8 Easy Initiatives to Kick-start Your Workplace Wellness

Workplace wellness program

If you’re like us, you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Workplace Wellness Programs recently, and it’s worth paying attention to.  Did you know that the average adult spends more than one-third of their adult life at work? So you’d assume that the workplace environment would be a place that supports and encourages one’s overall health.  Unfortunately, too often the workplace is associated with stress and anxiety and regularly leads to decreasing rates of productivity and absenteeism.


With this in mind, many employers are now realizing that a key ingredient towards success is sustaining a healthy organization. As a result, this has lead to the increasing popularity of workplace wellness programs.


And while not all companies can afford to send their employees on lavish health retreats, the good news is employee well-being doesn’t need to be costly, and minimal investments can produce effective results. So whether you choose to offer a comprehensive wellness program, or invest in a few simple initiatives on a tight budget, we’ve put together a list of 8 wellness initiatives to kick-start wellness in your workplace.


1. Healthy Snacks: Empower your employees to make healthier choices when it comes to snacks by stocking staff areas with plenty of healthy snack alternatives.  Vancouver based companies Naked Snacks, and Natural Source Snacks are great alternatives that offer healthy customizable snacking options delivered straight to your workplace.


2. Lunch & Learns: Just as easy as they sound- get your employees together over the lunch hour to take part in a health-related presentation or training session. Once a month, bring in a healthcare expert or select a Wellness Champion from your workplace to lead the discussion. Lunch & Learns are an easy, fun, and effective way to get your employees’ attention that will leave them feeling educated and inspired to make better decisions when it comes to their health.  Lunch & learns topics could include:

  • Stress management techniques
  • Nutrition 101
  • In-office stretches and exercises
  • Meditation/Mindfulness practice
  • Lunch and TED Talks
  • Menu planning for a busy week


Not all topics will appeal to everyone, so tailor your topics to discuss information that is relevant to your company and employees.


3. Turn Meetings into Walking Meetings: A study at Standford discovered that a person’s creative output can increase up to 60% just by walking. The act of walking has also been known to produce more honest exchanges with employees- perhaps one of the many reasons why leading visionaries- Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Weiner- were all known fans of walking meetings.  So next time you’re headed to the boardroom, keep walking and take your meetings outdoors!


4. Health & Wellness Fair: Host an annual wellness fair, bringing together a variety of health and wellness vendors, services and practitioners into one collective space. With a little planning, this is an inexpensive way to engage and educate your employees while promoting local business.


5. Wellness Technology: There’s an app for that Wellness apps make it easy for employees to take steps toward healthier habits during the workday. Some of our favourites that employers can promote and provide access for their employees include:


  • Sprout- The Vancouver based all-in-one wellness platform inspires employees to get fit and empowers employers with the tools to manage and measure wellness. Employees can participate in wellness challenges, connect with co-workers, and access a range of health resources.


  • WaterMinder Keeping track of your daily water intake is not an easy task in today’s busy workplace.  WaterMinder, is an easy, intuitive app that can help your employees ensure that their bodies are well hydrated.


  • Headspace In just a few short minutes, employees can relax with guided meditations that help bring calm, wellness and balance into the workplace. Features of the app include ‘mini meditations’ offering 2-3 minutes sessions for a quick mental reset, as well as ‘SOS’ sessions for moments of panic, anxiety, and stress.


  • Sworkit- Short for “simply work it”, this app enables employees to do just that. Users can choose from a variety of workouts ranging from five to 60 minutes-perfect for those mid-day breaks.



6. Wellness “Wednesday”: Is your workplace struggling to jump on the wellness bandwagon? To get the movement going, start off with one day a week dedicated to wellness. Wellness Wednesdays are an increasingly popular way to beat those mid-week slumps. Weekly activities could include healthy potlucks, stair challenges, or on-site yoga.  


7. Money Matters: A recent study found that Canadians ranked money as their number one source of stress. To kickstart the financial component of wellness into your programming, employers can:


  • Promote financial literacy with on-site education/seminars
  • Provide access to financial planning
  • Tailor your existing benefits to the needs specific to your employees (i.e. student loan repayments, tuition assistance, retirement plans)


8. 21 Day Gratitude Challenge: Daily gratitude can lower stress levels, improve quality of sleep, strengthen the immune system, and increase one’s self-esteem- just to name a few. A great way to inspire gratitude in the workplace is by participating in the 21-day Gratitude Challenge. A simple challenge that encourages employees to write down 3 things they are grateful for each day.  Every day, review the list from the day before, then, write 3 new things down. Do it again, and again, for 21 days. By the end of the three weeks, even the little things you’ve written down will add up to something much bigger.


These are just a few easy initiatives to kick-start wellness in the workplace. We encourage you to include a few of them into your own unique wellness plan.  But remember, health isn’t just about juice cleanses and running. Wellness encompasses all aspects of one’s health, whether that is mental, emotional, financial, or physical.  So take a holistic approach in your initiatives. Employees are more likely to take part in wellness programming when all elements of health are incorporated through a variety of activities.


What wellness initiatives do your employees love? We’d love to hear from you!


If you are interested in learning more about creating wellness programs in your workplace, please contact our specialist Mia McCannel at mia@pivothrservices.ca.


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