By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
The parallels between a healthy, happy workplace and a productive one are undeniable. Focusing on workplace wellbeing puts your employees first and shows them you not only care, but also that you support them and the things important to them. In return for your support, workers invest in their careers, the workplace, and the company. It’s a positive cycle that fuels growth in individuals and the businesses they work for.
Trying to create a workplace culture rooted in support and wellbeing? Here are 20 simple workplace wellbeing initiatives that can have a big impact on your workers and their attitudes:
- Start a fitness challenge: Whether it’s losing a few pounds or getting those daily steps in, many people have personal fitness goals. Getting the whole office involved validates those goals and gives employees the accountability they need to succeed.
- Schedule work outings: Hit the links for a round of golf, get your heart rate up with some laser tag, or grab a pint with coworkers at a local hotspot. Outside activities can have a big impact on workplace culture.
- Bring pets to work for a day: We love our pets and being around them can lift our spirits. Bringing your pup to work for a day or having an office cat roaming around will make your workplace a little more positive and welcoming.
- Institute flexible work hours: Another workplace wellbeing idea that happens outside of the workplace itself comes from flexible work arrangements. Allow employees to work the hours that are best for them. Flexibility lowers stress and improves mood.
- Switch to standing desks: Sitting is the new smoking. Get people out of their creaky office chairs and upright with standing desks. Mobile standing desks take this wellness idea another step further to focus on good cardiovascular health.
- Put on some music: You don’t have to blast dance party music to give your workplace good vibes. Put on some soft tunes for ambiance or give employees rotating music privileges so they can set the mood in the office.
- Create experiential spaces: We all need a break at work. Instead of a lackluster breakroom, build in experiential spaces. A game room, coffee bar, or yoga studio can lift employees’ spirits and keep them happy and engaged.
- Have one-on-ones: People want to feel cared about and recognized. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports. Encourage open communication. Let them vent and ask questions.
- Take up a cause: A culture of caring sheds positive light on your company and gives employees an opportunity to do good. Pick a charity, event, or cause and work as a team to further it—think food drives, trash pickups, and volunteering.
- Create quiet spaces: A meditation room or yoga studio may be just the place for your employees to calm down and collect themselves. Resetting their headspace is good for mental health and mood, and will keep your workers happy and positive.
- Encourage unplugging: Make it policy for employees to spend some time away from their electronics each day. Encourage them to turn off Wi-Fi, read a book, or let that after-hours email go until the morning. Unplugging enhances wellbeing.
- Welcome children and child care: Making your workplace more accommodating to kids will resonate strongly with parents. Child care is expensive and kids are unpredictable. Employees will appreciate a workplace that understands this.
- Make recognition part of company culture: Recognizing the personal and professional accomplishments of your staff ensures they feel valued. Take time to show them you appreciate them and you’ll boost the wellness culture of your workplace.
- Add a few workplace perks: An espresso machine or Xbox may go a long way in the eyes of employees. These little perks make them feel valued and boost your workplace cool factor.
- Make health and wellness central: What is workplace wellbeing without a culture focused on health and wellness? Make healthy snacks available or offer discounted gym memberships. Show your employees you want them to be healthy and happy.
- Celebrate: From birthdays to work anniversaries, completed projects to national holidays, celebrate! A party is a great balancer for the stress of hard work.
- Improve aesthetics: White walls and fluorescent light bulbs are a huge drain on a person’s energy. Add color, art, and natural light to your workplace and tap into the positive energy they produce. An intriguing workplace instills positive feelings.
- Add plants: Plants purify the air and boost mental wellbeing as a calming decorative feature. A little greenery goes a long way toward improving workplace health and wellness.
- Invest in comfort: Ergonomic desk furniture can reduce health problems associated with poor posture. Swapping out a few uncomfortable chairs or a worn-out couch in the break room will net positive feedback from employees and their bodies.
- Emphasize mental health: Be transparent about supporting good mental health. Enact work-from-home and mental health day policies, while providing access to resources like private rooms or meditation spaces. Put mental health first.
You don’t need to enact all these initiatives to create a workplace centered in employee wellbeing. Pick a few to start and measure the positive effects. It comes down to focusing on your employees and their needs, not just the bottom line. Make this clear and you’ll start to shift the company culture toward mental and physical wellness.
Keep reading: how to improve your organizations workplace ergonomics.