating and meal planning. These can help employees to learn about the importance of a balanced diet and can provide them with the tools and resources they need to make healthier food choices. You could also include some cost-effective cooking options to help during the current economic crisis.
Health screening days
You could run these as an optional drop in sessions. They could include screenings for things like blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). This can help employees to identify any potential health issues early on, and can also provide them with information and resources to help them make healthier lifestyle choices.
These classes can be held during lunch breaks or before or after work and can include activities such as yoga, pilates and cardio. This can help employees to stay active and healthy, and can also be a great way for them to bond with their colleagues.
Celebrate an obscure holiday
Why wait for the big national holidays like Christmas and Easter? National cake day, National Bike to work day, National Wear Pink day… Consult with your employees on which they would like to celebrate and then encourage it across the whole workforce.
Probably one of the best wellness activities for groups you can do is retreats. Company retreats are a ton of fun and a great way to brainstorm new ideas to drive the company forward. Use the beginning of the day to work on the company and then follow it up at night with a group dinner and drinks.
Bring your employees together for a fun few days to relax and get to know each other, without the usual stress of work. You can design the programme to match the interests of your group. Some examples include a bike tour, a spa trip, a visit to a country house with wellness activities or a hiking weekend.
A book club will offer employees personal enrichment and social time. Every month, select a book to read. You could then send participants a link to a digital copy or offer to reimburse them for the cost of purchase. Teammates will then meet up to discuss the book and share reflections.
Lunch and learns
Recruit speakers to present on subjects relevant or of interest to your employees. These could be industry-specific, work or life-skill-related e.g. language learning, pension planning or just-for-fun sessions such as vegetable patch growing. Bring in a healthy lunch buffet and let people enjoy some downtime whilst learning something new.
Support community involvement
Volunteering makes people feel good. When your employees have a chance to work for a cause they care about, you’ll have a happier, more well-rounded team. Research organisations in your area and work with them to set up volunteering opportunities, or take a lead from staff members who already volunteer. Alternatively, you can support employees to find their own opportunities by allowing them a few hours a month away from the office to participate in a volunteering role of their choice.
Companies leading the way
Hopefully the above provides some inspiration for simple, actionable things you could implement in your business. If you want to go even bigger though, check out some of the businesses leading the way in corporate wellness programmes!
- Asana – They specialize in work management software, so they know a thing or two about employee efficiency. They actually encourage their staff to sleep on the job, with dedicated ‘nap rooms’ in their offices.
- FullContact – The app developer is serious about balance in their employees’ lives. Their unlimited holiday policy encourages team members to take time off when needed. In fact, FullContact is so dedicated to fostering a balanced environment that employees are offered a $7,500 annual bonus for taking time away from the office. If the employee checks email or voicemail while away, they lose the bonus.
- Google – Employees can pick up a new personal or professional skill through the Googlers-to-Googlers education programme. The classes span from subjects like management and public speaking to kickboxing and parenting — and as the name suggests, all classes are taught by Google employees to Google employees.
- Microsoft – Quite simple, but understanding the importance of work/life balance, they opened a grocery and dry cleaning service onsite.
- Zappos – One of the newer Zappos initiatives is called Wellness Adventures, where a small group of employees from different departments go offsite to do something fun away from their desks, e.g. an hour-long golf lesson, laser tag or trampolining.
- Expedia – Employees get a Wellness Allowance between £400 and £1,200 to be spent on fitness-related items. That could be running shoes, skis, a new tennis racket, a gym membership – you name it! Employees that stick around can expect to receive a travel allowance of between £6,000 and £10,000. Yep – stay with Expedia for more than 12 months and they’ll pay for your holiday!
- Timberland – The outdoor apparel retailer has been supporting community involvement since 1992. Timberland pays employees for days off – up to 40 hours per year – for volunteering. This volunteering time-off programme is separate from any other personal or holiday time.
You may not have the budget to pay for your employees’ holidays, but alongside the above examples, these businesses are also nailing the fundamentals of employee wellbeing. Common to almost all good corporate wellness programmes is an emphasis on;
- Health, exercise and nutrition
- Access to nature and natural light
- Flexible working schemes
- Emphasis on a good work/life balance
We love hearing about new and innovative ideas. If your company does something we haven’t covered, drop us a message and let us know!
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