Is corporate wellness just a buzzword? Or is it a program? An initiative? For better or worse, it’s all three. At least that's the way many organizations think of it today. Truth is, corporate wellness is thrown around so much today that it has lost most of its meaning. Typical corporate wellness program ideas can range from discounted gym memberships to a complete, all-out, comprehensive wellness plan.
But there are so many other ways to engage your employees with their health.
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that corporate wellness has to be a big expensive endeavor. It can be, yes. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, taking a holistic approach to corporate wellness can be easy. Maybe more importantly it can be affordable. And nobody said it couldn’t be fun.
So to help you grasp the full meaning of corporate wellness, here are our favorite corporate wellness program ideas that are both fun and affordable.
6 Corporate Wellness Ideas Beyond the Gym
1. Walk & Talk Meetings
We all know that walking to and from work increases health. That’s a given. The real health killer at work is sitting still most of the day. Most health experts agree that it’s not sprinting or heavy doses of exercises that produce most of the cardiovascular diseases today, it’s the lack of motion. The trick is to regularly move throughout the day, even if it’s for short periods.
If you want to encourage a healthier office, start holding walking meetings. It’s easy, and even though it might feel a little weird at first, it works. Either have team members walk in place for two minutes out of every ten or have everyone walk in a circle while you brainstorm. Depending on the weather and your location, a stroll around the block or to a nearby park can help break up the monotony of the office setting, while giving everyone a chance to stretch their legs. Tweet this.
2. Company Food Co-Op
Eating right is a big part of every corporate wellness program. From new recipes and cooking classes, visits from nutritionists, companies are finding new ways to encourage healthier diets. Only problem is it can all get expensive.
Instead, start a company food co-op. It’s kind of like a carpool. Small groups of employees band together to bring each other food throughout the week. Each employee takes a day and brings enough food for everyone in the group. With some rules and regulations about what the meals can and can’t contain, you’ve got yourself an endless supply of healthier lunches and, in turn, healthier employees.
3. The Daily Dose of Zen
Somehow mental health gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to corporate wellness. But it’s huge. Promoting mental health in your workplace can counteract a lot of the stress that comes with the daily grind. And a great way to promote mental health is meditation.
Meditation at work doesn’t have to involve yoga mats, soft music, or crossing legs. It can be as simple as having everyone take five minutes to stop whatever they’re doing, power down their monitors and breathe deeply. Easy. And free.
4. The Collective Cookbook
Seems like there are always those people in the office who bring delicious, healthy meals to lunch. And of course we get envious as we stare at them from across the cafeteria with our Big Macs. But every office is full of these people. And most of them are willing to share their secret recipes—most of them.
Consider starting a shared cookbook—something all your employees can access online or through your internal server. Everyone can add recipes and see others' contributions. Set it up with pre-made sections to make it easy to navigate (appetizers, breakfast, lunch, dinner, vegetarian, etc).
5. Auction off a Friday
Nothing promotes wellness like some good healthy (see what we did there?) competition. And while competition is free, nothing dials up that competition more than prizes and awards. Those aren’t free.
Instead, consider giving away a Friday. Have your employees set their own health goals. It doesn’t matter what they are. Every employee that reaches his/her goals by the end of the month gets to take the next Friday off.
6. Joke of The Day
Is laughter really the best medicine? Some research says yes--people who laugh more are generally healthier. Laughter lowers stress hormones which allows the body to function better. To promote laughter at the office, email a joke a day. Of course, you'll want to make sure the jokes are in good taste and not likely to be offensive or inappropriate.