Wellness programs are known to be beneficial to both employer and employees. If you have an existing wellness program that is underutilized, are launching a new wellness program, or are looking for a short-term initiative to test responsiveness, consider a wellness week. Here is a list of budget-friendly activities and ideas for a wellness week to get your employees excited about being healthy.
Monday: Get Moving Day
Step-It-Up: If your building has stairs, set up a stair challenge. Play some upbeat music, put a chart on the wall, and have employees self-monitor flights of stairs. You can offer 30 minutes off work early on Friday for every five or 10 flights climbed or assign points to this and other activities to be used for prizes at week’s end. To inspire participation, print out these stair fitness signs from the CDC.
10 Minute Challenge: Have the executives turn up in workout clothes to demonstrate a low-impact, office-friendly workout that will be done throughout the week. Jumping jacks, chair yoga, and stretching are all great. Here’s a link to a 10-minute office workout from the University of Virginia to get you thinking. Throughout the week, a couple of times a day, ring a bell to trigger a workout session.
Tuesday: Sports Day
Invite everyone to enjoy a day of casual dress wearing their favorite sports jersey. Have one of the managers dress as a referee or play coach. Have everyone brown bag it (if your budget is very tight) or order in sandwiches and host a picnic lunch outside. Then play a quick game of flag football or bring some Frisbees to toss around. If you have a little more space, how about a quick game of kick ball? The idea is to get everyone moving with an eye on individual fitness and team camaraderie.
Wednesday: Health Fair Day
Invite vendors that will come for little or no cost for a chance to promote their services. Ask your health insurance company to send a rep with health info and some cool swag. Consider hiring a massage therapist to offer five minute chair massages, a personal trainer to do fitness evaluations, a professional organizer to discuss ergonomics, and a local yoga studio or gym to do mini-sessions. To really amp it up, you can spend about $50 per employee for biometric screenings.
Thursday: Healthy Eating Day
Today is about smart food choices. Offer fruit in the break room, keep healthy snacks stocked through the day, and bring in a nutritionist, local chef, or talented home cook to host a healthy cooking demonstration. Either cook enough for everyone or cater a healthy lunch to share as a team. This can be a low-key lunch to chat and hang out, or a more informative lunch and learn that covers fun food facts, the new food pyramid, ways to stay smart when eating on the go, and other useful food topics.
Friday: Stress Buster Day
Wrap up the week with a focus on de-stressing your workforce. Start the morning with a healthy snack and 10-minute meditation session. Ring a bell or schedule a calendar alert for a three-minute mental health break for deep breathing and stretching every two hours. Schedule a group walk around 2:30, when most employees experience a post-lunch slump, and offer healthy yogurt and berry snacks. Wrap up the day early with drawings and prizes for employees who participated in the wellness week.
The key to a great wellness week is planning. Start with your budget – even a small one will work. Don’t be shy about asking for donations from various vendors. Even vendors who can’t participate or who aren’t a good fit (like your credit union) may be willing to donate a gift card for your prize drawing. Be sure you have buy-in from executives and management since their enthusiasm will encourage participation.
Heavily promote the program at least a week in advance and be “mysterious” in your advertising. Let staff know it’s a wellness week and that there will be food, fun, and prizes, but don’t give too much information. People will show up out of sheer curiosity and the lure of free stuff – it’s human nature. Put up fliers, send emails, and pop into offices to remind everyone to come.
Know what you want to get out of the wellness week. Is your goal to get more people to sign up for the wellness program? Are you trying to build enthusiasm for a future wellness program? Do you have a sedentary workforce that you want to get moving to encourage better health? Whatever your goal is, be sure your events all lead back to what you want to accomplish.
If you have more of a budget, you can ramp up any of these ideas. You can add healthy lunches, smoothie breaks, a mani/pedi spa session, promotional t-shirts or visors, and pricier prizes like higher end gift cards. Larger companies often bring in an outside consultant to run their wellness week or health fair – just be sure the events they plan are attuned to your goals.
If you are interested in exploring richer benefits options for your team, including wellness programs and more, The ABD Team is ready to talk.