As any good employer, you’re probably worried about your employees mental health and wellness. And therefore, you’ve most likely been thinking of initiatives and ideas to improve or maintain a positive workplace. Truth is, a welcoming company culture can go a long way, but sometimes employees need more. And that’s when we have to start thinking about employee wellness programs.

What are employee wellness programs?

Employee wellness programs are activities and policies designed to improve and maintain the general health and wellness, both mental and physical, of your employees. These programs can range in importance and size, and they are made to fit the needs of employees.

Why are employee wellness programs necessary to boost morale?

Employee wellness programs are necessary because they are focused on employee health. Promoting them helps enhance employees’ mental health, and allows them to feel cared for and appreciated at their workplace. All of this mixed together is bound to have many benefits!

  • Enhances employees’ mental health: Employee wellness can affect mental health, but also physical health. When employees are subjected to high levels of stress, their physical health can be jeopardized and make them more prone to illness. Implementing wellness programs is a great idea, but take into account that there are other ways to enhance employees’ mental health.
  • Improves employee engagement: When companies work hard to provide a culture that focuses on implementing employee wellness programs, they tend to have more engaged workforces. Realizing their company cares about them, helps employees feel more connected to the organization and their coworkers. If you’re looking to improve your employee engagement, there are other employee engagement ideas you can implement in the workplace.
  • Increases productivity: Employees with a healthy mental health and mindset are more likely to feel more productive in their workdays. They feel rested, energized and motivated to complete their work.
  • Attracts new talent: Employees are increasingly more interested in learning what companies can offer them apart from monetary benefits. A company with a positive company culture that promotes wellness programs is surely going to attract great talent.
Microsoft employees cheering at the office

15 Employee wellness programs

Here are some ideas on how to contribute to your employee wellness with these 15 employee wellness programs.

1. Employee assistance programs

Before you plan any specific employee wellness programs, why not set a specific person or team your people can approach for help?

Now, we mean this in the most general sense. Sometimes, teams may not have the best relationship with their managers, or superiors, and they may not know who to go to for help. Share information on who to go for help with careers, workplace problems, or even personal issues that can affect their work.

This is something that would usually be approached by the HR team. However, sharing information with your team on who to go to specifically can help clarify and motivate people to actually ask for help. After all, it’s hard enough asking for help, make it easy for your teams!

2. Family support programs

If you have a few employees, it’s likely some of them have families, children or responsibilities at home. Think of them when setting out employee wellness programs.

You could offer support to families by helping them pay for childcare, or giving them a few hours off for school pick ups or trips to the park. Offering flexitime helps them work around their family’s schedule as well. Moreover, 64% of global business leaders said flexible working had a positive impact on productivity! 

3. Fitness programs

Exercise produces endorphins, and makes your people happy! Include a good fitness program within your wellness programs plan that reminds and helps people work out every week.

This program does not have to mean the addition of a gym to your office. It can be as simple as offering a gym membership to your employees, or also organizing group exercise sessions for your teams. Exercising together will surely help create positive relationships!

You could also create group chats in your company chat for people to share fitness goals, challenges, and milestones. A little bit of competition and peer support will motivate them!

Yoga fitness program at the office as part of wellness programs

4. Transit programs

If you work at an office, it is likely your employees spend money on public transport or car fuel everyday. Why not cover this cost for them? 

The time your employees spend commuting to work is part of their workday. Make this easier for them by offering support to pay for their fuel or public transport fees. 

5. Financial education programs

Stressing about money is never good, and always scary. Your employees all have very different lives, and various places where their money goes. So why not organize a few workshops on budgeting? Teach them how to make the most of their benefits and salary, and how to put their money in the right places, like in investments.

You can use these workshops to evaluate your employees’ needs and consider new benefits or salary upgrades. 

6. Shareholder programs

Part of your employee wellness programs planning should be finding ways to help your employees earn more! Keeping and buying shares for your company is an easy way for your employees to earn money as your company grows.

Teach your employees about your shareholder program and make it easy for them to buy their own stock and shares. Plus, earning more will surely motivate them to work hard to help company growth!

Shareholder program as part of wellness programs in the workplace

7. Health programs

Even in countries with public health insurance, there are many health services that aren’t covered or aren’t easily accessible. These could be a dentist, or physiotherapy, for example, depending on the country.

As an employer, why not make these health services accessible for your employees? Create a health program that covers services for your employees, so they can get them for free or for a discount. You could run an employee survey and collect real-time insights to find out which services your team would prefer.

8. Mental health programs

Speaking of accessible health services, it’s important to take mental health into account when defining employee wellness programs. Did you know that 82% of employees diagnosed with mental illness do not inform about it in their companies?

Make sure to offer mental health insurance so your employees have easy access to therapy and other services. Remember, asking for help is hard enough, make it easier for your team!

However, your mental health employee wellness programs should go beyond insurance. That is, you should be spreading awareness of mental health issues in the workplace. Sometimes, people may discard stress or burnout as “normal”, and therefore never assist their colleagues, or get help themselves. But that’s not how it should be! 

We must always be aware of it and put all our efforts into preventing burnout. By spreading awareness of mental health issues and their impact you can help create a safe space for your employees to speak out and find resources.

You could find mental health ambassadors that can speak to suffering employees and redirect them to the right resources. Also, workshops on mental health and coping mechanisms can be good to help prevent these issues.

9. Nutrition programs

Healthy eating is key in the prevention of illness and disease. Your employees spend most of their time at work, so make sure to promote a healthy life in your workplace

If you work at an office, your nutrition program could include offering healthy food options in your cafeteria. Include other options that fit dietary needs, like vegan, vegetarian, or allergy menus. 

Now, whether you work at home or in the office, you could also offer workshops on healthy living and eating. If you can, bring in nutritionists and professionals that can answer your employees’ questions and give the best advice.

An employee eating healthy at the office

10. Education programs

Help your employees further their education with employee wellness programs that help them progress in their career. If you can afford it, offer scholarships and send them to university to get a master’s or foundation degree.

And if not, don’t fret! A positive education program can also focus on your people’s skills and offer upskilling courses and training. We recommend running an employee survey so you know exactly what your team would like, and then you can start planning!

11. Rest areas

Rested employees are happy employees, so make sure to include rest areas in your employee wellness programs. 

If you work at an office, set up rest areas for your teams to sit and relax during their work day. You could create a sofa room, a TV room, or even an arcade or video game room for your employees to play together and wind down after a difficult day.

12. Wellness trips

Building relationships and getting out of the house is important for employee wellness! Bring your teams together by organizing short day trips.

These could be done during work days, or during the weekend. Plans could include hiking, bowling, escape rooms, laser tag, etc. These wellness activities are great for team building, but also to help get people out of the house. 

A lot of employees may not organize these activities with their own friends due to lack of time or different schedules. And people who are new to your company or the city will surely thank you for these opportunities to make friends and find their footing in their team!

13. Team building programs

Like we said, building relationships is a great way to promote employee wellness. And even if you don’t go out with your employees weekly, you should still help build friendships in the workplace.

You could set up team-building meetings where everyone can chat and discuss their interests. If you want fun ideas, you could also do pizza parties, or happy hours during lunch on a Friday!

Best of all, if you are not working in the office, you can still organize remote team building activities.

Team building activities with colleagues

14. Diversity committees

Promoting diversity is essential to employee wellness. Build a diversity committee that spreads awareness about the importance of diversity, and the impact of racism, homophobia, and discrimination. 

Make sure to offer safe spaces for your diverse employees, and other allies that may want to contribute and educate themselves on diversity. You could create groups or committees for LGBT employees, women in the office, POC teams, etc.

15. Pension programs

Rested employees are happy employees, so make sure to include rest areas in your employee wellness programs. 

If you work at an office, set up rest areas for your teams to sit and relax during their work day. You could create a sofa room, a TV room, or even an arcade or video game room for your employees to play together and wind down after a difficult day.

Launch a wellness survey to let employees decide

The most important thing to take away from all of these programs is that they should be focused on your employees. That is, only implement those employee wellness programs that fit your workforce. For example, if you have a generally young workforce who doesn’t plan on having children any time soon, it wouldn’t make sense to start a family support plan, would it?

So now, how do you make sure you’re always aware of the needs of your employees? By putting focus on their feedback and requests Create new channels of communication through regular feedback loops by launching employee surveys with tools like Nailted. Understand what your team really needs and start building the employee wellness programs they like!