Employee wellness and productivity are two intrinsically linked subjects that you and your company should be paying attention to. When an employee feels that their personal wellness is acknowledged and validated by their employer, not only will their productivity improve, but their overall satisfaction with their company will also improve. Here are five employee wellness ideas you can take inspiration from.
Programs for employee wellness can sometimes be seen as secondary systems of a consistent company culture, which is unfortunate because including employee wellness in your company culture can be a powerful and motivating force for both you and your workforce.
According to Gallup, companies who have “highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.” What does this percentage mean, though? For starters, it means that the more engaged an employee is, the more productive and invested they’ll be in the work they’re doing. Since higher employee productivity means better products and better products means better profits, it’s safe to assume that an engaged workforce is an essential feature of a successful company culture.
One of the best ways to encourage this kind of engaged and productive behavior in the workplace is by promoting some good employee wellness ideas. A good wellness program isn’t always straightforward though. If you really want to invest in employee wellness—and you absolutely should—then make an effort to pinpoint what wellness strategies would work best for your company culture and the teams of employees within it.
If you’re looking for a place to start, or need some fresh ideas for your existing employee wellness programs, then the following ideas will help illustrate why investing in and promoting new employee wellness ideas are important and how you can start implementing them into your company culture.
1) Find Some Healthy Snack Alternatives
Everyone loves to snack, and one of the simplest ways you can include personal wellness in your company culture is by getting ahead of the wagon and preemptively providing snacks for your employees. Various nut assortments, yogurts, veggies, crackers, and even peanut butter are all healthy snack alternatives that will increase energy and productivity, not inhibit it.
If your office is equipped with a kitchen, or you have the ability to add one in, then you’re already on the right track. As today’s employees spend more and more time at work, having a workplace kitchen—or something similar—can go a long way towards developing healthy eating habits that will keep your employees firing on all cylinders throughout the day.
If a kitchen isn’t available, then snacks are, as always, a reliable fallback option. Stocking the office with a variety of nutritious and tasty snacks can be a great way to express appreciation for your employees and encourage them to take care of themselves and their work process.
2) Get on Your Feet
At this point, it’s well-known that studies have shown how prolonged and repeated sedentary behavior can have a negative effect on people. While desk jobs are important—and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon—there are still ways that you can help combat sedentary fatigue on your workforce.
Providing your staff with wearable step-trackers can help you express an investment in their personal health and wellness. It also opens up the possibility of holding casual “contests” as an office where you can see who takes the most steps in a week. This can be a simple and fun way to get your employees thinking about their personal health while also providing a boost to office morale.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways you can promote movement while at work. Standing desks are a popular choice for some people, as they can be easily added to standard desks without any hassle. Even encouraging employees to take the stairs, or walk to work if possible, are small ways to express an interest in their health and well-being.
You don’t want to be pushy though, so pay attention to the reactions of your employees and use them to gauge whether your methods are working or not. If they are, great! Keep doing that. If they aren’t, then tweak your approach so that the response is better. A company culture that encourages its team members to come up with employee wellness ideas isn’t about enforcing wellness but advocating for it. Keep that in mind as you take the steps toward that goal.
3) Exercise a Positive Outlook
According to a study published in the online journal Personality and Individual Differences, there is a clear and positive correlation between someone’s levels of gratitude and their participation in health-boosting habits like physical exercise and a well-balanced diet. What this means is that people who are generally more thankful and positive in their outlook are also more likely to exercise and eat healthier.
In another study, this one done by the American Psychological Association (APA) in one of their annual surveys, it's reported that one-third of working adults in the country deal with chronic stress related to work.
While there’s not a way to remove every source of tension and stress from the job, there are ways that you as a manager, supervisor, or even CEO can encourage and teach your employees to deal with it in productive and healthy ways.
For example, you could implement a weekly or daily questionnaire that asks each of your employees “what was the highlight of your day/week?” These can be brief and simple outlets for your employees to express themselves, and not only will it allow you to become better acquainted with your workforce, but by asking people to reflect on the best parts of their day or week you’ll be implicitly encouraging them to focus on positive thinking habits.
This is also a great habit to include in the other areas of your company culture, as interaction and communication are fantastic ways to foster a sense of community and camaraderie.
Another option that you can have direct control over is exampling the kind of positive behavior and outlook yourself. Employees will mirror the behaviors and attitudes of their company manager(s), so a positive outlook should start at the top and make its way down.
When you as a CEO, manager, or supervisor work on a positive outlook of your own, you’ll be an active participant and example for the kinds of positive wellness you want to see reflected in your company culture. This will also make it easier for you to try and include your employees in this way-of-thinking, as you can point to your own experiences and show them how it’s affected you.
4) Bring Nature Indoors
Since people spend so much of their time at work, one way you can improve your employee’s wellness and optimize your company culture is by designing an office environment that is creatively inspiring and personally accommodating.
Very few companies have the ability to custom-make their office though, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a plethora of fun and exciting ways to make your workplace conducive to your employees’ needs. According to Forbes, unique and inventive office spaces lend themselves to increased creativity and productivity.
Thankfully, you don’t need to remodel the entire office in order to optimize it for creativity. One effective and affordable way to improve your office space is by bringing nature and plant life into the workspace.
A study conducted in the United Kingdom, and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, says that including plants in a workplace won’t only increase productivity, but concentration and general satisfaction as well. Plants—and greenery in general—are a great way to add a splash of color and life to a work environment, and their portability and affordability make them an easy way to better your employees’ workplace wellness.
5) Listen to Your Employees
When it comes to employee wellness ideas—and healthy company culture as a whole—there are few things more important than simply listening to your employees. People want to be seen and acknowledged, and when employees feel that their employer is not only listening, but acting on their behalf, they’ll be more productive and committed to the work they’re doing.
When you communicate with your employees on a regular basis, you express how you’re genuinely invested in their well-being. This doesn’t mean meeting with every individual employee—although it can mean that if that’s what works best for you.
Even a consistent team meeting where you ask for updates on the work environment, or an anonymous email survey that asks the same question, can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your workforce and be equipped with the information needed to provide for them and their needs.
A Culture of Wellness
The culture of your company isn’t a distraction or an extracurricular activity, it’s one of the foundational pillars that keep your workforce afloat. It’s an often unseen force, but a powerful one, as it energizes your employees by highlighting how important they are to the continued growth and excellence of the company.
Since your employees are the beating heart of any good company culture, then it makes sense that you’re going to want to take care of that heart, and emphasizing the best employee wellness ideas is how you can do that. Don’t shy away from subjects of health and wellness with your workforce, but embrace them with honesty and sincerity. The more invested you are in your employee’s work lives, the more productive and content they’ll be in their work.