9 winning employee wellbeing activities for the workplace

Last updated:
September 10, 2021
November 10, 2022
min read
Jenna Bunnell
Employee wellbeing activities
Table of contents

Employees need to feel that their workplace values their presence and cares about how they’re doing, both physically and mentally, which is why we’re seeing conversations around health and wellbeing becoming more commonplace.

Importance of employee wellbeing

According to Statista, in the US, nearly 70% of employees believe that the health and wellbeing programmes offered by their employer made them less likely to call in sick.

survey on effectiveness of the health and wellbeing programmes
Image source | Chart illustrating how employees feel about the effectiveness of the health and wellbeing programmes offered by their employer.

Here are 9 winning ideas on how to bring forth health and wellbeing initiatives to your organization.

1. Gym subscriptions

One of the main reasons that gym closures during the pandemic was greeted with such ire is the effect that it had on people’s overall health. The benefit of offering your employees discounted subscriptions to a gym, or even running an on-site gym facility could be huge.

2. Yoga & meditation

Mindfulness focuses on improving mental health. Through calming exercise, yoga, and meditation, these sessions can have a drastic impact on your employee's mindset. With such programs reducing levels of insomnia or anxiety levels, the benefits for workers aren’t limited to their in-work lives, either. They can make a genuine difference to their lifestyle too.

How to improve mindfulness and productivity
Image source | Employees taking time out of their day to meditate can improve mindfulness and productivity.

3. Local community programs

Community programs can be a great way to deliver employee satisfaction in a manner that isn’t job-centric. Utilizing members of your workforce who volunteer with such schemes is already a good start, and harnessing collaboration software can take this to the next level.

It may also be worth figuring out a way to encourage participation in these activities — even by giving employees some hours off each month to be spent in volunteering roles elsewhere.

4. Recognition

In many ways, this is the most obvious tip to give. But getting recognition right can make all the difference to your employees’ wellbeing. From contact center management to marketing teams, everyone likes to have their value reinforced. Pointing to someone’s paycheck as the sole benefit of their hard work isn’t enough anymore.

Not all these types of recognition have to be financial, anyway. Something as simple as a name-check in internal communications, or in-office lunch parties, can be a good way of reinforcing how much you value the people that work for you.

5. Flexibility

No, by flexibility, we don’t mean turning your team into Olympic gymnasts. What we’re referring to with “flexibility” is the idea of giving workers autonomy over their working patterns.

Whether this means a split between remote and office work, or an ability to choose the hours that best fit with their lives outside of work, employees react well to an operation that allows them to make the job their own. And empowering your hiring team to make these calls can only increase this benefit further. In a 2019 survey, 73% of employees said that flexible working arrangements increased their work satisfaction. And that companies with these arrangements achieve a higher retention rate by nearly 90%.

6. Lunch and learn

Something to consider, if you do plump for the idea of company-organized lunches, is a “lunch and learn”. These are voluntary virtual meetings between anyone and everyone who wishes to join.

If you’re still working virtually, you can run these events with various business communication tools. The idea is to create a place where people can get to discuss things that can help with their overall work experience.

The passing on of expertise between colleagues is something we would all hope would happen naturally. But in fast-paced environments, these things can fall by the wayside. Creating a specific point in the work week where these things can be discussed in an informal way can be a real benefit. This could be of particular value to newer recruits, as they can feel valued from the get-go.

7. Education and support

Surveys have found that only 57% of America’s adult population possess the financial education necessary to navigate some of the challenges of modern life. Offering education in this area can be a great way to decrease stress amongst your workforce.

The appetite for this education is there, too. Nearly the same level of respondents in that same survey wish they had been taught more about this in school.

Teaching your workers how to budget, and how to plan for the future means that they’re better equipped for life. This, in turn, should reduce stress levels and worrying around making ends meet, or surviving on a month-by-month basis.

8. Work/life balance

It’s something that we all strive for, but very few actually achieve. Finding the right work/life balance for anyone can be hard. But it can be made unnecessarily so if they come up against an unhelpful employer. So, committing to this, even in an employee contract, can be a great step towards improving the wellbeing of your workforce.

It may mean doing things differently and fighting the convention of a 9-to-5 working week. But working smarter, not harder, is something that all businesses should aspire to.

work life balance
Image source | Infographic showing what factors play into work (in red) and life (in green) balance.

9. Employee switch off

As every business adapts to the new digital age, the amount of time employees spend in front of  their screens has only gotten longer.In 2019, it was found that about 75% of workers admitted to checking work emails during weekends. This is a characteristic of an unhealthy workplace, and enforcing this fact is in every employer’s best interest.


It’s often said that a happy employee is a productive employee. Increasing awareness of and responsibility for an entire workforce’s mental health can seem a daunting task.

But the benefits — monetary or otherwise — often outshine any particular negatives that you can find.

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