Employee wellness gifts are a great way to demonstrate that you care about the health and wellness of your employees. Most importantly, they encourage and incentivize employees to improve their social, physical, mental, spiritual, and financial health.

10 Employee Wellness Gifts to Incentivize Healthy Behavior in the Workplace

It is not enough to teach employees how to improve their health. You must motivate your employees to do the work to get the results. An employee wellness gift can help create the incentive needed for your employees to take action.

How Can Employee Wellness Gifts Be Beneficial?

No employee wants to be unhealthy. But unfortunately, some employees have grown accustomed to living unhealthy lifestyles because no one has ever given them a viable incentive to take steps to improve their health. Now you can be the one to provide this incentive for the first time in your employees’ lives.

Wellness gifts can benefit your employees in the following ways:

  • Increases their happiness and well-being
  • Reduces their healthcare costs
  • Motivates them to stay and grow with the company
  • Increases their productivity and motivation to work hard
  • Establishes job satisfaction

Employee wellness gifts cannot magically make employees healthier. However, they can get employees to start thinking about taking better care of themselves if they don’t already. Your wellness gifts will give them a path to begin this process. 

RELATED: The Costs and Advantages of an Employee Wellness Program

What are the Best Employee Wellness Gifts to Incentivize Healthy Behavior?

Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 

Giving wellness gifts to your employees will inspire them to become healthier and more productive workers in your organization. Best of all, they will think of you as a great leader for inspiring them.

Below are 10 employee wellness gifts that can inspire and incentivize your employees to conduct more healthy behavior.

1. Vacation Getaways

The 2019 Vacation Confidence Index reported that nearly 36% of Americans hadn’t gone on a vacation in over two years, and 51% hadn’t gone on vacation in over one year. These were the two years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

employee wellness gifts, vacation

During the two years of the pandemic, Americans were forced to stay at home and refrain from traveling. The long-term isolation has caused those previous statistics to increase drastically.

Fortunately, travel restrictions are finally easing up in America and the rest of the world. So there is no better time to offer vacation getaways as gifts to your top-performing employees.

Here are some reasonable vacation ideas for your employee wellness gifts:

  • Golf Getaway
  • Spa Retreat
  • Scuba Diving
  • Hotel w/ Luxury Accommodations
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Camping
  • Tropical Beach
  • City Sightseeing Tours

The vacation packages don’t necessarily have to be expensive international trips costing you thousands of dollars. You could invest in local vacation getaways with adventurous or luxurious accommodations.

PROS

  • Create a strong incentive for employees to work hard and increase their productivity.
  • Relieve the stress of employees who have been eager to get away from work to relax in a dream setting.
  • Improve physical and mental health by allowing employees to live out their dream vacation. 
  • Family members can be included in the vacation packages, allowing employees to make it a family getaway.

CONS

  • Expensive to purchase vacation packages as wellness gifts for employees.
  • Fewer employees will win the vacation getaways, which could cause anger and resentment amongst those who don’t win.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

2. Plants

According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine, young adults can experience less physiological and psychological stress when interacting with indoor plants. This interaction can profoundly affect suppressing their autonomic nervous system activity.

If your employees are trapped all day indoors with little to no view of the outdoors, you must fill their interior environment with lots of natural luscious greenery. Giving plants as wellness gifts will do wonders for your employees’ mental health.

PROS

  • Plants are inexpensive to purchase as gifts for your employees.
  • Multiple plant sizes are available. Small potted plants can fit on people’s office desks. Bigger potted plants can go on the floor next to where they work. 
  • Improve the happiness of your employees who get to keep their plants in the same room where they work all day.
  • Aromatherapeutic benefits are available from certain plants that emit a naturally pleasant scent.

CONS

  • Distractions and heavy workloads could make it difficult for some employees to focus on their plants, especially if they are on the go and away from their desks frequently.
  • Plant care responsibilities get put on the shoulders of employees who may not want them. That could lead to dead plants on their desks and negatively impact their mental health.

3. Gym Memberships

According to RunRepeat, roughly 6.3% of Americans never use their active gym memberships. They also revealed that nearly 46% of all gym membership cancellations are because of cost.

It is not enough to tell employees to join a gym to get healthier. They already know gym workouts can lead to better health, but they lack the motivation to sign up and pay money for a gym membership. So, you must give them an extra reason to sign up.

employee wellness gift, gym membership

One of the most incentivizing employee wellness gifts is a free or discounted gym membership at a nearby gym. Your generous discounted gym membership could be the very thing that transforms the lives of your employees for the better.

PROS

  • Improve the physical health and wellness of your employees.
  • Motivate your employees to care about their physical health and do something about it.
  • Increase the work productivity of your employees by improving how they feel.
  • Reduce the turnover rate by giving employees an incentive to stay with your company.
  • Partner with local gyms to provide discounted memberships for free.

CONS

  • No guarantee that your employees will use their gym membership unless you have an on-site gym at your workplace.
  • Inexperienced employees may not know how to exercise correctly. They may also lack the confidence to seek the advice of a personal trainer.

RELATED: WellSteps Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, and Emotional Health Challenges 

4. Smart Watches

Equip your employees with the latest fitness technology by giving them smartwatches to wear on their wrists. Smartwatches allow employees to monitor their physical activity and health in real-time.

employee wellness gifts, smartwatch

The average smartwatch can detect:

  • Heart Rate
  • Active / Inactive Minutes
  • Calories Burned
  • Distance Traveled
  • Number of Steps Taken
  • Sleep Quality

There is no need to purchase expensive smartwatches with fancy features like reading and sending emails. Your employee wellness gifts can consist of affordable smartwatches designed explicitly for tracking health and fitness.

PROS

  • Easy for employees to track their health and wellness wherever they go. They have to look at their wrists to get the latest health updates.
  • Affordable smartwatch models are available, ranging from $50 to $300+.
  • Motivates employees to challenge themselves to improve their health.

CONS

  • Easy to lose the smartwatch if it is taken off and left somewhere.
  • Smartwatches are not 100% accurate in tracking an individual’s health information.

Related: Wearables and Wellness Programs: The Complete Guide 2022

5. Admission to a Running Event

Local running events are hosted in towns and cities all over the country. These are usually charitable events where people pay admission to participate in them. Then all the proceeds from the event are donated to charity.

employee wellness gifts, running event admission

Some examples of local running events include:

  • 5K Long Distance Running
  • Marathons
  • Triathlons
  • Trail Racing
  • Team Obstacle Racing

Participants don’t have to be seasoned athletes. Anyone can participate in these events if they pay the admission. Alternatively, you can pay for someone else’s admission and give it to them as an employee wellness gift.

The gift of admittance to a local running event will motivate employees to run, jog, walk, or have fun. 

PROS

  • Cheap admission fees for most local running events.
  • Contributes to an important charitable cause while improving the health of your employees. 
  • Improves the physical health of employees and challenges them in ways they never imagined before.
  • Encourages social activity between employees and other people in their community.

CONS

  • Easy to slack off and not take the race seriously if too far behind the others.
  • Poor weather conditions could discourage employees from participating in the event.
  • Possible intimidation from watching other people race ahead and leave you behind.

6. Gift Cards

Nearly 70% of employees claim they would rather receive gift cards as incentives from their employers. Employee wellness gift cards can incentivize your workers to improve their health in a number of ways. Here are some examples of suitable health-related gift cards:

  • Fitness Gift Cards
  • Grocery Store Gift Cards
  • Health and Beauty Gift Cards
  • Experience or Activity Gift Cards
  • Bookstore Gift Cards

Choose gift cards for stores and businesses which sell healthy products or services exclusively. If you give gift cards to a restaurant or store with healthy and unhealthy choices, your employees may feel more inclined to choose the latter. 

PROS

  • Easy to purchase and distribute gift cards to your employees.
  • Employees get the freedom to choose which products or services they want to purchase.
  • Custom gift card amountsare available with most merchants. You can set any budget you want for investing in employee gift cards.
  • Encourages strict focus on healthy products and services because that is all that can be purchased with the gift card.

CONS

  • Difficult to find merchants with 100% healthy products or services for sale. 
  • Forces employees to shop at one specific store they may not like. 

7. Personal Training Sessions

Your employees may want to improve their physical health by working out, but they may not know which exercises to do. A gym membership alone won’t be effective if your employees have not established a well-planned exercise routine. In this case, complimentary personal training sessions are the best wellness gifts for employees struggling with their physical health.

Provide a few free personal training sessions to all employees who agree to using a gym membership. Most gyms offer personal training services for an hourly fee, so purchase a few hours of sessions for each employee. Some personal trainers also make house calls as well.

PROS

  • Educates and teaches employees about various exercises and how to perform them correctly.
  • Creates a custom workout routine for each employee which accommodates their specific fitness goals.
  • Motivates employees to complete their entire workout routine without slacking or giving up.
  • Establishes friendship and trust between the employees and their trainer. An excellent personal trainer never passes judgment. Instead, they show empathy and kindness as they help their clients try to succeed.  

CONS

  • It costs about $70 to $150 for a few personal training sessions per employee. So, it may be too expensive for your budget.
  • No guarantee that your employees will purchase more personal training sessions after their free sessions expire. They may not want to pay the money.

RELATED: 50 Office Challenge Ideas Including Office Fitness Challenges for 2022

8. Water Bottle

According to the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine believes men should consume roughly 15.5 cups of fluids per day and women should consume roughly 11.5 cups of fluids per day.

Hydration is vitally important to sustaining health. Unfortunately, busy working professionals don’t have time to run to a water fountain or water bottle vending machine whenever they get thirsty.

A water bottle is a wellness gift that could be a lifesaver for employees trapped at their desks all day. They could fill up their water bottles before starting their work shifts and then keep them at their desks throughout the day. As a result, the water bottles are readily available whenever they get thirsty.  

PROS

  • Inexpensive to purchase as a wellness gift for each employee.
  • Easy to stay hydrated while remaining in one spot throughout the day.
  • Prevents fainting and sluggishness due to dehydration.
  • Hydration is essential for improving physical health.

CONS

  • Unhealthy beverages could get put into it. No assurance that employees will fill the bottles with water.
  • Easy to lose or have stolen if the bottle is left somewhere unmonitored.

9. Healthy Meal Plans

A healthy meal plan consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat meats, and low-fat dairy. But most people trying to lose weight don’t know how to prepare nutritious meals which satisfy their taste buds.  

Several companies sell healthy meal delivery services, where they deliver pre-prepared nutritious meals to people’s doorsteps every week. It saves people the trouble of having to prepare the foods themselves.

Purchase a healthy meal plan as a wellness gift for some or all of your employees to help them eat better foods. Companies that sell healthy meal plans include Fresh N Lean, Freshly, Blue Apron, and Skinny Taste.

PROS

  • Nutritious and tasty meals are prepared for your employees. It is perfect for nutrition novices who don’t know how to prepare healthy meals.
  • Meals are shipped to the homes of your employees weekly.  
  • Free trial periods are available at most companies that sell these meal plans.
  • Food variety is found in the meal plans.   

CONS

  • Doesn’t eliminate the temptation to eat bad foods before or after eating these healthy meals.
  • Could get expensive to continue paying for a meal plan subscription for each employee.

10. Personalized Face Masks

The COVID-19 pandemic may not be going away anytime soon. Even though government restrictions are getting lifted across the country, the virus is still a risk to people’s health and lives.

If you could provide an incentive for your employees to wear masks, it could potentially stop them from getting infected and spreading the virus in the workplace.

Employees may not want to wear a dull-looking face mask with a solid color, but how about a personalized face mask with an original design? Perhaps you could hire a company to create customized face masks for your employees and then distribute the masks as wellness gifts.   

Pros:

  • Custom mask design options can be given to employees to ensure their masks are personalized just for them.
  • Increased motivation to wear a mask if personalized with an attractive design.
  • Helps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other germs and viruses while reducing the number of employees who call out sick.
  • Inexpensive to purchase an ample supply of personalized masks.

Cons:

  • Prejudice and political views toward masks may cause resentment and anger in the workplace.
  • Masks are uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Conclusion

Employee wellness gifts come in all different sizes. Don’t feel pressured to purchase the most expensive gifts if they are not within your budget. The idea is to incentivize your employees to make healthier lifestyle decisions themselves.

Would you like some advice on the best wellness gifts to give your employees? If so, you should try out our WellSteps Free Demo to learn how to improve employee health with wellness gifts and several other methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I still need to create an employee wellness program in the workplace if I offer wellness gifts to my workers?

Yes, employee wellness gifts are no substitute for establishing a comprehensive employee wellness program in your organization. Incorporate the gifts into your employee wellness program to support your overall plan of improving employee health.

How many employee wellness gifts should I give to my workers?

You can decide whether to give wellness gifts to a few employees or every employee. It all depends on your budget and the number of employees who could benefit the most from wellness gifts.

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.