Employee Wellness Month is officially in June – but that doesn’t mean that workplace wellness needs to be confined to one month a year. Seize the opportunity to shine a spotlight on health, and encourage everyone on your team to take their own wellness seriously with fun-focused healthy activities.
Here are eleven ways to celebrate National Employee Wellness Month (or Wellbeing Month) that are easy to plan and will have a positive impact on employee morale and retention.
National employee wellness month ideas:
1. Break bread together
Sitting down with coworkers to share a meal offers wellness benefits that have nothing to do with what you actually eat. Taking the time to stop working, eat slowly, and share a meal together encourages physical, mental, and emotional wellness on your team through personal, connected relationships. Take things a step further by making a no-smartphones rule during your meal.
2. Host a healthy cooking class
Home cooking isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to making healthy choices. Bring a chef from the community into your offices to give a demonstration on easy healthy dinners for weekday evenings, healthy snacks, or even healthy breakfasts on the go. And if your team isn’t much of a cooking crowd, opt for catering healthy lunches once a week instead (Salad Mondays, anyone?). Instituting healthy meals at the office will improve productivity and energy levels, and increase collaborative idea sharing.
3. Encourage taking the stairs
Encouraging employees to take the stairs instead of elevators is a small step towards developing daily healthy habits. Recommend a trip up and down the stairs by hanging printed reminders at the elevators, or post motivational and humorous notes along the staircase. Depending on what floor your offices are on, your employees don’t have to take the stairs the whole way. Taking the stairs has been shown to increase life expectancy, increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis, and it burns five times the calories as using the elevator.
4. Schedule walking meetings
Taking meetings on the go can provide a much-needed boost to both energy levels and creative inspiration. Skipping out of the office to discuss business on a park bench or while taking a stroll in the fresh air will help to get your heart rate up and inspire new ways of thinking, and will encourage your team to soak up the sunshine and natural surroundings outside the routine of your four office walls. Steve Jobs was famous for leading walking meetings around the Apple campus, but thinkers and entrepreneurs throughout the ages also encouraged walking meetings, from Aristotle to Freud, and Truman to Charles Dickens.
5. Offer a day of chair massage
Bringing chair massage into your office means your team can take short breaks for some serious relaxation and rejuvenation, all without interrupting the overall flow of the workday. Simple employee self-scheduling in the Zeel mobile app makes corporate chair massage easy to organize, and massage therapists bring their own equipment and materials to keep costs low. Your employees will experience improved posture, boosted morale, and a number of other wellness benefits.
6. Remember to stay hydrated
Water cooler talk has evolved into new forms in today’s modern workplace, but that doesn’t mean that staying hydrated is any less important. Switch office happy hour over to hydration hour (and offer reusable water bottles with the company logo) to help your team learn about the benefits of getting enough water to stay healthy and help them meet their personal wellness goals.
7. Stock up with healthy snacks
Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad habit. Take Employee Wellness Month as the impetus for breathing new life into your company’s kitchen cabinets. Stock up on healthy snack options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain carbs. Encourage employees to track their mood and energy levels throughout the month to see if making healthier snack choices cures that afternoon slump after all.
8. Start a chain of gratitude
Mental health is an important part of employee wellness, and sometimes it’s the smallest moments of gratitude and acknowledgment that make the most difference for your team. Encourage acknowledgment among your employees this month by starting a game of gratitude tag (recognize a coworker for a recent achievement, then they pay it forward to the next person). You can also increase positivity in the office with a shoutouts whiteboard. Or, host an awards night for some lighthearted fun and prizes to bring your team together and make them feel appreciated.
9. Gamify healthy habits
Start an office scoreboard for healthy activity accomplishments and have employees compete for fun, healthy prizes. You could measure the most steps taken with fitness apps or smartphone pedometers, count the number of brown bag lunches each employee brings in or even track how many acknowledgments your team members are doling out. Competition is a great motivator.
10. Inspire activity for a good cause
Team sports certainly draw people together, but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Encourage your employees’ athleticism by sponsoring your team to join a corporate league, and include everyone in the office by hosting viewing parties or a cheering section to bring up morale both on and off the court. You could even organize a group to participate in a 5K race, and pay for employees’ entry (which often donates to a charitable organization).
11. Take a fitness class as a team
Whether it’s yoga, meditation, kickboxing, or a team jog, getting physically active as a group is a great way to connect. These types of fitness classes and activities eliminate the competition aspect and just encourage a focus on health and wellness with your teammates by your side. Venture out of the office to an exercise studio together, or hire a professional to lead a class wherever your company works.
Zack is a writer, producer and marketer with 10+ years' experience in the advertising, nonprofit and tech startup industries. He is currently the Education Production Team Lead at Foundr Magazine, a web site for entrepreneurship education and was previously Content Manager at Zeel. Learn more about Zack on LinkedIn.