Employee wellness program ideas for your office

Employee wellness program ideas for your office
Employee wellness programs have become a staple in many companies as a way to attract top talent, keep them happy and productive, and decrease employee turnover.
In fact, 80% of employees at companies with robust health and wellness programs feel engaged and cared for by their employers.
The key to having a successful corporate wellness program is encouraging overall wellbeing while still keeping it fun. If you can’t get your team engaged then your wellness program ideas will quickly lose steam. So make your initiatives fun, try new ideas and see what your team values the most.
Below is a list of the best employee wellness program ideas that you can easily implement at your office.
A lot of the wellness ideas listed here are ones we’ve used ourselves and have seen the benefits firsthand. Many others were contributed to us from awesome companies that know how to take care of their teams.

Here’s a quick list of employee wellness program ideas:
What's your favorite wellness program idea?
  • Create a healthy office cookbook;
  • Provide employees with healthy office snacks;
  • Publish a workplace wellness newsletter;
  • Create standing desks;
  • Incentivize smoking cessation;
  • Create flexible work hours;
  • Offer one remote working day each week;
  • Join a local sports league;
  • Host on-site yoga classes;

Whether you’re a small startup or large corporation, there’s bound to be something here that will fit for your organization.

Nutrition and General Health

  • Create a healthy office cookbook
Ask employees to share their favorite healthy recipes. Compile the best ones into a collection and share around the office via a downloadable document in email or a simple printed booklet.
  • Monthly healthy potluck
Create a sign-up sheet with 2 columns (name and what you’re bringing) and post it to the fridge in the main break room for people to list what they’re bringing.
  • Provide your employees with healthy office snacks
Healthy snacks aid in weight control, improve mood, and boost energy, making it a no brainer to provide for your office. If you’re already providing snacks to your employees, consider making the switch to healthier alternatives by becoming a member of an office snack delivery service.
  • Bring in a chef to teach people an easy cooking recipe
Hire a chef who specializes in healthy food to come in for a cooking demonstration.
  • Offer almond milk in addition to regular creamers and milk
Be mindful of the vegans and dairy intolerant folks.
  • Debunk the common healthy eating myths
There’s a lot of marketing around the food industry that tricks people into thinking certain foods or diets are healthy, when in fact they are not. Address some of the most common nutrition mistakes that you can share with your team.
  • Publish a workplace wellness newsletter highlighting the best fitness, nutrition, and educational content from around the web
Setup separate google alerts for “fitness”, “nutrition” and “wellness education” and select “only the best results”. Compile the best articles each week or month into one email and send out for your employees to enjoy.
  • Stop offering low quality snacks
If you offer your team snacks or meals with no nutritional value, make the switch to healthier alternatives. At the very least provide a majority of healthy items for your office and just a few traditional junk food items.
  • Stop offering soda and sugar-laden drinks
Regular consumption of sugar-filled and artificially sweetened beverages is detrimental to our health. Make the switch to healthier alternatives like minimally sweetened teas and flavored waters. If you’re afraid of alienating the Diet Coke lovers, impose a “tax” on soda by charging 0.25 euro.
  • Create standing desks
Some furniture companies offer adjustable-height standing desks that allow users to easily switch between standing and sitting while working.
  • Visit a local farmer’s market for lunch
Offer to pay for all organic produce employees decide to purchase.
  • Order in lunch for the office, especially during crunch time on big projects
Reward your team for putting in the extra hours by ordering in lunch for them.
  • Community Supported Agriculture
A lot of larger farms offer community supported agriculture programs where you invest in their farm, and they bring you fresh produce weekly. Many companies actually do this for their employees, and if you get enough people from your company signed up they might deliver right to your office. It’s a convenient way to get some fresh, healthy food in your fridge while supporting local farmers.
  • Swap the old junk food vending machines for a healthy micro market
Companies across the nation are replacing their old vending machines with new, healthy micro markets. Micro markets are unattended, self-checkout mini-convenience stores built right into an office’s breakroom. Employees have the added benefit of fresh meals and produce, in addition to being able to view nutritional information before making a purchase.
  • Show your employees how they can improve their health
Bring in a specialist who offers biometric screenings and health assessments, and more importantly, can give people a roadmap to improved health.
  • Hold a health fair
Invite local vendors and companies to your office for a day to talk about nutrition and wellness activities. You should have no problem at all persuading local businesses to attend, as it’s a great way for them to promote their service.
  • Incentivize smoking cessation
In a study conducted by The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School, employees who were financially incentivized to quit smoking were 3 times more successful at ditching the habit than non-incentivized employees.
  • Post tips for relieving back pain and eye strain
Sitting at a desk staring at a computer for hours on end is the fast track to back pain and eye strain. Not only this, but strong confident postures affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, allowing you to be taken more seriously. Print out and post infographic for better posture and for eye strain on your company’s bulletin board.
  • Survey your employees to find out what is working and what is not
Don’t waste time and energy on corporate wellness initiatives that employees don’t find engaging or beneficial. Use Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create a survey to collect feedback from employees.


  • Encourage creativity with collaboration spaces
Find an empty office or unused area around your office and turn it into a place where people can meet and collaborate on projects. Install some comfortable furniture so people can set up shop away from their desks and let the creativity flow.
  • Create flexible work hours
Everyone likes more flexibility with work because it allows him or her to structure their day to their lifestyle. Kick the habit of mandated working hours (i.e. 9am – 5pm with a half hour for lunch) and focus more on effectiveness. What matters most is the quality and effectiveness of someone’s work.
  • Offer one remote working day each week
Give your responsible and reliable team members the option of working remotely 1 day out of the week. Remote work allows people to work more productively, eliminate long commutes, and spend more time with their family.
  • Share personal goals on a whiteboard
Get a whiteboard where people only write their non-work related wellness goals. Things like “Go to the gym 3 times per week”, “play basketball 4 times per month”, or “read 10 books this year” are some good ones to get people started.
  • 20% time
Google used to offer “20% time”, which allowed employees to take one day a week to work on side projects (provided it advanced Google in some way). The program led to the developments of Gmail and Adsense, so it could give your team some time to let their true creative genius shine and also – to find more time to be physically active.

Fitness and Physical Activity

  • Join a local sports league
Google softball, kickball, basketball, or indoor soccer league in your city to see which organizations offer co-ed sports leagues. Offer to pay for some or all of the league’s entrance fee for people interested in participating.
  • On-site yoga classes to relieve stress
Invite a yoga instructor into your office every couple of weeks to guide the team through a yoga class.
  • Participate in a 5K run
Find a 5K in your community and offer to cover entry fee for anyone who chooses to participate.
  • Turn meetings into walking meetings
You sit all day, so why not make your meetings a walking meeting instead? Research has suggested that walking makes people more creative.
  • Put some scooters in the office
Scooters encourage people to move around the office. And let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw someone ride a scooter with a frown?
  • Keep some footballs, hula hoops, and volleyballs around the office
Make the office fun and encourage people to take a break and rejuvenate.
  • Start large group meetings with some physical activity
20 air squats or jumping-jacks should do the trick, and it’ll get the blood flowing for a more productive meeting.
  • Subsidize wearable technology that helps employees track their activity
Wearable technologies can help people monitor their fitness levels, track their sleep, and challenge friends who also have the device.
  • Post a note near the elevator reminding people to take the stairs instead
Taking the stairs is easy and reachable physical activity, available at almost all buildings.
  • Offer discounts to a local gym
Many gyms will offer a discount if you sign-up enough employees. Reach out to some local gyms in the area and ask for discounted group rates.

Challenges and Contests

  • The Mile-A-Day Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they ran at least 1 mile. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
  • The 7 Hours of Sleep Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many nights they slept at least 7 hours. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
  • The 8 Glasses of Water Challenge
For 30 days, employees track how many days they drank at least 8 glasses (8 ounces) of water. The winner at the end of the month gets a prize.
  • Monthly and weekly fitness challenges
Throw down a challenge of the month – most push-ups, most miles run, most miles biked.
  • Healthy cooking contests
Have your staff make their favorite healthy recipes and bring them into work for a cooking contest voted on by the rest of the office.
  • Hold impromptu contests
Encourage healthier lifestyles with impromptu contests. Who brought the healthiest lunch or who can do the most pushups?
  • Schedule recess
Pick a 15 time-slot in the afternoon for everyone to get away from his or her desk. Go outside, socialize with each other, and enjoy some fresh air!
  • Encourage employees to schedule break time hourly
Studies have shown that taking breaks is a good thing for our productivity, so encourage people to schedule a small 5-10 minute break every 90 minutes to rejuvenate and come back strong.

Just For Fun

  • Attire themed days of the week
Pick a day of the week for people to dress up in a certain theme. Our office recently started something called “Aloha Fridays” where team members wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts to work. Theme days are a great way to boost employee morale and engagement.
  • Put on some tunes
Play some music through speakers around the office. Studies show that music improves mood, which can help boost productivity and creativity. Opt for music without lyrics at an ambient noise level.
  • Encourage public transportation, walking or biking
A company that deals with mobile marketplace for auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts, doesn’t provide parking spaces to associates who live within 2 miles of their office in order to promote biking and walking. In inclement weather the company covers the cost of a taxi, Lyft, or Uber ride for the walkers and bikers.
  • Incorporate plants around the office
There are many health benefits associated with having a “Green office”, including fresher air, improved emotional state, and a reduction of office illnesses.
  • Setup a chair race
Organize an impromptu chair race. What’s the worst that could happen?
  • Use holidays as an excuse to get healthy
The holidays always seem to be an excuse to eat food that’s not good for us. Instead of the traditional junk food, offer green juices/smoothies on St. Patrick’s Day, red bell peppers and hummus on Valentine’s Day, turkey jerky around Thanksgiving, blackberry and orange fruit salad on Halloween.
  • Appoint an Employee Wellness “Governor”
Make it fun and hold an election every quarter, 6 months, or year where the whole office gets to vote on the new woman or man in charge
  • Tea for the soul
Lay out some hot water, tea bags, and some healthy treats. Google “inspirational quotes” and write them down on strips of paper. Put all the quotes in a bowl. Invite people to take a 15-minute break to enjoy a cup of tea and snack and have everyone grab 1 quote from the bowl.
  • Start a facebook group that highlights hikes around your city
Ask people to submit photos from their hikes and highlight trails they walked. A facebook group will also easily allow people to organize group hikes.
  • Put up a wellness wall
Create a wellness wall in the office where employees can post things like healthy eating tips, exercise routines, etc.
  • Bring in a guest speaker to talk wellness
Hire a speaker to come in and discuss a corporate wellness initiative like meditation, nutrition, exercise, or personal development. People are much more likely to buy-in when the advice comes from a professional.
  • Ask employees to share their successes with the team
At the end of each quarter, ask employees to submit their biggest wins for the quarter. Compile the best ones by department and publish it to the entire team.


Regardless of the size of your business, there are several reasons you and your employees can benefit from an increased focus on employee health and happiness. Employee wellness programs are a vital component in attracting top talent, keeping them happy, and decreasing employee turnover and absenteeism. Many of the best companies to work for already offer their employees the awesome wellness ideas listed above. Now it’s your turn to improve the well-being of your workspace.


Occupation: Working


Age: Adult