Employee wellness programs are becoming more than just an additional perk for organizations, they are a must-have for those who want to attract and retain the best talent. More and more companies are investing in wellness initiatives to keep their employees healthy. Employee health and loyalty are incredibly valuable resources, especially with increasing turnover and employee disengagement. Luckily, this is where wellness initiatives come into play.
Here is a list of unique and beneficial wellness ideas to help build up your wellness program.
- Walking challenges
Walking challenges are the most popular, and they are a straightforward fitness challenge that can help to encourage employees to prioritize physical activity. There’s a reason why they’re so popular! Walking has immense benefits, and it’s so easy to fit into even the busiest person’s routine. It’s also great because it works for both in-office employees as well as remote employees. Walking challenges also serve as a great first wellness initiative to kick off a new health and wellness program at any organization.
- Walk Somewhere: Instead of basing a challenge off the number of steps, employees might be more interested in walking to a particular destination. Introduce a virtual walking challenge where the goal is to walk to a specific location over the course of a week, month, etc. Maybe you have another office location in the next city over or you want to challenge your employees to walk to a popular attraction in your state. By implementing a virtual walking challenge, you can add up the total number of miles an employee walked with the goal of having them reach a certain destination over the course of the challenge.
- Convert Distances: Track your participants movement and convert their steps or miles into something more significant. If your employee walked 5.5 miles, they actually walked the height of Mount Everest! Acknowledging the distance in a different way helps make their accomplishment seem even more impressive and puts it into perspective.
- Habit-building challenges
Healthy habits might include drinking enough water throughout the day, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or getting 8 hours of sleep per night. These healthy habits can make a huge difference in individual health, especially when combined. Individually, these habits aren’t that difficult to adapt to, the challenge is forming these into consistent, regular habits over time to make them a permanent routine. Start with just one habit and then slowly introduce new ones, as you’ll be able to find more success this way. For example, you could create a 4 week challenge throughout the month of June and have week 1 be focused on drinking enough water, week 2 be focused on getting steps in, week 3 be focused on eating enough vegetables, and week 4 be focused on getting 8 hours of sleep every night. It’s much more attainable when you break it up like that, rather than asking employees to change their entire lifestyle and all of their habits in just 1 week.
- Sustainability challenges
Lots of wellness programs are focused on improving individual health, but challenges that are focused on sustainability should also be considered. The goal of sustainability is to create and maintain an environment where humans and nature can coexist in productive harmony. Sustainability challenges provide participants an opportunity to focus on their individual well-being as well as the well-being of the planet by incorporating sustainable practices into their everyday lives. Personal health and the health of the planet naturally overlap more than one would think. For example, if someone bikes to work rather than drives, it’s not only allowing them to prioritize physical exercise for their personal health, it is better for the planet. Another idea is to start a shared garden at your office. Your employees can tend to the garden, building collaboration and community, all while providing delicious fruits and vegetables for everyone.
- Nutrition Ideas
Having a well-balanced diet is one of the most important parts of overall wellness, however, it’s usually the most difficult to address. Employers can offer catered healthy lunches for meetings, as well as providing healthy snacks. Accountability partners are also a good idea for nutrition challenges, and they can encourage each other to choose a healthy meal and participate in other health promotion activities.
Another idea is to bring in a registered dietitian to put on a wellness webinar or video series where employees can earn points for participating in educational events or talking to the registered dietitian. There are also a few apps that could be helpful during these challenges, noted here in our blog.
- Mindfulness challenges
Mental health has become an essential topic for employers to address, especially during the past year. Many employees have been struggling throughout the pandemic, whether it be from stress or burnout. Meditation seminars can be turned into wellness challenges by rewarding regular participation. However, these types of seminars can be hard for busy employees to fit into their schedules, so wellness apps are another good alternative. Headspace, Insight Timer, or other meditation apps are good options to create challenges for.
No matter what size company you have, wellness programs can help to increase your employee’s happiness, well-being, and as a result, the health of your organization. If you have any questions about implementing a wellness program at your company, contact us below and we can help!