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Incorporate Massage Blog

3 min read

Wellness Incentive Ideas: 6 Ways to Use that Carrot

Feb 4, 2015, 6:00:00 AM

Are you looking for wellness incentive ideas? Aren't we all. Good health is a win-win. Healthy employees are productive employees. Healthy employees also tend to save companies a lot of money. Most importantly, healthy employees are…well, they’re healthy. And I think that's the biggest win of them all.

Good health is good, yes. Settled. No debate there. But when it comes to getting employees healthier, the debate rages on. The stick or the carrot? Employers have tried both, and while the jury is still out on corporate-based wellness programs the initial data suggests that wellness incentives ideas really do work.

Most of us are familiar with traditional wellness incentive ideas around the office. Gift cards, cash incentives, gym reimbursements, and insurance premium discounts are fairly common in most corporate environments today.

But we just love thinking outside the box, and there are a lot of wellness incentive ideas out there that are either cheaper, more effective, or just more fun than the traditional status quo. 


Wellness Incentive Ideas

 Wellness Incentive Ideas that Move the Needle


1. The Biggest Loser

If you’ve seen the show, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, here’s the basic idea in a nutshell: contestants compete against each other to see who can lose the most (relative) weight over a specific period of time. The winner (or biggest loser) takes home a massive cash prize. What makes it great is the competition. 

Some healthy (see what we did there?) competition in the office is a good thing. Why? Because competition is an extreme motivator. If you want your employees to get in shape, establish your own version of the biggest loser where you work. The great thing about the concept is that everyone can participate—even those people who only need to lose a few pounds—because the results are all relative. Reward the winner with something great: a day at the spa, a year pass to a gym membership, or anything that keeps them engaged for the duration of the competition. 


2. Team Challenges

Drawing on the same competitive spirit, consider dividing your office into natural teams (i.e. management vs staff, creative vs account, or LA vs New York). In this version of things, divide each team into categories: weight loss, smoking prevention, exercise, etc., and develop metrics and competitors within each. Create metrics and you’ve got an Olympics of health that will give your employees all the motivation they need to reach their goals. 


3. Bike/Walk For Charity

Find a local charity, or even better, let your employees choose their own favorite charity and then set up a simple metric that lets employees earn money for the charity simply by biking to work or walking during their lunch break. For example, each day you bike to work earns $5 towards the charity. Every half hour you walk earns the same amount. This gives everyone in the office a nice excuse to get a little more active.


4. The Health Jar

The swear jar—a quarter for every time you swear—is a great, if not entertaining, motivator. Try applying the same principle to health. Have your employees pick a vice or a goal and donate money whenever they reach a milestone. (My personal favorite is demonizing soda...) From three days without sugar to five pounds loss, when the health jar reaches its predetermined goal, take your employees out for a company party.


5. Set Walking Goals

For some reason we all do extremely well when things are quantified. When we know that 4 laps equals a mile, we’re more likely to run that mile before we quit. Try measuring distances between points within your office and outside of it. 10,000 trips up the stairs equals summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, for example. Or perhaps more realistically, 5 trips to the local watering hole equals 2 miles. When your employees understand what they’re accomplishing, they’ll be more motivated to work towards their goals.

Related: Corporate Wellness Ideas: 5 HR Leaders on What Works Best [video] 


6. Chair Massage

Of course, I am probably a little biased, but our clients use chair massage all the time as an employee morale booster, so I would be remiss not to mention it here. Plus it's great for reducing stress around the office. But other wellness-related incentives also work well, like corporate yoga or some personal training sessions. Be creative and work it!

Related: Proven Ways to Boost Employee Morale: Why Office Massage Delivers


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Greg Fox
Written by Greg Fox

After globetrotting for years as a freelance travel writer, he met the woman of his dreams and settled down. He now writes a good mix of advertising, marketing, and PR copy for Google, Adobe Systems, DC shoes, The Northface, and Verizon. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.