7 Examples of Workplace Wellness Programs Your Employees Will Love

October 18, 2022

As we shift into a post-pandemic world, one of the signs of a high-quality employer is the quality of the support they offer their employees. 

In particular, workplace wellness programs play an outsized role in recruiting and retaining top talent. If you’re not sure what kinds of programs you can implement in your business, consider any of the following great examples:

1. On-Site Fitness Centers

This example might feel a bit dated considering how long it’s been around, but if you have the space and capacity, consider installing exercise equipment, a weight training center, or even a rock climbing wall if the space allows.

These programs are especially useful if your business doesn’t have the ability to offer flexible work options and requires employees to physically come into the office each day.

2. “Quit Smoking” Programs

While it’s no secret that employees who smoke cigarettes cost employers more money as a result of health issues compared to non-smokers, it’s also just good business to encourage employees to make healthy choices about their own well-being.

One example of how to do this comes from Union Pacific, which offers a “smoking cessation” program that involves lifestyle coaching and pharmacological help to its employees. According to the company, this program has helped reduce the number of team members who smoke from 40% in the 1990s, to just 17% by 2007 when the last survey was conducted. 

3. Transit Incentives

Encouraging alternative methods of transportation, including transit, ride-sharing, and cycling has positive impacts both on employee health, and the future of the environment.

One example is Facebook’s bike-sharing program, which is available in its Palo Alto campus. Since the campus is so expansive, the company encourages employees to cycle from one building to another instead of driving. 

If you don’t have a large campus, consider offering reimbursements for employees who take transit or carpool.

4. Yoga Classes

Yoga and meditation are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so incorporating these elements into wellness programs is an excellent way to add some “self care” into employees’ workdays.

The most important element for practicing yoga is having the space to do it, so consider turning conference or break rooms into space to offer a little R&R throughout the workweek.

5. Providing Lunch and Healthy Snacks

Many companies only offer 30 minutes for lunch, which may leave employees feeling like they don’t have the time to run out and buy something healthy.

Instead, consider what Bandwidth does and offer a 90-minute “fitness lunch,” which leaves enough time to play a sport, work out, or head home to make a healthy lunch. 

Google also sets a high bar with a cafeteria stocked with healthy lunches and snacks. Healthy and communal eating programs encourage interaction between teams, and a cafeteria provides one such place where a large and diverse workforce can mingle and connect.

6. Making Space for Naps

In a survey of 2,000 employees working from home conducted by career and jobs website Zippia in late April last year, 33% said they took naps.

Whether this sounds professional or not, studies have shown many benefits to napping and companies like Asana, Facebook, and Zappos have all jumped on the trend of providing “nap rooms” so employees can catch a little shut-eye when they feel like they’ve hit a wall.

Thanks to flexible work schedules, employees can grab a short nap and return to work feeling refreshed and energetic instead of trying to push through (often with less-than-stellar output).

7. Offering On-Site Massages

Many companies offer massages as part of their benefits packages, but this means employees need to take time out of their personal lives to book and attend massage appointments.

Instead, consider bringing a massage therapist into your office on a regular basis. 

Several older studies show work site massage therapy reduces blood pressure, urinary and salivary cortisol levels, and work stress, and raises employee productivity and job satisfaction. 

Employee Wellness and Your Business

Studies from the American Psychological Association have shown that employees who feel valued are more positive and perform better, so while investing in workplace wellness programs may be an up-front cost, this investment will yield long-term benefits for your company for years to come.

You can also encourage employees to sign up for self-paced professional development and wellness programs. This combination of self-directed and on-site wellness incentives will lead to happier, healthier, and more productive outcomes for everyone.