Wellness Programs Matter. Here’s How We Set Them Up for Success

Wellness Programs Matter. Here’s How We Set Them Up for Success

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If we’ve learned one thing over the past year, it’s that health and wellness are foundational not only to personal quality of life, but also to organizational health. Now, employers who really care about their employee experience are looking for new ways to show it by ramping up the way they invest in employee health and wellness programs.

Besides being good for employees, health and wellness is good for business, too. Healthy employees miss fewer days of work, are more productive, and are more willing and able to contribute their highest self to their job. 

Are you looking for some new ways to level up your wellness programs this year? 

How to set up your wellness program for success

  1. The best way to demonstrate that health and wellness is important to you is to make it easy for employees to take care of themselves during the workday.
  2. To really prioritize health and wellness, creating a system of incentivized behaviors is key.
  3. Don’t forget about mental health!

The first fitness challenge we introduced to our company, last spring, was a great way for everyone to adjust to the feeling of disruption brought on by the pandemic, and to prioritize health along the way. Participation was high, and it helped us to have fun together while we all transitioned to work-from-home life.

So at the beginning of 2021,  we wanted to do it again. This time we made the challenge team-based rather than individual-based. The team with the most activity for the month won. However, as cheesy as it may sound, we were all winners, because the challenge motivated so many of us to refocus and get the new year started off in a healthy way.

Our rewards program is all about incentivizing behaviors that make our people—and our company—thrive. We do that by offering Incentives for things that reinforce company values and goals, or healthy behaviors like exercise. Some of those bonuses are about maintaining general health, such as getting teeth cleanings, eye exams, a physical or a flu shot,  If it makes our people healthier, we want them to do it.

Since COVID-19 hit, we added some new Incentives. One is called “Break A Sweat,” where employees can earn points daily for 30 mins of cardio. Another is “Take A Walk,” which incentivizes taking breaks and moving throughout the workday. There’s also the “COVID-15,” (a play on the “Freshman 15”) which incentivizes healthy behaviors that combat the pandemic’s stress. Anyone can earn a certain number of points for 1-3 hours of exercise, more for 3-6 hours, or even more for 6+ hours. 

After employees have racked up their Incentives, they can redeem their earned bonuses for things like fun swag and other products from the rewards catalog. This year, we added some new wellness-related rewards as options, like an Apple watch and gym passes.

We also decided to partner with a local yoga studio, to offer classes during the lunch hour. That’s been another great way to say, Okay — exercise is important enough that we will give you classes, as well as set aside the time for you to take it. It’s also been a great way for us to stay connected to small businesses in our community that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Incentives that boost mental health is another serious consideration. Moving your body and taking breaks from your screen is a huge part of mental health, but there are other elements as well. For some people it could be meditation, seeing a therapist, or just making a point to connect with someone outside of your household once a day. 

Make wellness a priority

This year more than ever, we all need to de-stress by taking breaks, moving our bodies, and getting outside for fresh air as much as possible. As hard as it is some days to step away from the screen, or get off that couch, making it a priority will make us all better humans and team members.


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