We spend roughly a third of our time engaged in work-related tasks, and for employees in many industries, work stays on the brain even when they’re off the clock. In light of the Great Resignation, organizations across the country are putting their heads together to come up with ways to retain the workers they have and attract new talent.
Senior HR leaders increasingly rate employee wellbeing at work as a top priority for their company. At a recent Future Workplace Virtual Summit, Forbes surveyed senior leaders on what their organizations have done to promote wellness at work. Nearly 70% offer flexible work environments, and almost half of the companies surveyed have expanded their workplace wellness initiatives, including offering empathy training, free online counseling and meditation apps.
Employee wellness has come a long way in the past few years, now encompassing emotional, social and financial wellness as well as physical health. Employee and team wellbeing means the people in your organization are engaged at work, feel a sense of purpose and have social and professional support – especially important during the pandemic.
Here, we offer some ideas for employee wellbeing initiatives that can bring wellness to the workplace – and beyond.
1. Get Mindful with a Meditation Club
Why it’s a great initiative: There’s no denying that meditation has numerous benefits for mental and emotional wellbeing. It reduces stress, anxiety and depression and improves sleep and focus. Regular meditation even inspires deeper connections with others. A meditation club is an employee wellness initiative that’ll keep on giving.
The problem it solves: When it comes to getting the maximum benefits from meditation, consistency is key. A guided meditation club provides employees the instruction, guidance, and confidence they need to develop and continue their own meditation practice.
How to introduce it: Carve out a quiet space in the office where employees can go to meditate, contemplate, stretch, or just sit still. Book a meditation workshop on the Thriver marketplace, or choose a multi-session program like the Pause+Expand’s Meditation Club, a four-session guided meditation series that incorporates a relaxing sound bath experience.
2. Build loyalty with an employee lunch program
Why it’s a great initiative: Nobody would disagree that a well-fed employee is a happy employee. Even better, the team that eats together collaborates better together, and they tend to be more productive, and have higher morale than employees who eat in isolation.
The wellness problem it solves: During lunch time, employees often hole up at their desk to eat – and some might skip eating altogether if they’re busy. Whether you set up a monthly catered breakfast, offer an ongoing “Friday Feast” buffet or sack lunch, or contract a health-food truck to park outside for an hour each day, your team will not only enjoy the perk of being fed tasty vittles, but they’re more likely to have fun, interact, and strengthen their relationships.
How to introduce it: Decide how often you’d like to serve your team, then scour the Catering & Pantry section of the Thriver marketplace for ideas. A weekly buffet? Daily snack delivery? Bi-monthly catered breakfast? Narrow down your choices with our polling feature, which lets your employees vote for their food preferences. Then, unveil the good news with a note of invitation tucked into a customized snack box, hand-delivered to their desks.
3. Reduce workplace burnout with a stress management initiative
Why it’s a great initiative: A stress management program is an ideal way to get ahead of stress in the workplace before it turns into full-blown burnout, which hampers productivity, causes attendance issues and leaves employees feeling defeated and depleted. The Centers for Disease Control stresses that combating workplace stress requires a multi-pronged approach that includes stress management education and a pleasant, harmonious work environment.
The wellness problem it solves: Burnout doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a condition that increases over time after repeated periods of high stress. Often we don’t see burnout approaching, because we don’t recognize the signs. When you know what to look out for, you can address your stress with a set of strategies to head off burnout before it hits you.
How to introduce it: Invite your employees to learn strategies to reduce their stress at work – and harness “good” stress for improved creativity and productivity. Choose a Thriver Series like Divon Academy’s Stress Buster & Stronger Teams Series or the Stress & Burnout Series by FreshTalk Wellness. These event series are designed as a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly program depending on what suits your team best, with several workshops that cover different aspects of stress management and burnout prevention.
4. Show faith in high performers with leadership training
Why it’s a great initiative: A professional development course gives employees the tools they need to work smarter, and it helps prepare them for a leadership role. It also shows them that you’re willing to invest in their future and growth with the company.
The wellness problem it solves: Purpose and meaning are important for overall health and wellbeing at work. When you invest in your employees’ professional development, they feel more engaged with their job, which leads to higher satisfaction and productivity – the foundation of wellbeing at work.
How to introduce it: There are many leadership development courses to choose from on Thriver. Consider the Divon Academy’s Young Leadership & New Manager Program, an event series that helps them develop emotional intelligence, solutions-oriented problem-solving and other crucial leadership skills.
5. Implement fun team activities to enhance workplace morale
Why it’s a great initiative: Enjoying time together away from work is a fun way to build team unity. It gives colleagues a chance to get to know each other apart from their daily tasks. Time spent in cooperative and competitive leisure activities is known to improve overall wellbeing and increase engagement at work.
The wellness problem it solves: Team activities promote team bonding and help reduce feelings of isolation. They’re a fun, approved diversion from work – or a way to see coworkers in the evening, which is always a nice change. These interactions make teams stronger and more empathetic toward one another.
How to introduce it: Send out a poll to get a feel for what types of activities your team likes, and browse the marketplace – it’s a huge repository of fun activities for employees to choose from – your team could do a virtual escape room, enjoy a game night experience, participate in a wine tasting workshop, or an arts & crafts or culinary class. Send out an invitation to your crew for activity sign-up, or bring it up over snacks in the break room at lunch.
6. Host employee retreats to regroup and reset
Why it’s a great initiative: It doesn’t have to be a weekend trip to the mountains or an island resort getaway – although those ideas aren’t discouraged! The point of a retreat is to gather together with an agenda and an objective – and part of that is to have fun!
The wellness problem it solves: Retreats are a great opportunity for one-on-one and group discussions that spur creative thinking and foster a sense of community. They can help reduce feelings of isolation that some employees may feel – especially if they’re working from home. An employee retreat is a good way to build relationships, make connections, and find a deeper meaning in work.
How to introduce it: Putting together a retreat – even a small one – requires some planning. Engage your employees in choosing a theme or topic to explore – and what sorts of activities they’d like to participate in. Browse the marketplace for pre-planned retreats, or choose a provider who can plan a retreat based on your specific needs and wants.
7. Increase motivation by recognizing your team’s work
Why it’s a great initiative: Trust and respect by managers and leadership ranks very highly on the list of job satisfaction motivators. Employee appreciation days give you the opportunity to show your team how much you value them and their contributions to the company.
The wellness problem it solves: If a worker feels unnoticed, unheard and under-appreciated it can lead to higher levels of work-related stress and lower satisfaction at work. This can accelerate the onset of burnout. When workers feel appreciated, they’re more energized and engaged.
How to introduce it: There are countless ways to show your employees you appreciate them. Give out gifts or swag to acknowledge exceptional performance, or hand out trophies or plaques during a quarterly awards lunch. Browse the marketplace for ideas, and create a new tradition that your team can look forward to.
Spread the Word!
An employee wellness initiative is only successful if people participate. The key to boosting interest and participation is marketing, marketing, marketing. Host a festive “pop-up” to introduce an initiative, make posters, give swag to those who sign up or hold a contest. Promote the initiative or event regularly to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind and get them interested and excited. And – of course – let them know there will be snacks!