- Wellness at work is now a top priority, but it doesn’t need to take up the lion’s share of your company budget.
- Happily, there are various wellness programs for the workplace that can be easily implemented at a low cost.
- From healthy eating, to office plants, to walking meetings, here are 8 low-cost wellbeing ideas to implement in your workplace.
Wellness has become a focal point of work. As the lines between work and life continue to blur, organizations are prioritizing wellness to attract and retain talent, but also to boost productivity by contributing to the overall wellbeing of their employees.
Benefits of Addressing Wellness at Work
- Increased productivity
- Increased engagement
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Lower presenteeism rates
- Talent attraction and retention
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased job and life satisfaction
- Improved business performance
You can read more about the benefits of workplace wellness and their impact on people and businesses here.
Making Wellness Programs Work with Low Budgets
While wellness has become a priority for organizations and employees alike, not all organizations have the necessary resources to implement personalized, tech-enabled solutions. Luckily, there are various program ideas that can be easily implemented at a low cost.
Though not personalized, these programs can still make a difference in a person’s life. When implementing wellness programs, keep in mind that there are different dimensions of wellness, so variety is key. While some people might be concerned about their physical health (weight, fitness), others might want to work on their financial or mental health.
8 Effective, Low-Cost Workplace Wellness Ideas
1. Provide a List of Healthy Dining Options Within a 2 Mile Radius
The link between food, mood, and productivity has been extensively studied. What we eat affects our entire body, from our thoughts and movements, to our heartbeat, senses, and emotions. Healthy eating, therefore, is not only important for our physical health, but our overall health.
Many working people struggle with meal planning and sticking to a healthy diet. Even fewer people have the opportunity to go back home to eat lunch. Providing a list of healthy dining options within a 2 mile radius can be an effective way for workers to stick to a healthy diet even when they have to eat out for lunch.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider reaching out to these restaurants or cafes to see if they’d be willing to offer discounts, catering, or other types of promotion for your employees or workspace members.
Additionally, you can also provide healthy snacks for people within your workplace walls. Here are some ideas.
2. Add Plants to Your Workplace
This is an easy one and there really is no such thing as too many plants. Plants in the workplace contribute to wellness in several ways; they can help reduce unwanted noise levels, they help purify the air and eliminate toxins, they boost our mood (seriously, just looking at the color green can go a long way in helping us feel better and refreshed), they increase levels of positive energy, they help reduce stress, and can even lower blood pressure levels.
Adding plants to the workplace is a great way to liven the space up and to contribute to the overall wellbeing of people. Even if you aren’t one of the most talented people when it comes to taking care of plants, there are plenty that are easy to care for.
You can check out the 7 best low-maintenance plants for indoor environments here.
Pro tip: embrace variety. Incorporate plants large and small and from different families; it’ll make your workplace stand out!
3. Organize Fitness Challenges
The human body was made for movement and unfortunately, we’re not moving enough today, least of all at work.
To encourage movement, consider organizing fitness challenges — but make participation in them voluntary. (Pro tip: if you have the budget for it, consider some incentives)
Some fitness challenges or program ideas:
- Monthly steps challenge
- Run a 5K, 10K, or half marathon as a company/group
- Organize a biking group during the weekends
- Daily and weekly burpee, push up, or plank challenge
- 30-day ab challenges
- Healthy habit-building challenge (drink more water, eat healthy meals, quit smoking, etc.)
4. Let’s Talk about It
Research has found that one of the best ways to support mental health in the workplace is to talk about it. Not only will it help reduce the stigma around mental health, but it is also a great way to support those battling mental health issues.
Having a weekly session where people can talk about how they’re feeling or how they’re dealing with something stressful, can go a long way in improving the wellbeing of those at work. Talking is an effective way to release tension, sort our feelings, and put things into perspective.
More often than not, people just need someone to listen to them; they’re not necessarily looking for advice. Though this doesn’t solve the problem from the root, it can be a great first step to help people feel better and happier, and less alone.
5. Encourage Walking Meetings
Here’s the kicker, not only will walking meetings encourage people to move more throughout the day, but they are a great way to ensure that meetings stay short and on point.
For people to actually have walking meetings, organizations need to lead by example, starting with C-suite executives and managers.
Pro tip: if your workspace has an outdoor area, consider having walking meetings there. Alternatively, if the weather permits, consider walking to a nearby park.
6. Be Dog-Friendly
Research has found that having dogs at work can:
- Reduce stress
- Increase teamwork and morale
- Encourage regular breaks
- Increase productivity
- Increase employee retention
- Decrease employee absence
Though it can be as easy as letting people bring their four-pawed friends to work, you should consider having a solid pet policy in place before you welcome any dogs.
Some things to keep in mind include:
- All dogs need to be well trained
- Consider having a trial period for each dog
- Enable dog-free areas (some people are allergic to dogs or simply don’t like them)
- Have a liability policy (what happens if a dog chews a chair or desk?)
7. Ask employees or workspace members if they’d like to host a guided fitness class
Is there someone in your workplace who is certified to teach yoga, meditation, or zumba?
If so, consider asking them if they’d be willing to host a weekly or monthly class at work. Or alternatively if they’d like to guide a 15-minute active break session during the day.
Again, the idea here is to get people moving and oftentimes doing so in a group setting can motivate people to want to participate.
8. Start a Book Club Focused on Health and Wellbeing
There are plenty of benefits to reading more. It increases creativity, enhances fluency and comprehension, improves our working memory, heightens brain connectivity, and expands our attention span.
One way to help workers improve their overall wellbeing, at work and at home, is by hosting a book club that focuses on health and wellbeing. One of the great benefits of this approach is that you can tackle each and every one of the 7 dimensions of wellness.
For example one month you can read a book on financial wellness, another month on how to improve emotional intelligence, the next on strategies to reduce stress, and even how to practice mindfulness.
Due to the diverse nature of the books you can read, people can sign up for each month depending on the chosen book. It’s also a great way to boost engagement and encourage people to bond with one another beyond work conversations.