It is essential for companies, big and small, to invest in employee well-being initiatives. Some companies say they do not have a large enough budget, but that is not the problem. Everyone can use plenty of employee well-being initiatives, no matter the budget. Effective employee well-being strategies start with communication, time, and thoughtfulness.
What is employee well-being?
At a basic level, employee well-being is one of a few signs of engaged employees. More broadly, employee well-being is a term that addresses a range of work-life aspects, including:
- Emotional wellness
- Financial wellness
- Psychological wellness
- Physical wellness
- Social wellness
Employee well-being influences the overall health of the work environment and can be measured on individual and organizational levels. Companies that prioritize employee well-being initiatives and integrate them into their culture achieve better outcomes for employees and the company.
Learn more: Best Companies for Work-Life Balance
Why is employee well-being important?
Employee well-being has a direct impact on productivity and performance. People take fewer sick days, make better decisions, and are motivated to bring their best to work when it’s thriving. As a result, organizations benefit from lower turnover and burnout.
The benefits of implementing employee well-being initiatives
Successful well-being initiatives can ensure your workforce is happy and healthy. At the company level, an effective well-being strategy will:
- Improve the company culture.
- Increase employee engagement.
- Boost productivity and performance.
- Reduce employee turnover.
- Improve customer service and quality.
- build a positive reputation and attract new talent.
30 initiatives to improve employee well-being
Wondering how to improve employee well-being at work? Here are 30 ideas that will improve overall employee health and wellness. Choose those that suit your culture, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different employee well-being strategies to find one that produces tangible results.
1. Show employee recognition
Employee appreciation and recognition are two ways to improve well-being at work. Offering creative and genuine praise (try these nine employee recognition award ideas) is a great way to make employees feel valued. The benefits of employee recognition include happier, more connected employees and a positive work environment.
2. Administer employee well-being surveys
Surveys are an effective way to measure employee well-being and identify where there are improvement opportunities. Most employees enjoy sharing feedback. It also makes them feel heard and valued, strengthening their connection to your organization.
3. Offer mental health awareness and counseling
More and more organizations are prioritizing mental health awareness, counseling, and resources. Ensuring employees have the necessary tools and support helps reduce mental health-related sick days and employee burnout.
4. Host virtual wellness events
Virtual events are a great way to improve employee well-being, especially in our new world of remote and hybrid work. Host well-being experts virtually or find wellness-focused experiences online that focus on helpful topics like burnout, mediation, mental health, nutrition, sleep, stress, and team building.
5. Encourage workplace friendships
Workplace friendships make people happy and help employees develop productive interpersonal dynamics. These relationships improve collaboration, creativity, and performance across and within teams. Plus, socialization makes day-to-day work more enjoyable and rewarding.
6. Allow flexible work hours
Workplace flexibility benefits both the employee and the company. Flexible work hours enable employees to achieve better work-life balance and well-being. It also builds employee trust, which has a direct impact on engagement levels and commitment.
7. Provide standing desks
Standing desks have many physical health benefits for employees, helping to reduce fatigue and the health risks associated with sitting all day. They also boost mood and improve focus, which can positively impact productivity.
8. Implement remote workdays
Many companies and employees have grown accustomed to working from home. Offering remote workdays promotes balance, focus, and well-being.
9. Offer unlimited PTO
Unlimited time off has become a popular benefit. Some companies have found that it increases employee focus, productivity, and performance. Flexible PTO plans show employees that leadership understands the need to recharge to work at the highest capacity.
10. Institute employee sabbaticals
Sabbaticals offer extended time away to tenured employees. Often associated with milestone anniversaries, well-being benefit helps employees navigate their career path and can even help strengthen their connection to the company. Promoting sabbaticals also helps prevent workplace burnout.
11. Offer unlimited paternity and maternity leave
Parenthood is a significant adjustment for families. And for working parents, these new responsibilities can present an enormous amount of stress. While not for every company, unlimited maternity and paternity leave can benefit companies when parents can return to their roles reconnected, refreshed, and better prepared to work.
12. Encourage the use of sick days
Especially in the new world of remote and hybrid work, employees often feel pressure to work through illness. Genuine encouragement will help employees feel comfortable taking much-needed time off. This process helps improve well-being at work by reminding people that they need to balance productivity with rest, and it helps reduce workplace burnout.
13. Ensure autonomy over work goals and strategies
Giving employees autonomy over their work supports a culture of respect that helps people feel happier and more confident. This self-management strategy motivates employees to own their goals, productivity, and work schedules. Plus, it helps employees manage their sick days and vacation schedules.
14. Encourage volunteer opportunities
Volunteering is an excellent employee well-being initiative to implement. Offering these opportunities conveys a lot about a company’s culture and commitment to strengthening its local community. Volunteering will make employees feel fulfilled, plus it helps balance their overall well-being and work-life balance mindset.
15. Practice schedule stability
Schedule instability has a negative impact on employees, including an inability to manage their personal and work responsibilities. Especially in the retail and service industries, companies can reduce employee stress by setting schedules in advance. Reducing fluctuation will give people time to balance their busy lives and bring their best selves to work.
16. Hire sufficient staff
Feeling stressed for long periods takes a toll on employee health and well-being. Long hours and pressure to work quickly can increase employee burnout, frustration, and turnover. Hiring sufficient staff distributes the work to help companies boost morale, improve retention rates and improve recruitment processes.
17. Support employees’ personal needs
Employees will feel more satisfied at work when they feel their employer genuinely supports their personal needs. Whether it’s education, family, health, or hobbies — companies can boost employee well-being by giving support and time with no questions.
18. Provide healthy snacks
Healthy snack options ensure that everyone’s energy stays high. It’s a nice touch to provide healthy snack options for employees. When you’re busy, it can be harder to prioritize finding healthy snack options.
19. Require mandatory lunch breaks
Employees are more likely to take lunch breaks when management makes them a requirement, leading by example. While it seems trivial, employees are more likely to work through lunch when they see others doing the same. Productivity will improve if everyone takes breaks midday to step away, reset, socialize, and enjoy lunch away from their desks.
20. Host team lunches
Team lunches are a simple but great way to boost employee morale and well-being. Offering catered healthy lunch options or the opportunity to go out to eat together will help with team building and socialization. Plus, it’s the perfect midday reset for an energized and productive afternoon.
21. Reinvigorate with company exercise challenges
Competing and socializing outside work adds team energy and encourages a healthy workforce. Companywide exercise challenges are a fun way for employees to release endorphins and a creative way to foster employee engagement. Some fun options include races, stair challenges, stretching, and workout classes.
22. Offer compensation and positive performance reviews
Financial recognition is a huge part of the employee well-being equation. Recognizing employees’ a job well done with positive performance reviews and raises is one way to improve motivation and satisfaction. It can also inspire career growth and professional development.
23. Give company swag
Giving out company swag is a fun way to boost morale and well-being. Offer items that people will benefit from using. Some examples include:
- comfy sweatshirts or blankets
- exercise clothes
- fitness gear
- pet toys
- seasonal accessories
- water bottles
24. Try some team-building activities
Team-building activities build trust and improve collaboration. They also reduce conflict and minimize stress. Team building activities also allow companies to learn more about their employees’ interests and passions.
25. Hold company-wide meetings
Companies can enrich their employees’ well-being and culture by hosting regular company-wide meetings. These meetings help companies introduce new initiatives, promote values, recognize great work, and set shared goals. They’re also a great way to improve collaboration and inspiration between different teams that don’t usually work together.
26. Include safety training
Safety training reduces the risk of injury, which keeps employees healthy. Focus the training on how to prevent injuries and how to handle them if something goes wrong. Employees will feel more supported and in control of their safety, which helps everyone work more constructively.
27. Provide personal development opportunities
Including personal development opportunities is one way to improve well-being at work. Helping employees reach their full potential builds a sense of connection and makes employees feel valued. Other benefits of employee training and development include more future-oriented employees and higher retention levels.
28. Bring in the natural light
Natural light is an aesthetic initiative that has real health benefits for employees. Working in an environment with natural light exposure promotes engagement, productivity, and well-being. It makes employees less drowsy and more stimulated, plus research shows natural light makes humans happier in general.
29. Encourage screen breaks
If your employees spend most of their time at a computer, encourage them to take frequent screen breaks to reduce eye strain and headaches. The “20-20-20” rule says looking at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds every twenty minutes helps reduce eye strain. This wellness initiative will also help employees get more restful sleep between work days.
30. Make adjustments for remote workers
Remote work can be isolating and challenging, so be intentional about including these employees. Choosing initiatives that translate well to in-office, hybrid, and remote employees ensures everyone feels included, which plays a significant role in well-being. Engaging remote employees will also prevent burnout in remote workers.
How to implement well-being initiatives
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for improving employee well-being. That’s why it’s important to experiment with these ideas to find what’s most meaningful for your culture. Employee engagement surveys are another way to capture valuable feedback to determine what’s working and what is not. Repeat the following steps until you have an employee well-being process that works for your company:
- Survey your employees to gauge your current culture and determine what matters most to employees.
- Brainstorm ideas for improving employee well-being based on employee feedback.
- Identify the resources needed for a successful rollout.
- Assemble a team to implement employee well-being initiatives.
- Measure effectiveness and results.
- Make improvements to your employee well-being strategy.
Become a Top Workplace for employee health and well-being
The Top Workplaces for Employee Well-Being award recognizes organizations with a people-first culture that prioritizes employee health and well-being — all supported by anonymous employee feedback.
All Top Workplaces awards help organizations boost morale, attract new talent, and stand out in a competitive market. Promoted in over sixty media outlets across the country, Top Workplaces is the gold standard of employer recognition.
Are you proud of your company’s employee well-being initiatives? Get recognized for it! Nominate your organization for Top Workplaces, the employer recognition program that offers awards in 60+ regional markets and national awards for culture and industry excellence.