17 Innovative Employee Wellness Program Ideas 
24Dec, 2021

17 Innovative Employee Wellness Program Ideas 


Health and wellness have always been relevant, but the pandemic has been an eye-opener in many ways. Employee health is now one of the top priorities for most employers. Before Covid, employees had to deal with most of it independently though companies did insurance as an essential part of the remuneration package. Today, employers need to do a lot more. For one, job seekers today are more aware and are looking out for jobs and organizations where employee health is a top priority. Second, it has become crucial in the present times as different kinds of health issues crop up by the passing hour.  

Be it office-based work or fieldwork, most employees today spend a great deal of their time in front of digital screens, they are hard-pressed for time, and their professional targets outweigh their personal goals and health. This, unfortunately, is the fact of life! Under such scenarios, employees find it challenging to take out time to invest in following a healthy routine.  

This is why it is crucial to weave good health behaviors within the workspace and office culture. The corporate employee wellness program is one of the latest HR trends, even though its essence has been around for long now. Such programs can help decrease employee absenteeism, can help improve employee productivity and contribute genuinely towards improving employee physical and mental health.  

An optimized employee wellness program pushes employees to make healthy choices, be it their food or lifestyle or dealing with the stress of the daily grind.   

Getting started to strategize and implement a well-planned corporate wellness program? Ensure that it is motivating and fun to engage and participate wholeheartedly. 


Innovative employee wellness program ideas 


1. Rewarding and recognizing employees with healthy eating habits 

Eating is at the core of employee health. And, it is often the most taken for granted! Nutrition challenge is a good way to instigate employees to adopt healthy habits. There could be challenges around sharing food and logging meals. Nutrition seminars can be a part of the program too. It is important to keep the rewarding system consistent to drive productive results. 


2. Wellness challenges on Wednesday (mid-week)

Wednesdays tend to be a lull – the mid-week blues that start to impact employee efficiency. Thus, the right time and day of the week create wellness challenges.  


3. Free healthy lunch for team working extra hours 

Working overtime often goes unnoticed. Make a change by using it as an opportunity to encourage healthy eating habits. The best way to reward employees by putting in extra hours is by ordering healthy lunch or dinner for them. Salads, wraps, or even homemade-style food can be a good incentive.  


4. Use a Step monitor and heart-rate monitor to incentivize people who walk more. Use mood tracker for challenges and rewards 

Use modern technology with the latest gadgets to help employees monitor the steps they have walked during the day, their heart rate, or track their mood. It is a good way to motivate people to participate in challenges created around these topics.  

Take the case of Apple. They introduced a mobile app for their Accelerator Program that featured a heart-rate monitor, calorie and mood tracker, step tracker, and more. The app offers virtual mindfulness sessions too.  

A few corporate wellness platforms have built-in sensors and AI to recognize wellness challenges like the squat recognition feature. It checks if employees are performing squats correctly or not and accordingly rewards those who do it right. 


5. Stand up comedy or Laughter programs, online or offline 

Hire an expert team that uses specialized tools to encourage people to laugh and relieve stress. Besides, shared laughter is a great way to bond and connect with colleagues.  


6. Virtual wellness week

Many organizations are not ready to dedicate themselves to long-term wellness plans. A virtual wellness week is the best for such organizations. The week could be planned with yoga and meditation classes, especially desk yoga, productivity sessions run by trained coaches, digital goodie bags, and more.


7. Build-in and integrate features to reduce eye strain 

Paying attention to office ergonomics is important. It helps reduce stress in the workspace. With rising dependency on digital devices, the eyes of most employees are at risk. Ensuring laptop and desktop screens are devised for minimizing eye strain is an encouraging factor. Similarly, ergonomically designed keyboards help minimize issues like carpal tunnel. There could be chairs designed to minimize back pain. 


8. Dedicate a day to mindfulness programs 

Mindfulness programs for employees include tools that help them deal with their stress. Such programs are designed for employees to understand and be aware of the present and leave the past behind. It helps them be aware of their existing conditions, not worry about the future, and give up their fears and doubts.  


9. Initiate an employee stress circle 

Another way to help employees deal with stress is to offer social support to such people. Employers can set up a weekly stress circle where employees can choose to speak about anything they want to. Proper rules need to be set so that employees express themselves without the fear of being judged.  


10. Group Fitness activities  

Employers are now organizing group activities to cater to help employees work out or stay fit in a social setup. For example, activities like  

  • Conducting on-site yoga and meditation classes. 
  • Encouraging employees to join running groups or a local sports club. 
  • Encouraging people to take stairs instead of lifts and walk to the office or take public transportation. 

Alongside it is important to keep re-inforcing to your employees why these activities are crucial. Also, to maintain continuity and keep your employees inspired, weave in a reward and recognition system.  


11. Fitness challenges are also a great way to keep employees engaged with corporate wellness programs. Some of the popular contests include 

  • A 7-hour sleep challenge 
  • Walk a mile a day challenge,  
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day,  
  • Cooking contests to showcase the culinary skills of employees, especially healthy cooking. 
  •  Impromptu challenges like getting the squat position correct, achieving the longest plank, or who has got the healthiest snacks from home, etc. 


 12. Let a few of your meetings be walking meetings 

Many top CEOs and business owners have introduced the concept of walking meetings as walking can stimulate creative thought processes. Steve Jobs and Charles Dickens have been great trendsetters in this niche.  


13. Help employees buy wearable technology 

Designing reward programs, including wearable technologies, helps people track their fitness levels effectively. Or, gift it to your employees during Diwali or year-end programs. Such devices can be part of corporate offsites and training programs too. 


14. Promote rejuvenation  

Many companies have indoor venues for volleyballs, footballs, or hula hoops. It is fun and big stress-busters. But not every company has that kind of space. There are other ways to promote relaxation between work. Some examples are: 

  • Creating a meditation room that has a strict ‘no-sound’ policy. 
  • Giving employees a 15-minute recess during the afternoon 
  • Offering unlimited vacations – a part of it could be paid and part, unpaid 
  • Volunteering leaves is another good way to encourage employees to participate in community work. It also showcases your organization’s social commitments. 
  • Encouraging hourly breaks. 
  • Offering flexible paid-time-off. 
  • Offering mandatory paid leaves that employees need to take at all costs 


15. Fun activities incorporating wellness

Try and create a backdrop wherein employees feel safe, secure and take pride in being a part of your company Some of the ideas could be –  

  • Encouraging ridesharing,  
  • Incorporating music in the workplace,  
  • Offering gift cards on completion of a major project,  
  • Sponsoring happy hours on achieving a milestone 
  • Offering flexibility in the attire, etc. 


16. Flexible work hours 

With Covid and Work from Home, many employees are now working flexible hours. 9 am to 5 pm no longer works even with physical offices reopening. Employers should focus on productivity, results, and work quality rather than targeting work timing. With enhanced flexibility, there are higher chances of effective work happening in the office and at home. 


17. Motivating people for mental health  

Mental health is critically important, even more than physical fitness. Stress is part and parcel of our lives. But acknowledging people, giving them due to recognition can make a lot of difference to their mental state. Introduce concepts like: 

  • high-five boards where employees doing well have their names posted on whiteboards or e-boards 
  • Organizing workshops on Emotional Intelligence. It can help employees get a newer perspective and gain the maturity to handle and process events as they are happening. 
  • Use light therapy to fight the seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a form of depression that workers might face during the winter season due to the decreased amount of sunlight received by the body. Realigning the workspace to let natural light into the office, using energy-efficient artificial lights, etc., can make a difference.  
  • Encourage your employees to be part of ongoing education. You could offer subsidized rates for courses or give them paid time off to attend regular classes. Doing these helps deal with employee burnout issues. 


Employee well-being is not just the responsibility of your employees anymore. As an employer, you too need to contribute towards their wellness and health. We have listed some of the awesome ideas here. We appreciate your feedback; share with us what works for you and what doesn’t.   

Looking for an enterprising platform to help you with your employee wellness program? Contact the team at Lets buzzz, a digital platform that integrates many of the ideas mentioned here to drive employee engagement and wellness. 

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