Is 2020 the year to try something new? You are never too small nor is it ever too late to implement out of the box employee wellness initiatives in your organization.
Creating wellness programs that are a little different can boost engagement and offer something your people can get excited about.
An excited and engaged participant is one that feels connected to your organization and that benefits everyone.
Here are a few popular, out-of-the-box program ideas we’ve seen from our clients or have implemented in-house. Consider adding one to your wellness repertoire this year and see if it impacts engagement in your organization.
Have A Dog Day.
Owning a dog is linked to increased physical activity and lower stress levels. Imagine what that could mean for your office environment.
At our office, we have a lot of dog lovers so we implemented Dog Day Friday. No one is required to bring in their furry friend but those that do create lovely temporary distractions for the rest of us during the workday. Dogs are a good reminder for all of us to look up from the computer once in a while, take frequent bathroom breaks or go for a walk and stretch your legs.
Note: before implementation, it’s good to be considerate of those with allergies to dogs. There are some offices the dogs are not permitted in for this reason and Doggos only visit on Fridays when the office is professionally cleaned the day after.
If the type of office environment or number of people with allergies means a no-go on the doggos, consider a fish tank as a way to introduce living things to your office environment.
Schedule A Group Guided Meditation
Mindfulness is very trendy in the wellness world right now and with good reason. Meditation and mindfulness practices are proven to reduce stress.
Beyond making mindfulness practices available in your wellness portal or through an app, consider scheduling a time during the day when employees have the option to gather together and listen to a guided meditation.
Yes, it’s great to take a break and meditate on your own during the day but there is an energy that comes from meditating with a group that cannot be replicated on your own.
Introduce A Lunch (Or Post Work) Yoga Class
Ditto to above ^. Yoga is also a great way to reduce stress and just like meditation, doing it in a group has a different energy than doing it alone. Consider hiring a certified yoga teacher to come into your office once a week and gather interested troops for a group yoga experience.
Go Green, For Real
We don’t mean replacing all the light bulbs with LEDs. We’re talking about literally making the office greener. Houseplants are on trend right now in the lifestyle space, and it’s time to bring that trend into workplace wellness.
Consider encouraging employees to bring house plants into their office space. The greenery serves a double purpose: pump oxygen into the air and make us better humans.
Studies show access to nature can relieve stress and soothe us both mentally and physically. Encourage your employees to bring the outside inside, especially in the winter months when the lack of outdoor greenery and sunshine can negatively impact our mental health.
Bonus: the added purpose of caring and nurturing for plants adds to the sense of well-being!
Host An Anxiety Workshop
Speaking of mental health . . .
With mental health coming out of the closet in main-stream society, awareness about mental illnesses and anxiety disorders is on the rise. As the stigma around mental health issues begins to lift, you can help nudge this process along by talking about them.
Consider hosting a workshop about the most common mental health disorder: anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”
Create A Company Gratitude Journal
Expressing gratitude is another great tool for boosting mental health. The practice of being grateful has been shown to improve relationships, boost both physical and mental health, improve sleep, as well as enhance empathy, self-esteem and resilience.
Consider creating a space where your employees can record something for which they are grateful. Maybe it’s a white board in the kitchen, a shared company google doc, or a good old-fashioned notebook on the lunch table.
Challenge your team to add something to the “journal” once a day for the next month and encourage them to reflect on how it affected their work experience and mood.
Get Them On Their Feet
Sitting is the new smoking. Being sedentary all day is dangerous even if you work out. We’ve all read the articles and seen the studies. Now it’s time to change the behavior.
Find ways to get your employees to move during the day:
- encourage walking meetings
- buy standing desks
- start a lunch time walk club
- allow for comfortable dress in the office
- have desk chair races
- whatever it takes!
The goal is to create an environment where movement of any type is encouraged. Make someone who sits at their desk all day suffer from FOMO because the rest of the team is in motion!
Remember: one and done does not engagement create.
Wellness needs to become threaded into your workplace culture so layer several of these ideas (along with other more traditional programming options) to create an ecosystem of wellness in your organization.