Are you an office manager in dire need of office wellness ideas to improve employee productivity? If so, it is perfectly understandable because traditional offices are dull work environments for employees. Modern improvements are necessary to overcome this problem.

A typical office consists of cubicles, desks, computers, printers, copy machines, filing cabinets, and walls all around with no windows or sunshine. Sitting down in such an environment for eight or more hours per day is not physically, mentally, or spiritually healthy for anyone.  

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Office productivity cannot thrive without motivated employees who have the energy, drive, and motivation to put in 110% for their employer. But if your employees feel lethargic and uncomfortable in the office for most of the workday, it diminishes their job performance.

As a result, your business suffers the consequences because your office workers won’t care whether the company succeeds or fails. Instead, they will stare at the clock waiting for their shift to end. This kind of attitude amongst your employees does not create a stable work environment for your business.

Office managers and supervisors must prioritize the wellness of their employees and come up with solutions to overcome this problem. These wellness solutions must address all the elements of an office workspace that negatively impact employee happiness and wellness.

In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of incorporating a comprehensive wellness program into your office work environment and how it can significantly improve the health and happiness of your office employees regardless of the type of industry or organization. A wellness program can be universally effective in offices everywhere.

What is an Office Wellness Program?

An office-focused wellness program is an organized plan to improve the health and happiness of employees working in an office space. If employees can feel happier and healthier in this position, they can facilitate a productive and efficient office work environment for their employers.

Some of the core ideas of an office wellness program include:

  • Anonymous employee surveys
  • Office design enhancement
  • Weight loss programs
  • Exercise and physical training opportunities
  • Nutrition coaching and advice
  • Financial planning and advice
  • Mental health support
  • Social support

These office wellness ideas address the most common problems associated with working in an office. They show employers that their employees are not robots who work 9-to-5 and go home without any personal struggles or issues. Instead, it emphasizes that they are real people who struggle to maintain their health and wellness because of their sedentary office job and other challenges or obstacles in their lives.    

Employees have emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, social, and financing challenges that they struggle with daily. If these challenges don’t get addressed quickly, the company and office workers suffer the consequences. For this reason, office management must address these challenges to improve office employee wellness for the sake of the workers and the company.

The wellness program advises office managers and employees on how to take better care of themselves and the others working under them. Some wellness ideas will pertain to office life specifically, while others will pertain to improving wellness outside of the office.  

The Top 13 Office Wellness Ideas for Better Employee Productivity

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Why is it so challenging for office employees to stay healthy? Some of them may need education on health and wellness, but they all need their managers and supervisors to create opportunities for employees to lead healthier lives.

Here are some of the everyday struggles facing office employees:

  • Little to no exposure to sunlight
  • Spending 8+ hours sitting and not moving
  • Spending 8+ hours staring at a computer screen
  • Little to no social life
  • Poor physical shape
  • Stressed and depressed
  • Hypertension

An office wellness program can be highly effective in overcoming these obstacles. It can provide office employees with the proper wellness counseling, advice, and solutions to lead healthier lifestyles inside and outside the office. It is information that will benefit the employees in the workplace and for the rest of their lives.  

A professional wellness program provider can set your company on the right path from day one. They can coach your managers and employees about improving their health while working in an office environment. However, if you cannot afford to hire a professional wellness program provider, you can still implement some office wellness ideas into the workplace on your own.

Let’s explore the top 13 office wellness ideas to increase employee happiness and productivity.

1. Anonymous Employee Surveys

Employees often won’t share their true feelings about their office work environment or supervisors with management and staff. That is one of the big reasons why office culture never changes much. They are too afraid to complain about their work conditions or whatever else is bothering them on the job because management could retaliate against them by firing or demoting them.

As an office manager, you need to make it easier and more comfortable for employees to voice their opinions. One of the ways you can do that is by allowing employees to fill out surveys about the company and submit them to management anonymously. That way, none of the managers or supervisors know who provided the information to them.

Employees tend to assume management doesn’t care about their feelings or opinions. Show them they are wrong about their assumption by valuing their genuine feedback.

Office management should use these anonymous suggestions and feedback to reform the office culture and working conditions and make them better. Sometimes the employees are the best equipped to advise management on wellness in the office, but they need the managers to listen and care.

Employees tend to assume management doesn’t care about their feelings or opinions. Show them they are wrong about their assumption by valuing their genuine feedback. Let them share their office wellness ideas with you. Then you will know what your employees need to feel happier and healthier in the office.

2. Get Rid of the Cubicles

Small cubicles can make employees feel like mice trapped in a cage. It is hard enough to stay trapped inside an office all day, but it is even worse when employees cannot see anyone else around them. All they hear are voices and the sounds of machines and electronics. These things can make someone lose their mind eventually.  

Cubicles are supposed to organize employee workstations and prevent unnecessary distractions, but they are counterproductive. Employees tend to feel isolated from everyone else in their cubicles, so they distract themselves by going on the computer or doing something else unproductive.  

An office wellness program encourages more social behavior and fewer barriers in the office. For example, if employees can see each other and interact occasionally, they won’t feel isolated anymore. Sometimes a simple thing like seeing someone else can improve employee behavior significantly.

3. Encourage Employees to Go Outside

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Staying trapped inside for an entire workday can have a negative psychological and physical impact on employees. People need to be close to nature by seeing the green trees and breathing the fresh air outside. If they cannot go outside for 8 hours or more, employees will feel closed off from the world. The result will be a bad attitude and poor work performance.

The best office wellness ideas should encourage more employees to spend some time outdoors. For example, you could set up an outdoor break area with picnic tables and chairs. If your office building has an open balcony or roof space, then give your employees access to it as well. Give your employees opportunities to access the outdoors during their breaks or whenever they need a few minutes to cool off.

In addition, sunlight exposure allows skin cells to produce vital Vitamin D for the body. The simple act of standing or sitting outside under the sun for 10 or 15 minutes can improve employee health and wellness. It will improve their overall attitude too.

4. Add More Indoor Plants

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A busy office environment gives employees little time to go outside. It is even worse if there are few windows to see trees or sunlight from the office. So if employees never get a chance to see the outdoors, you need to bring the outdoors to them.

Think about adding more plants and greenery to the office space. Many scientific studies have shown that exposure to natural plant life can help improve people’s mood and stamina.

According to a Human Spaces Report, evidence suggests that natural elements could be connected to work creativity and productivity. There are many similar reports from other organizations to support this claim.

Place the natural plants near open windows so they can get sunlight exposure. Add all kinds of different plant species, both big and small. You can never have too much greenery inside a dull office environment.

5. Cafeteria with Healthy Food Choices

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Office employee health depends heavily on the foods they eat. Unfortunately, the average cafeteria in an office building serves unhealthy foods, such as fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, french fries, and many other types of salty or fried foods. It is difficult for employees to stay healthy if their office cafeteria serves this kind of junk.

Perhaps you could change the cafeteria menu to include healthier food options, such as grilled chicken, salads, oatmeal, egg whites, fruit platters, etc. Then you could remove the unhealthier food options to eliminate the temptation for employees to eat badly. That includes removing all vending machines with junk snack foods and sodas in them.  

If the only food choices are healthy, it will help employees develop better eating habits at work. They could even take these eating habits and use them away from work too. Eventually, the employees will develop the habit of maintaining their nutrition.

6. Employee Incentive Programs

Employees want to know their value in the office. If you don’t incentivize them to work hard, they won’t be motivated to excel in their work performance. That is how you end up with employees who slack off and don’t stay productive consistently.

Almost all office wellness ideas include an employee incentive program that rewards employees for accomplishing a specific work milestone or goal. These could be small incentives like free lunches, designated parking spaces, or gift cards for a local or online business.

Try to get creative and develop new types of rewards each time you run an incentive program. The small investment you make for these rewards will pay off greatly after your employees increase their productivity.

7. Wellness Posters and Advertisements

Many office employees want to be healthy, but they don’t know where to start. A good office manager will supply helpful information to their employees about maintaining their health and wellness.

Fill your office walls with posters, advertisements, and other promotional materials with positive and helpful health-related information. Promote office wellness ideas to your employees, such as nutritional tips, healthy food recipes, and simple exercise routines to practice at their desks.

In addition, you could also promote the information of local businesses which support health and wellness, such as gyms, health food stores, farmer’s market addresses, etc. If your employees continue to be exposed to this information, they will begin to take their health more seriously.

8. Onsite Gym Access

Do you have enough office space to fit a small gym? Find a spare room in your office building and install some exercise machines in it. They don’t need to be anything fancy or sophisticated. They could be simple machines like a few treadmills and free weights.

Office employees with onsite gym access will have a greater incentive to exercise and stay in shape. They won’t have to spend time driving to another gym and working out there. Since most office employees have busy schedules, an onsite gym gives them a fast and easy way to fit workouts into their daily routines.

discount gym membership for employees, employee gym membership

Alternatively, you could provide your office employees with discount opportunities on memberships to local gyms in the area. It is the next best thing if you don’t have enough office space for an onsite gym.

9. Employee Handbooks

Include office wellness ideas and information in your employee handbooks. Outline all the details about your company’s office wellness program, so employees can have all the information they need to use it effectively.

Give updated handbooks to new and existing employees. Sometimes the old employees need to be reminded of this information, especially if they lost their original handbooks or there is new information to provide them.

It is okay to provide digital handbooks on your company website. However, make sure you give out physical handbooks to your employees too. People tend to pay more attention to something physical in front of them because they don’t have to search for it online.

The physical handbook stands out as a reminder to your employees to stay healthy. If they keep it on their work desk, they are more likely to use the information in it.

10. Compliment Hardworking Employees

Don’t make your office employees feel like expendable workers with no value. If you fail to compliment them on their hard work, they may stop working so hard for the company. That is the last thing you’ll want to happen.

Office employees want to know their work has value for the company. An office manager should reinforce their employees’ importance to the company by complimenting them whenever they complete a crucial task or goal.

Incentives alone are not enough because there will always be some employees who don’t receive the rewards offered. That is why you need to make the extra effort to compliment every employee who does well at their job.

11. Financial Advisory Sessions

Office employees need to focus on doing an excellent job for their company. But that can be difficult if they are always worried about their money and personal finances.

Create a financial wellness program for your office employees. You might have to train your human resources team or hire an outside financial advisor to counsel your employees on financial management.

Remind your employees about all the financial incentives they are entitled to receive as part of the company. These incentives might include a 401(k) retirement plan, health insurance benefits, flexible spending accounts, employee assistance programs, etc.

12. Wellness Orientation

Company orientations are usually reserved for new employees. They teach employees about the company and what is expected of them as new employees. But why not do the same thing for office wellness too?

Hold an annual wellness orientation meeting with new and existing employees. Introduce or remind them of your office wellness program and how it can benefit their physical, mental, financial, emotional, and spiritual health.

13. Create a Team-based Work Environment

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Do you want to get your office employees out from their isolated workspaces? Encouraging employees to work in teams is a great way to improve social wellness in an office environment.

Assign teams of at least two or more employees to work on various job assignments together. Consistent social interactions should help improve their mood and drive in the office. Then rotate the team members around for each project to allow employees to work with everyone in the office.

Do you need more office wellness ideas? Learn about 18 more office wellness program ideas from a corporate perspective.

About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.