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  • Writer's pictureIbis Valdes

Popular Wellness Program Ideas

Wellness programs are taking off in popularity as part of a robust benefits package. They are also one of the most flexible benefits you can add because there are so many options. Wellness is quickly becoming more of an expectation and less of a perk. Take some inspiration below to start putting together a wellness program or packages that best serve your team’s needs:

1. Ask Your Employees

It may seem trite or obvious, but before you do anything ask your employees what they want! In fact, many employers do not ask their staff what they want out of a wellness program, which ends in mixed results and misunderstandings. Maybe there’s a fear of falling below expectations of what they want, but asking is important to set the example for good communication. You are not promising anything by surveying them or asking for ideas!

Maybe your team has some great ideas that you have not thought of yet. Good leadership is using your team's input into what you ultimately decide goes into your wellness program benefits. The most important thing to remember when designing employee wellness programs is that they are not one-size-fits-all. Your program must be tailored to and for your employees, yet another reason to survey the company prior to making final decisions. The best way to ensure participation is by offering activities that your employees want to do and the perks that your employees value.

2. Prioritize Access and Inclusivity

Make sure your wellness programs consist of activities and services that everyone can participate in. Remember that you want as many employees to sign up as possible. Do not think of wellness programs as an expense but as an investment for the health of your team and to keep engagement up. Consider a competition or a period where benefits are redeemable for a certain amount of time. Ideas include: Massages

Wellness-specific counseling sessions, such as fitness, nutrition, or financial

Chiropractor/acupuncture visits

Meal plan delivery

Edible arrangements

Free paid time off (PTO)

Lunch delivery or the winner wins free lunch for the entire department or team

Fitness classes/memberships

Charitable donations on behalf of the employee

Gift cards

3. Actively Encourage Staff to Use PTO (Paid Time Off)

This is one of the most overlooked benefits that already exist in many organizations. Sometimes employees fear using PTO because of overbearing managers that push their staff to the brink who actively discourage taking time off. Glassdoor reports that the underlying reason Americans don’t take their PTO is “fear.” They are fearful of falling behind on their work (34%), they believe no one else at their company can do the work while they’re out (30%), they are, at times, overly dedicated to their job or at times their company (22%), and they feel they should not be disconnected (21%), which is why so many Americans work while they are away. Set the example to change this hostile view of PTO and actively encourage staff to redeem their PTO. Productivity benefits from employees being encouraged to rest, recharge and spend time with loved ones. Consider if your organization’s work culture is living to work, or working to live.


Ibis Valdes is a consultant on diversity, inclusion, empowerment, and leadership. She now helps clients to press pause and refresh their brand, culture, and productivity through DEI strategy. Schedule your free assessment today by clicking here.

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