121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas For Your Office
Employee wellness programs have become a staple in many corporations as a way to attract top talent, keep them happy and productive, and decrease employee turnover. In fact, 80% of employees at companies with robust health and wellness programs feel engaged and cared for by their employers.
The key to having a successful corporate wellness program is by encouraging overall wellbeing while still keeping it fun (see #57 for a perfect example). If you can’t get your team engaged then your wellness program ideas will quickly lose steam. So make your initiatives fun, try new ideas and see what your team values the most.
Below is a list of 121 employee wellness program ideas that you can easily implement at your office. Whether you’re a small startup or large corporation, there’s bound to be something here that will fit for your organization.
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1. Create a healthy office cookbook
Ask employees to share their favorite healthy recipes. Compile the best ones into a collection and share around the office via a downloadable document in email or a simple printed booklet.
2. Monthly healthy potluck
Create a sign-up sheet with 2 columns (name and what you’re bringing) and post it to the fridge in the main break room for people to list what they’re bringing.
3. Provide your employees with healthy office snacks
Healthy snacks aid in weight control, improve mood, and boost energy, making it a no brainer to provide for your office. If you’re already providing snacks to your employees, consider making the switch to healthier alternatives by becoming a member of an office snack delivery service.
4. Bring in a chef to teach people an easy cooking recipe
Hire a chef who specializes in healthy food to come in for a cooking demonstration.
5. Offer almond milk in addition to regular creamers and milk
Be mindful of the vegans and dairy intolerant folks.
6. Debunk the common healthy eating myths
There’s a lot of marketing around the food industry that tricks people into thinking certain foods or diets are healthy, when in fact they are not. This article by Authority Nutrition does a great job of addressing some of the most common nutrition mistakes that you can share with your team.Employee Wellness Idea #6 - Debunk the common healthy eating myths Click To Tweet
7. Publish a workplace wellness newsletter highlighting the best fitness, nutrition, and educational content from around the we
Setup separate google alerts for “fitness”, “nutrition” and “wellness education” and select “only the best results”. Compile the best articles each week or month into one email and send out for your employees to enjoy.
8. Stop offering low quality snacks
If you offer your team snacks or meals with no nutritional value, make the switch to healthier alternatives. At the very least provide a majority of healthy items for your office and just a few traditional junk food items.
9. Stop offering soda and sugar-laden drinks
Regular consumption of sugar-filled and artificially sweetened beverages is detrimental to our health. Make the switch to healthier alternatives like minimally sweetened teas and flavored waters. If you’re afraid of alienating the Diet Coke lovers, impose a “tax” on soda by charging $0.25.
10. Create standing desks
Varidesk offers adjustable-height standing desks that allow users to easily switch between standing and sitting while working.
11. Visit a local farmer’s market for lunch
Offer to pay for all organic produce employees decide to purchase.
12. Order in lunch for the office, especially during crunch time on big projects
Reward your team for putting in the extra hours by ordering in lunch for them.
13. Community Supported Agriculture
A lot of larger farms offer community supported agriculture programs where you invest in their farm, and they bring you fresh produce weekly. National wellness service provider TotalWellness actually does this for their employees, and if you get enough people from your company signed up they might deliver right to your office. It’s a convenient way to get some fresh, healthy food in your fridge while supporting local farmers.Employee Wellness Idea #13 - Community Supported Agriculture Click To Tweet
14. Swap the old junk food vending machines for a healthy micro market:
Companies across the nation are replacing their old vending machines with new, healthy micro markets. Micro markets are unattended, self-checkout mini-convenience stores built right into an office’s breakroom. Employees have the added benefit of fresh meals and produce, in addition to being able to view nutritional information before making a purchase.
15. Show your employees how they can improve their health
Bring in a specialist who offers biometric screenings and health assessments, and more importantly, can give people a roadmap to improved health.
16. Hold a health fair
Invite local vendors and companies to your office for a day to talk about nutrition and wellness activities. You should have no problem at all persuading local businesses to attend, as it’s a great way for them to promote their service.
17. Incentivize smoking cessation
In a study conducted by The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School, employees who were financially incentivized to quit smoking were 3 times more successful at ditching the habit than non-incentivized employees.
18. Post tips for relieving back pain and eye strain
Sitting at a desk staring at a computer for hours on end is the fast track to back pain and eye strain. Not only this, but strong confident postures affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, allowing you to be taken more seriously. Print out and post this infographic for better posture and this one for eye strain on your company’s bulletin board.
19. Remind people to get flu shots
Post a list of locations near your office offering flu shots on the company bulletin board.
20. Survey your employees to find out what is working and what is not
Don’t waste time and energy on corporate wellness initiatives that employees don’t find engaging or beneficial. Use Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create a survey to collect feedback from employees.
21. Encourage creativity with collaboration spaces
Find an empty office or unused area around your office and turn it into a place where people can meet and collaborate on projects. Install some comfortable furniture so people can set up shop away from their desks and let the creativity flow.
22. Create flexible work hours
Everyone likes more flexibility with work because it allows him or her to structure their day to their lifestyle. Kick the habit of mandated working hours (i.e. 9am – 5pm with a half hour for lunch) and focus more on effectiveness. What matters most is the quality and effectiveness of someone’s work.
Nothing is more important than the personal and professional development of your employees. Offer a flat or percentage based subsidy for personal development books, seminars, and training courses.
24. Offer one remote working day each week
Give your responsible and reliable team members the option of working remotely 1 day out of the week. Remote work allows people to work more productively, eliminate long commutes, and spend more time with their family.
25. Share personal goals on a whiteboard
Get a whiteboard where people only write their non-work related wellness goals. Things like “Go to the gym 3 times per week”, “play basketball 4 times per month”, or “read 10 books this year” are some good ones to get people started.
26. Morning huddles for each department
Schedule a daily huddle with all department team members to verbalize everyone’s main goals for the day and let others know if they are needed.
27. Departmental “Crucial Results”
Create a google shared spreadsheet where everyone within a department lists the 3 most important assignment, tasks, or projects they need to finish each day and their top 5 for the week. Highlight “crucials” green at the end of the day if they were completed and red if they were not. This will help create a better level of accountability for each person and lead people to focus on the most important items:
28. 20% time
Google used to offer “20% time”, which allowed employees to take one day a week to work on side projects (provided it advanced Google in some way). The program led to the developments of Gmail and Adsense, so it could give your team some time to let their true creative genius shine.
29. No Talk Tuesday
From 9am-noon, try banning any non-urgent meetings and interruptions with each other. It’ll help everyone in the office get more work done early in the week so that the end of the week can be less stressful.
Check out our list of 25 ways to improve your work productivity for even more tips.
30. Join a local sports league
Google softball, kickball, basketball, or indoor soccer league in your city to see which organizations offer co-ed sports leagues. Offer to pay for some or all of the league’s entrance fee for people interested in participating.
31. On-site yoga classes to relieve stress
Invite a yoga instructor into your office every couple of weeks to guide the team through a yoga class.
32. Participate in a 5K run
Find a 5K in your community and offer to cover entry fee for anyone who chooses to participate.
33. Turn meetings into walking meetings
You sit all day, so why not make your meetings a walking meeting instead? Research has suggested that walking makes people more creative.Employee Wellness Idea #33 - Turn your meeting into walking meetings Click To Tweet
34. Put some scooters in the office
Scooters encourage people to move around the office. And let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw someone ride a scooter with a frown?
35. Keep some footballs, hula hoops, and volleyballs around the office
Make the office fun and encourage people to take a break and rejuvenate.
36. Hold a fitness challenge
Corporate wellness company Fitbug institute a daily wall sit challenge where employees increase the duration of their wall sits by 10 seconds each day, going until the last person remains standing. This serves as a fun fitness challenge idea that gets the whole office involved, and is a great way to get the competitive juices flowing!
37. Host an employee field day
Harmless Harvest, makers of raw coconut water and tea, have combined team-building with workplace wellness by hosting employee field days followed by dinner. Their team heads to a local park in the afternoon for a game of tennis, catch, soccer, frisbee, or whatever else people feel like doing (even if it’s just getting some sun on a nice day). Afterwards they have a healthy dinner by grilling out at the park or heading to a co-founder’s house.Employee Wellness Idea #37 - Host an employee field day Click To Tweet
38. Start large group meetings with some physical activity
20 air squats or jumping-jacks should do the trick, and it’ll get the blood flowing for a more productive meeting.
39. Subsidize wearable technology that helps employees track their activity
Wearable technologies like FitBit can help people monitor their fitness levels, track their sleep, and challenge friends who also have the device. The good people at 3 Birds Marketing take part in “Workweek Hustle” challenges where members of the team with FitBits try to out-step each other.Employee Wellness Idea #39 - Wearable technologies that track physical activity Click To Tweet
40. Post a note near the elevator reminding people to take the stairs instead
Photo belongs to Ludovic Bertron via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
41. Offer discounts to a local gym
Many gyms will offer a discount if you sign-up enough employees. Reach out to some local gyms in the area and ask for discounted group rates.
42. The Mile-A-Day Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they ran at least 1 mile. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.Employee Wellness Idea #42 - The Mile-a-Day Challenge Click To Tweet
43. The 7 Hours of Sleep Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many nights they slept at least 7 hours. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
44. The 8 Glasses of Water Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they drank at least 8 glasses (8 ounces) of water. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
45. Team scavenger hunt
Companies like Watson Adventures can help you do the heavy lifting of coordinating a scavenger hunt.
46. Team can drives
Divide the office into teams and hold a monthly contest to see which team can donate the most cans.
47. Monthly and weekly fitness challenges
Throw down a challenge of the month – most push-ups, most miles run, most miles biked.
48. Healthy cooking contests
Have your staff make their favorite healthy recipes and bring them into work for a cooking contest voted on by the rest of the office.
49. The Biggest Loser Challenge
The people over at Corporate Fitness League offer a step-by-step plan on how throwing a successful Biggest Loser Challenge at your office. Check it out here.
50. Start a virtual exercise challenge
Map out a long distance “virtual mission” from one location to another on My Virtual Mission and challenge your office to complete it either as a team or competing against each other in a virtual race. You could also raise money for a local cause – it’s a win-win!
51. Hold impromptu contests
Encourage healthier lifestyles with impromptu contests. Who brought the healthiest lunch or who can do the most pushups?
52. 21 Days of Gratefulness Challenge
Track 3 things you’re grateful for everyday on a shared Google sheet for 21 days.
53. Encourage nap time
The benefits of napping include improved creativity, productivity, and memory. Put a comfortable recliner in an unused room in your office to create a “nap room”.
Photo belongs to Nathan Jones via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
54. Schedule recess
Pick a 15 time-slot in the afternoon for everyone to get away from his or her desk. Go outside, socialize with each other, and enjoy some fresh air!
55. Offer unlimited vacation
Before you laugh in my (virtual) face, hear me out. Offering your employees unlimited vacation shows you trust your staff to be responsible and take time off when they need it. The best way to implement this program is to tie it to performance, meaning projects need to be on-track and goals being met. It’s a win-win because employees have more flexibility and employers can reward good performance.
56. Pay your employees to volunteer
Give your employees an allotted amount of time each month to leave their desks during the day to volunteer.Employee Wellness Idea #56 - Pay your employees to volunteer Click To Tweet
57. Turn an empty office into a “No Work Allowed” Employee Lounge
Hack Reactor has a company break room that requires access through a smartphone. It includes a series of soft, comfortable couches for relaxation or naps, turf grass (so you can feel the experience of being outside without leaving the building), a cubby for shoes, and a strict rule of no work talk! Employees are free to listen to guided meditations, play board games, or do yoga.Employee Wellness Idea #57 - Create a No Work Allowed Employee Lounge Click To Tweet
58. Give employees a vacation day on their birthday
You can also offer 1 floating holiday for the year if they choose to work on their birthday.
59. Encourage employees to schedule break time hourly
Studies have shown that taking breaks is a good thing for our productivity, so encourage people to schedule a small 5-10 minute break every 90 minutes to rejuvenate and come back strong.
60. Reward your most loyal employees
Offer a month-long sabbatical for all employees who hit the 5-year mark of service. For more ideas, check out our list of 121 ways to reward employees.
61. Don’t let frustrated people keep working
NuGo Nutrition says that when people get frustrated at the office, they tell them to go for a walk around the block. They find that fresh air and some sunshine often make people more productive once they get back.Employee Wellness Idea #61 - Take a walk to blow off some steam Click To Tweet
62. Offer flexible paid time off
Give employees the option to choose how they want to use their bank of paid time off (sick days, personal days, and vacation).
63. Attire themed days of the week
Pick a day of the week for people to dress up in a certain theme. Our office recently started something called “Aloha Fridays” where team members wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts to work. Theme days are a great way to boost employee morale and engagement.
64. Put on some tunes
Play some music through speakers around the office. Studies show that music improves mood, which can help boost productivity and creativity. Opt for music without lyrics at an ambient noise level.
65. Incentivize ridesharing
Voted by Outside Magazine as a Top 100 Place to Work, Team One implements a fantastic rideshare program that rewards employees for carpooling. Each employee gets a card to mark down the days they partake in ridesharing. Each day counts as 1 point and Team One also throws in double points for certain days of the week. Once an employee hits 30 points, they get a $25 gift card.Employee Wellness Idea #65 - Incentivize ridesharing Click To Tweet
66. Company sponsored Happy Hours
Working hard deserves some playing hard. Take your team out for Happy Hour after a long workweek to help everyone unwind before the weekend.
67. Gift card giveaways for major project completions or sales
Buy a bunch of $25 gift cards to Amazon or local restaurants, put the name of each team member into a bowl and select one at random each time a big sale is made or project completed.
68. Half day Fridays in the summer
Most businesses experience a decline in sales/business activity during the summer months. Let your employees enjoy more of their summer by offering half day or shortened day Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
69. Change attire to business casual or just casual
By allowing people to ditch the heels or suit and tie, employees will be much more inclined to take a walk outside or bike to work.
70. Encourage public transportation, walking or biking
Panjo, a mobile marketplace for auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts, doesn’t provide parking spaces to associates who live within 2 miles of their office in order to promote biking and walking. In inclement weather the company covers the cost of a taxi, Lyft, or Uber ride for the walkers and bikers.Employee Wellness Idea #70 - Encourage walking or biking to work Click To Tweet
71. Incorporate plants around the office
There are many health benefits associated with having a “Green office”, including fresher air, improved emotional state, and a reduction of office illnesses.
72. Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires
Welcome new hires onto your team by taking them out for lunch with your department.Employee Wellness Idea #72 - Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires Click To Tweet
73. Post your company’s mission and core values in the office
The “why” of an organization is almost always more important the the “what”. Hire a graphic designer to make a poster of your company’s mission and core values and post it somewhere with a lot of foot traffic like the breakroom, central conference room, or waiting area right where people walk into the office.
74. Make your office pet-friendly
Pets help people reduce stress and take multiple walks throughout the day.
75. Post an “About Us” page on your website
Include all team member pictures and a short blurb sharing something unique about them.
76. Setup a chair race
Organize an impromptu chair race. What’s the worst that could happen?
77. Post your company’s accolades
Remind your employees that their hard work has been recognized by outside organizations. Frame your accolades, honorable mentions, and community awards around the office.
78. Hand out weekly awards
Create fun awards like “The Duct Tape Award” (the person in the office who fixes everything). “The Pearly White Award” (the person who smiles the most), or “The Cliff Jumper Award” (the person who takes the most risk).
79. Clothing drive
Ask people to bring in old clothes to be donated to a homeless shelter or Goodwill.
80. Celebrate work anniversaries
Make yearly work anniversaries a celebration. Send an email out to the team to commemorate your team’s anniversaries. Also have the CEO or someone else on the executive team craft a hand written note to that person thanking them for their service (this goes a LONG way).
81. Sponsor a company retreat or offsite
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.
82. Celebrate an obscure holiday
National Popcorn Day anyone?
83. Hire a masseuse for a day
Create a sign-up sheet with 15-30 minute blocks per massage.
84. Randomly held gifting between employees
Just like White Elephant around the holidays, setup a gift exchange just for fun.
85. Encourage cubicle customization
Hold a contest to see who can customize their cube the best and vote on a winner.
86. Throw a costume or themed party
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to dress up in theme. Why not a random Wednesday in March?
87. Offer some cool freebies
A Netflix subscription, babysitting, custom shoes, tickets to a sporting event.
88. Build a game room
Setup a Nintendo Wii, foosball table, darts, or ping-pong table for some friendly daily competition.
Photo belongs to Sean Hagen via Flickr’s Creative Commons License
89. Free company gear
Make sure your team has all the cool company swag you giveaway at conferences and social events (Hats, t-shirts, polo’s, pens, etc).
90. Leave in the middle of the day to watch a movie
Call the nearby theaters and find out which ones offer a group discount.
91. Get a bean-to-cup coffee machine or coffee keg
Throw the old coffee pot into the trash and upgrade to a bean-to-cup coffee machine or coffee keg.
92. Discount your service or product to employees
Offer your service or product at 25% off or more to employees.
93. Reduce health insurance premiums for employees who are extra active
Offer to subsidize a set amount of an employee’s insurance premium when they log a certain number of exercise hours each month. There are also several apps and services in the digital health marketplace that can help employers ensure that their workforce is adopting and keeping new, healthy habits. Here are four apps that can help your workforce achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
94. Use holidays as an excuse to get healthy
The holidays always seem to be an excuse to eat food that’s not good for us. Instead of the traditional junk food, offer green juices/smoothies on St. Patrick’s Day, red bell peppers and hummus on Valentine’s Day, turkey jerky around Thanksgiving, blackberry and orange fruit salad on Halloween.Employee Wellness Idea #94 - Use holidays as an excuse to get healthy Click To Tweet
95. Offer convenient laundry service
Your busy people could benefit greatly by having a laundry service pickup their clothes and return them back to the office.
96. Offer a car wash day
Hire a mobile carwash service to clean your employees’ cars right in the parking lot.
97. Create an employee referral program
Chances are your good people know other good people, so offer employees a bonus for referring someone who is hired and kept on for at least 6 months.
98. Implement a “Team Bucks” system
Make a fake currency where people can reward each other with “Team Bucks”. Allow people to collect and trade their “Team Bucks” in for real-world prizes like gift certificates.
99. Appoint an Employee Wellness “Governor”
Make it fun and hold an election every quarter, 6 months, or year where the whole office gets to vote on the new woman or man in charge
100. Offer paid maternity leaves
If your company is not already doing so, consider offering new mothers paid maternity leave.
101. Tea for the soul
Lay out some hot water, tea bags, and some healthy treats. Google “inspirational quotes” and write them down on strips of paper. Put all the quotes in a bowl. Invite people to take a 15-minute break to enjoy a cup of tea and snack and have everyone grab 1 quote from the bowl.
102. Start a facebook group that highlights hikes around your city
Ask people to submit photos from their hikes and highlight trails they walked. A facebook group will also easily allow people to organize group hikes.
103. Spin the wheel for hitting milestones
Purchase a Dry Erase Spinning Prize Wheel from Amazon that employees get to spin for prizes when they hit special milestones like achieving a quarterly goal, winning a company challenge, etc.
104. Promote laughter
Give away 2 tickets to a local comedy show.
105. Establish designated coffee time
Setup a time in the morning and/or afternoon for employees to walk together to the local coffee shop for a pick-me-up. It’ll also give people a chance to catch up and exchange some laughs.
106. Inject some culture in your culture
Offer tickets based on performance to things like museums, theaters, and art galleries.
107. Offer a donation-matching program
Companies like Apple offer to match any charity or philanthropic donations made by employees.
108. Reward those who drive hybrid cars
Give hybrid car owners an assigned parking spot in the parking lot.
109. Create a “high-five” board
Create cutouts with each employee’s name on it and paste it to a magnet. Then buy a white board and put all the names up on it. Leave some dry-erase markers out so people can call-out another team member for something positive they did. Here’s one of the “high-five” boards at SnackNation:
For more ideas like this, check out our list of the best employee recognition ideas.
110. Host Lunch and Learns
Choose a day of the week or month to gather for a company-wide Lunch and Learn. Allow team members to present on a topic they’re interested in (whether it’s work related or not) and use this time to discuss important company updates. Revolutionary news site RYOT hosts a brown bag lunch every Monday where the company meets to discuss goals and triumphs.Employee Wellness Idea #110 - Host Lunch and Learns Click To Tweet
111. Teach your employees the basics and importance of finance
This is especially important for younger employees, but can also be useful for older staff that is not familiar with finance. Here are some great online resources to get you started:
112. Acknowledgement and gratefulness meeting at the end of the week
Schedule half an hour on Friday afternoon for the company to gather together and go around in a circle naming off another person’s work they want to acknowledge and 1 thing they are grateful for that week.
113. Organize a book club
Reading interesting books allow employees to share ideas on a wide range of topics. Select a book each quarter and allow people to form small groups to read and review.
114. Start a community library
Setup a bookshelf in your office and ask everyone to lend books to the library. Create a sign-up sheet so people can check-in and check-out books.
115. Inspirational quote of the day or week
Who doesn’t love a great quote, right? Most companies have a bulletin board or chalkboard where employees frequently pass by. Write a new inspirational quote daily or weekly to energize the office. BrainyQuote is a great site to find quotes.
116. Put up a wellness wall
Toms Shoes has a wellness wall at their office in Los Angeles where employees can post things like healthy eating tips, exercise routines, etc.Employee Wellness Idea #116 - Put up a wellness wall Click To Tweet
117. Ask people to create a vision board
Vision boards are a way for people to associate images with the things they want to achieve in life. Christine Kane breaks down how to create a vision board in 5 steps.
118. Create an acknowledgement jar
Setup a jar with strips of paper and a pen next to it for people to acknowledge someone else’s work. Read the acknowledgements aloud during your weekly team meetings.
119. Bring in a guest speaker to talk wellness
Hire a speaker to come in and discuss a corporate wellness initiative like meditation, nutrition, exercise, or personal development. People are much more likely to buy-in when the advice comes from a professional.
120. Subsidize ongoing education
One of my favorite Core Values at SnackNation is “Seek Perpetual Growth”. One of the best investments an organization can make is in the development of its people. Encourage people to seek ongoing education by subsidizing any classes they take that will help them grow in their position.
121. Ask employees to share their successes with the team
At the end of each quarter, ask employees to submit their biggest wins for the quarter. Compile the best ones by department and publish it to the entire team.
Regardless of the size of your business, there are several reasons you and your employees can benefit from an increased focus on employee health and happiness. Employee wellness programs are a vital component in attracting top talent, keeping them happy, and decreasing employee turnover and absenteeism. Many of the best companies to work for already offer their employees the awesome wellness ideas listed above. Now it’s your turn to improve the well-being of your workspace.
So what ideas are you using for your wellness program? If we’ve missed an awesome idea let us know in the comments below.