47 Impactful Wellness Ideas

We are Facilitators for organizations that believe in the power of people. Teams that work in harmony, trust each other, and end up outdoing themselves, every day.

We believe that engagement is a pre-requisite for all learning to happen – both in the real and in the virtual world. And engagement can happen equally well in the virtual world too!

We are a restless bunch of ordinary people, united by an uncommon passion to stage WOW workshop learning experiences – regardless of where we run them – on-site or online! What unites us together as a team is a shared belief in the FocusU way of living.

Employee Wellness Programs

Health is a state of body, Wellness is a state of being. - J.Stanford

The key to having a successful corporate wellness program is by encouraging overall wellbeing while still keeping it fun. If you can’t get your team engaged then your wellness program ideas will quickly lose steam.

Here is a list of 47 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.

They are broadly categorized under 7 headings:
- Nutrition and general health
- Productivity
- Physical and fitness activity
- Fun challenges and contests
- Rejuvenation
- Just for fun
- Mental health & personal growth

We have also organised it into 3 categories:
• What you can implement easily by yourself. Most of the ideas are in this category (DIY)
• Ones which we can help you organise. Some of the ideas are in this category (WH)
• Ones which we can conduct for you. A few of the ideas are in this category (FocusU)


Nutrition and general health

1. Create a team healthy food cookbook
Ask employees to share their favourite 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. Bring in an expert chef
Hire an expert chef who specializes in healthy food to run a virtual cook-along demonstration with your team.

3. Debunk the common healthy eating myths
There’s a lot of myths surrounding healthy eating. This article by Healthline does a great job of addressing some of the most common nutrition mistakes that you can share with your team.

4. Publish a workplace wellness newsletter
Start a fortnightly newsletter highlighting the best fitness, nutrition and educational content from around the world. Setup google alerts for “fitness”, “nutrition” and “wellness education” and select “only the best results”. Compile the best articles each fortnight into one email and send out for your employees to enjoy.

5. Bring in an expert nutritionist
Bring in a specialist who offers guidance on healthy nutritional habits, and more importantly, can give people a roadmap to improved health.

6. Hold a virtual health mela
Set up a date, build the buzz and invite vendors who can showcase varied methods towards wellness through fitness, dancing, mandala, meditation, tai chi or through talks about nutrition and wellness.

7. Incentivize stoping smoking
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.

8. 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. Share this infographic for better posture and this one for reducing eye strain on your company’s intranet.


Productivity

9. Create flexible work hours
Some of us are owls who like to work late into the night, while some of us are larks who like to get up and start early in the day. 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.

10. Subsidize personal development books and courses
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. You can take inspiration from our free books policy.

11. 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, Google News and Adsense, so it could give your team some time to let their true creative genius shine.

12. No call tuesday
Zoom fatigue is very real and people are struggling with it. Any one day in a week, try and ban any non-urgent meetings, video catch-ups and disturbances for everyone. It will help everyone in the office dial down their stress level and be more productive in getting their work done early.


Physical and fitness activity

13. Subsidize wearable technology
Wearable technologies like FitBit can help people monitor their fitness levels, track their sleep, and challenge friends who also have the device. This can also inspire your team to start a virtual sports league!

14. Get everyone moving – body, mind & sole!
Working virtually can be very sapping – especially since we end up sitting hours on end. Get your team to do a challenge that gets their body moving, their minds ticking and their soles running… all within the confines of their home. This is how you can do it.

15. Start a virtual sports league
Encourage your team members to get started on fitness on a regular basis by starting a virtual sports league. Set out points as per amount of time the activity is done for and maintain a leader board. Friendly competition often gets everyone going.

16. Roll out a 21 day health Challenge
If you find it difficult to keep the virtual sports league going, inspire your team to fitness by running a 21 day health challenge. Why 21 days? Because that is the time we take to imbibe a new habit! Here is how one corporate team did it.


Fun challenges and contests

17. The mile-a-day challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they ran at least 1 mile. The winner(s) at the end of the month gets a prize.

18. Healthy cooking contests
Set up a virtual cook-off challenge. Have your team make their favourite healthy recipes and have a virtual lunch catch-up too! Here is how one team did it.

19. 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.

20. The 8 glasses of water challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they drank at least 8 glasses of water (around 3-4 litres). The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.

21. Team treasure hunts
Break the monotony for the team by inviting them to a virtual treasure hunt set up in just about any city in the world. A great way for the team to bond too. Here is how one team did it.

22. The biggest loser challenge
The people over at WiseStep offer a step-by-step plan on how throwing a successful Biggest Loser Challenge. Check it out here. You may have to tweak a few things for the virtual world though.

23. The random acts of kindness challenge
Track random acts of kindness on a shared Google sheet. You can take inspiration on how to run it out here. Or just call us and we will guide you.

24. Days of gratefulness challenge
Track 3 things you’re grateful for everyday on a shared Google sheet for 21 days. Similar in execution to the one above.

25. The call an old friend challenge
Here’s how it works: Phone a friend who you haven’t spoken with in over a year. No texts or social media allowed. It has to be a phone call or a video call conversation to count. The person who calls the most “old friends” wins!


Rejuvenation

26. Encourage people to take a nappucino
The benefits of napping include improved creativity, productivity, and memory. A nappucino is a 20 minute break after taking a cup of coffee. More details out here.

27. Dance like no one is watching
There is perhaps nothing more universal than the drive to move our bodies in sync with music. A few of us are bashful about dancing in public. But what safer space can there be than the safety of our own homes? Invite your team to a virtual dancing experience.

28. 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.

29. Consider 4 day work week
Four day work weeks are gaining increasing popularity around the world and the numbers are beginning to swing in its favour. Consider following this increasing trend.

30. Dive into mandalas
Drawing and painting mandalas are a unique way for employees to discover the power of meditation, by bringing art, mindfulness and meditative practices together for a session of rejuvenation. This is how we do it.


Just for fun

31. Organise a wine tasting event
Wine tasting over the years has become a social activity that is much liked and appreciated. While it takes participants into the exotic stories of wine, it also lends itself to easy banter. Why not organise one for your team and get everyone to let their hair down? Of course if you have people allergic to wine, you could choose to go with mocktails too!

32. Attire themed days of the week
Pick a day of the week for people to dress up in a certain theme or in a certain coloured dress only. Doing things just for the heck of it builds a different kind of bond in a team – and gets the laughs going.

33. Back to the future
Collect the photos of all your team members from when they were kids and get others in the team to guess “whois-who” on a virtual call. It is a whole lot of fun and often triggers off interesting conversations from the past.

34. Promote laughter
Run a laughter yoga session for your team. It is far more hilarious and stress relieving than you can even imagine.

35. Company sponsored happy hours
Working hard deserves some playing hard. Since you cannot take your team out for a Happy Hour, do the next best thing – ask people to bring their own drinks, but sponsor a fixed amount. Do this after a long workweek to help everyone unwind before the weekend.

36. Secret santa – but not only in christmas
Just like Secret Santa around Christmas, setup a gift exchange just for fun.

37. Appoint an employee wellness “commander”
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.

38. Form a company band
Ask the musicians at the company to bring their instruments together and jam together – while the rest of you log in and enjoy the show!

39. Explore beat boxing with your team
Our vocal cords can make a variety of sounds that are constantly changing, depending on mood, energy and rhythm. Putting some of those sounds into a beat using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, and voice is the essence of beatboxing. And doing it together with your team can be great fun as you can see in the videos here.


Mental health & personal growth

40. Create a “hot seat” ritual
Unlike a typical hot seat though, this is for showering gratitude, accolades and thanks to the person in the hot seat. Do one in each of your weekly catch-ups.

41. Host your own virtual TED talks
Allow team members to present on a topic they are interested in (whether it’s work related or not). Only one rule – 15 minutes per speaker.

42. 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.

43. 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.

44. 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. Visions help. people find hope. Christine Kane breaks down how to create a vision board in 5 steps.

45. Bring in a guest speaker
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. Consider people like Simon Taufel on Resilience or RamG Vallath on embracing a growth mindset.

46. Subsidize ongoing education
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.

47. Sponsor a popular exercise or meditation app
Encourage employees to start using apps like Calm which would nudge them to start meditation on a regular basis by sponsoring the same for them.


Download the 47 Impactful Wellness Ideas