A good employer or supervisor must develop some excellent staff wellness activities to improve the organizational culture of their workplace. Failure to improve staff wellness could reduce employee productivity and diminish the company’s reputation and profitability.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employed American spends 8 to 9 hours per day at work. One-third of their daily lives are spent in the workplace, whether an office job or an outdoor labor-type job.

How often do you think about staff wellness in your workplace? If you have employees who seem lethargic or unmotivated, it could mean they are dealing with any number of personal issues which may or may not be related to their job.

Staff Wellness Activities for Creating a Healthier Workplace in

What are Staff Wellness Activities?

The term “staff wellness” refers to the overall state of an employee’s physical, emotional, financial, social, and mental health. Several factors inside and outside the workplace contribute to staff wellness. They include:

  • Workplace duties and responsibilities
  • Organizational culture
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Social opportunities
  • Family duties and responsibilities
  • Stress management
  • Financial stability

An employer has a responsibility to monitor and evaluate staff wellness for the sake of the company and its employees. The evaluation results will help indicate which specific staff wellness activities are needed to improve employee health and wellness.   

RELATED: 7 Simple Strategies to Integrate Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace

How is Staff Wellness Evaluated?

Don’t confuse the term “staff wellness” with staff happiness or staff engagement because they are merely symptoms of staff wellness.  

Staff wellness is evaluated from a holistic perspective. It requires you to assess the employee’s quality of life and pinpoint the factors influencing their levels of happiness and engagement. These are the same factors listed above.

Next, you need to evaluate various staff wellness programs to see which ones are good enough for your employees. The staff wellness program you choose should aim to change employee behavior for the better.

The staff wellness program you choose should aim to change employee behavior for the better.

Here are the key considerations to make when evaluating a staff wellness program:

  • Employees must like the program.
  • Employees must agree to participate in the program.
  • The investment into the program must accommodate the company’s budget.
  • The program must address all the employees’ physical, emotional, financial, social, and mental health problems.
  • Employees must show signs of improvement within the first six months of starting the program.

When you choose a staff wellness program to provide to your employees, you should continue to evaluate their health and engagement every month. You may or may not see improvement in their behavior and productivity.

Staff Wellness Activities

Sit down with your employees and go over the results of your evaluation of them. Make it clear to the employees that their wellness comes first, and you want to help them improve their overall health and wellness.   

Here are the questions you could ask the employees during your meeting with them:

  • How happy are you at your job?
  • What do you think of the working conditions?
  • What organizational changes would you like to see made to improve your working conditions and overall level of job satisfaction?
  • Do you have any staff wellness ideas you’d like to see implemented?

Their answers to these questions will allow you to determine whether you have to modify parts of the staff wellness program or start an entirely new one. In the beginning, you can expect to alter the wellness program regularly as you learn more about the health issues facing your employees.  

RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Evaluate a Wellness Program

Why is it Important to Support Staff Wellness Activities

Staff wellness ideas can change your workplace culture for the better and save money for the company.

The ideas should address employee grievances rather than employer grievances. If you can create staff wellness activities to improve the health and happiness of your employees directly, it will impact everyone’s life in the workplace.

If you can create staff wellness activities to improve the health and happiness of your employees directly, it will impact everyone’s life in the workplace.

Here are some of the key advantages to implementing staff wellness activities in the workplace:

  • Increases work productivity
  • Reduces employee turnover rate
  • Attracts highly skilled people to seek employment with the company
  • Strengthens employee morale and loyalty to the company
  • Increases employee motivation to succeed
  • Lowers healthcare costs for employees

The employees are the backbone of any company. If you put the most effective staff wellness activities into action, they will benefit all your company’s stakeholders.

RELATED: How to Create Company Wellness Programs For Millennials in 5 Simple Steps

why it's important to establish wellness programs

16 Staff Wellness Activities to Establish a Healthier and More Productive Workplace

We’ve compiled a list of 16 staff wellness areas and their activities and broken them up into the following eight categories:

  • Job Responsibilities
  • Stress Management
  • Social Engagement
  • Food and Snacks
  • Physical Exercise and Movement
  • Personal Family Responsibilities
  • Work Environment
  • Personal Finances

Our staff wellness activities may not apply to company employees of all industries. However, they can educate you on the different ways to improve the lives of your employees and make them happier, healthier, and more productive workers. 

Perhaps you can take these ideas and modify them to accommodate the conditions of your particular organization. No idea has to be set in stone.

Staff Wellness Activities with Job Responsibilities

1) Teamwork

Don’t give too many work-related tasks to each employee simultaneously. It will make them feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and angry.

A better way to manage their workflow is to have multiple employees work in teams and complete the most critical tasks together. That way, each employee can focus on one particular task at a time without stressing themselves out.

Team members don’t necessarily have to be in the same room to work together. Take advantage of modern technology by conducting video conferences on Zoom, Skype, or any other video chatting software you prefer for your employees. 

2) Assign Tasks That Match Employees’ Skills

Work productivity may decline in your organization if employees do tasks that don’t coincide with their skillset. How often do you examine each employee’s skills and match them with the right job?

Make it a habit of rearranging the responsibilities of your workers so that they can each utilize their complete skill set.

Make it a habit of rearranging the responsibilities of your workers so that they can each utilize their complete skill set. It will increase their work productivity and give them more job satisfaction in the process. 

RELATED: 13 Office Wellness Ideas to Improve Employee Productivity in 2024

Staff Wellness Activities with Stress Management

3) Provide Mental Health Resources

According to a 2019 research study by the nonprofit company Mind Share Partners, approximately 76% of respondents indicated that they had experienced a minimum of one mental health issue within the last 12 months.

Employees throughout all industries are developing mental health problems at alarming rates. Here are some more statistics from the respondents of the Mind Share Partners study:

  • 84% reported at least one workplace factor that negatively impacted their mental health.
  • 50% of full-time workers claim they left their former jobs because of reasons related to mental health issues.
  • Workers claim they are working at 72% of their total capability in 2021 due to mental health issues.
  • 65% of the respondents talked to someone else at work about their mental health in 2021.
  • Approximately 68% of Millennials and 81% of Generation Xers have reportedly left their jobs due to mental health issues.

These statistics clearly show the lack of staff wellness in many organizations across the United States. But you don’t have to let the same thing happen within your organization.

provide mental health resources for employees

If you provide mental health resources to your employees, it will change their behavior for the better. They will be compelled to stay with your company for a long time because they will be happier at their jobs.

As a result, your company would save money because they wouldn’t have a high turnover rate.  

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

4) Add Indoor Plants and Natural Lighting

A 2015 research study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology saw evidence of physiological and psychological stress reduction in people who interacted with indoor plants.

In addition, a Japanese research study published in the American Society of Horticultural Science found that merely looking at indoor plants can reduce stress and anxiety in people. 

The general scientific theory suggests a particular bacterium in plant soil causes a people’s serotonin levels to rise. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain which elevates mood and decreases anxiety.

So naturally, it could benefit your employees’ mood if you put indoor plants around the workplace. Just the very sight of these plants might make your employees feel happier.

Staff Wellness Activities with Social Engagement

5) Schedule Company Picnics and Social Events

Do you ever wonder why some companies schedule casual picnics and social events for employees and their families? They do it as a way to say thank you to their employees for all their hard work and dedication.

Here are some examples of social events you could plan:

  • Hold an annual Christmas party at the end of the year.
  • Hold an annual summer picnic at a public park.
  • Create a monthly potluck event where every employee brings a tray of food they prepare themselves and shares it with other employees at lunchtime.

For example, if you scheduled an annual Christmas party and an annual summer picnic for your employees, it would give them something to look forward to doing. But, most importantly, it would make them feel appreciated for their hard work.

Meanwhile, the employees will have the opportunity to socialize and get to know each other’s families. It lets employees establish a more personal relationship, which will make it easier for them to work together.

6) Give Feedback to Employees

Employees need to receive feedback on their job performance. Feedback lets them know whether their work is valuable to the company. If their work is less than satisfactory, you can give them suggestions on how to improve their work in the future.

Don’t be overly critical or negative about an employee’s performance. Instead, thank them for their effort while providing an opportunity for improvement. That way, there won’t be any hard feelings between you and the employee.  

Staff Wellness Activities with Food and Snacks

7) Mandatory Lunch Breaks

Mandatory lunch breaks ensure that employees don’t overwork themselves due to a busy work schedule or any false assumptions about your high expectations regarding their productivity.

Make it clear to your employees that they are required to take a 60-minute lunch break at a particular time in the afternoon. And if they’re worried about their workload, you can allocate their responsibilities to other employees who are not on their lunch breaks.

8) Healthy Food Choices

The workplace cafeteria and vending machines should only contain healthy food choices. Get rid of junk foods like:

  • Salty chips
  • Candy bars
  • Soft drinks
  • Fried chicken
  • Burgers
  • Pizza
  • All other sugary, greasy, fatty, or salty food choices

When healthy food is readily available in the workplace, it is easier for employees to stick to a nutritious diet. Some examples of healthy food choices include:

  • Fruits platters
  • Salads
  • Baked chicken breast
  • Green beans
  • Corn
  • Baked fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts.

Employees who maintain a nutritious diet will feel better, develop more energy, and stay more focused. That is what you should want from any good employee.

Staff Wellness Activities with Physical Exercise and Movement

9) Exercise Time

Legendary fitness guru Jack LaLanne once said, “Exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation.”

Employees with desk jobs have a higher chance of developing physical health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke. Not only that, but a passive work environment can make someone feel more depressed and stressed as time goes on.

Create some time during each workday for your employees to participate in staff wellness activities that support their physical health. These could be simple activities performed at their desks, such as stretching exercises, or more mobile activities like walking and jogging.

create staff wellness activities with exercise classes

Many companies will do group stretching exercises, where employees of the same team or department stretch together. However, it would be wise to add cardiovascular exercises to the routine because they are the most beneficial exercises for enhancing human health.

Do you need ideas for physical exercises to encourage in the workplace? Let’s look at some more popular staff exercise ideas:

  • Pushups for 60 seconds
  • Take a 15 to 30-minute walk daily
  • Body squatting for 60 seconds
  • Lunging for 60 seconds
  • Burpees for 60 seconds
  • Situps (as many as you can do)
  • Yoga movements and poses

RELATED: 50 Office Challenge Ideas Including Office Fitness Challenges

10) Gym Membership Incentives

Any employer creating a list of staff wellness ideas should include gym membership incentives somewhere on it.

If your commercial building has a gym exclusively for employees, you could track their gym participation data and reward employees who work out at least five times per week. Otherwise, find ways to encourage your employees to join a gym.

Here are some staff wellness ideas associated with gym memberships:

  • Provide your employees with special discounts on memberships to local gyms. Give gym coupons to the best-performing employees as part of a rewards or incentive program.
  • Give away gym coupons to all employees as an end-of-the-year bonus. It would incentivize more employees to visit the gym and get in better shape on their own time.
  • Hold an exclusive event at your local gym for your employees. Hire a personal trainer to guide them on how to use all the exercise equipment.

If employees can get into the habit of visiting the gym, they will never want to stop going because they will feel much better.

Staff Wellness Activities with Personal Family Responsibilities

11) Allow Flexible Hours for Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way companies conduct their work. It made employers and employees realize the benefit of working from home and customizing work schedules to accommodate the needs of the workers.

For this reason, an increasing number of employers are ditching the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule altogether and allowing employees to work from home instead of the company office.  

use staff wellness activities for remote workers

Most employees prefer flexible hours to accommodate their personal and family responsibilities. So if you can find a way for your employees to work from home remotely or customize their work schedules, it would take a load of weight off their shoulders. 

Are you worried about tracking the wellness of your remote employees? Fortunately, there are at least six strategies for successful wellness with remote workers. These staff wellness ideas for remote workers should help sustain their health and wellness.

RELATED: 6 Strategies for Successful Wellness with Remote Workers in 2024

12) Paid Sick Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies to provide unpaid sick leave for no more than 12 weeks if specific medical-related issues arise for the employee or one of their immediate family members.

Unfortunately, this federal legislation doesn’t require companies to offer paid sick leave. If an employee works paycheck-to-paycheck, a family emergency could put them in an emotionally and financially stressful situation if they cannot get paid sick leave.

You could save your employees a lot of stress if you offered paid sick leave to at least full-time workers.

You could save your employees a lot of stress if you offered paid sick leave to at least full-time workers. For instance, you could give each full-time employee one paid sick day per month and allow those sick days to roll over into each consecutive month.

RELATED: 24 Ways Employers Can Manage Stress at Work (Use Them Today)

Staff Wellness Activities with Work Environment

13) Casual Dress and Interior Design

Not all work environments have to look dull with solid white walls and cubicles everywhere. If you can get away with creating a casual interior design style for your workplace, then go for it.

A casual work environment helps employees feel less intimidated and more comfortable. You could even take it a step further by allowing your employees to dress casually too.

Some examples of casual work clothing include:

  • Polo short
  • Khakis
  • Slacks
  • Chinos
  • Jeans
  • Sweaters
  • Blouses
  • T-Shirt

The idea is to allow your employees to feel more comfortable during the workday. If they are comfortable, they can work harder and longer.

14) Staff Training Programs

New employees are usually nervous and uncomfortable because they aren’t familiar with their work environment yet. They also might lack specific skills needed to excel in their positions within the organization.

Implement a mandatory orientation program for new employees. Orientation provides them with vital information about the company and what is expected of them as employees.

When employees work in your company for more than a year, offer them an opportunity to participate in a staff training program. It could teach more vital work skills for upper-level positions within the company.

These work skills could include:

  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Project Management
  • Leadership

Staff training programs create new work opportunities for employees within the company. If employees know they can learn and grow in your company, they will never want to leave.

RELATED: 7 Simple Strategies to Integrate Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace

Staff Wellness Activities with Personal Finances

15) Promotional Opportunities

Company loyalty should always be rewarded. Don’t have employees working the same jobs with no promotional opportunities because it will make them feel unworthy and expendable to the company.

Give promotions to employees with a long track record of working hard and showing up to work on time. Then, when other employees see these promotions given out to their coworkers, they will work harder to achieve the same promotional opportunities.

Every promotion should come with a pay raise equal to the value of the position in the company. The employee won’t mind working harder in a job with more responsibility if the pay is fair and balanced with the workload.

16) Retirement Benefits

The federal law doesn’t force companies to offer retirement benefits to employees, such as a 401(k) or IRA retirement plan. But if you were to provide retirement plan options voluntarily, your employees would have a big incentive to stay with your company.

A 401(k) is the most popular retirement and investment program offered to employees. Employees contribute portions of their paychecks to a personalized pension account, and the money gets invested into mutual funds of their selection. All the money contributed to the account is tax-free.

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the most successful investors ever, recommends that people don’t invest in several different mutual funds. Instead, he said, “You’ll do very well with an S&P index,” such as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund with a low expense ratio.

In addition, an employer is allowed to match a percentage of what the employee contributes into their 401(k). So you could offer something like 25 cents for every dollar contributed or match all the contributions dollar-for-dollar.

Retirement benefits make employees feel more financially secure. Employees can feel good about working hard for the company because they know the fruits of their labor will pay off in their elder years.  

Common Questions About Staff Wellness Activities

How do I promote staff wellness?

Employers shouldn’t be the only ones thinking about staff wellness activities in the workplace. You need to ensure that your employees know of all the wellness opportunities and activities available.

Here are some promotional tips:

  • Hold weekly or monthly meetings with your employees to educate them on the latest staff wellness activities and mental health resources available in the company.
  • Create a mentoring program to teach and guide employees on improving their wellness.
  • Raise mental health awareness in your organization. Remind employees about the mental health resources and programs available to them.
  • Hand out booklets and pamphlets with new information about staff wellness ideas in the workplace.

Allow employees to ask you questions and make suggestions about your staff wellness programs. If you include them in the execution of these programs, they will be more interested in participating.

RELATED: 7 Simple Strategies to Integrate Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace

How do I get help managing the staff wellness activities and programs?

Set up a team of wellness professionals to run worksite wellness programs in your company. Hiring a wellness professional will ensure the proper wellness programs are established for your employees.  

Learn more about how WellSteps and can help you improve staff wellness in your organization. We look forward to talking with you!


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.