Integrating wellness programs and ideas into your workplace not only retains employees but it incentivises external candidates to apply to new job openings. It’s known that a happy working environment improves productivity, communication and balances our overall well being.
Regardless of company size, employee happiness is important. While tech giants stand as admirable pillars for such, new ideas don’t need to be grand to be good. We’ve compiled a list of the top 27 mental health-based initiatives you can implement for a healthier, happier working culture.
1. Flexible Working Hours
You could implement flexible working hours by allowing employees to arrive between 8-10 am and leave between 4-6 pm, whilst working a minimum number of hours that are expected throughout the week. Flexibility allows a morning person to hit the gym before work with ease, whilst night owls who struggle before 10 am can optimise maximum productivity as the day passes.
2. Remote Working One Day a Week
We all have different lifestyles outside of work and remote working will not only reduce stress levels but helps promote loyalty amongst employees too. If your business can’t operate with the whole team working remotely on the same day of the week, you can allow each employee to work from home on a day they wish that works for both parties.
3. Open Collaborative Work Spaces
If you’re able to, and have unused space in your workplace, turn it into a relaxed open sanctuary where colleagues can retreat to when working on collaborative projects. A change in scenery performs miracles for generating new ideas. When the space isn’t in use for a meeting it can also be used as an area for downtime.
4. Summer Fridays
Naturally, the summer months often see a decline in business across most sectors. Between the months of June and Sept, repay your employees for the extra hours put in during busy periods by signing off at midday or 3pm, company-wide.
5. On-site massages
Having a desk job requires predominantly sitting in the same position staring at a screen (or three), which can put a strain on our neck and shoulders. Introduce bi-weekly visits for on-site massages that can be booked in advance on a rota-basis or install massage chairs that can be reserved for 20 or 30-minute slots.
6. Infused water
There’s something significantly more appetising about water that has cucumber slices in it. Leave your average water cooler behind and switch up the water supply each day by adding some detox ingredients such as fresh fruit or mint and you’re guaranteed to up your team’s water intake.
7. Standing Desks
It’s known that being sedentary for prolonged periods impacts our bodies, from decreased blood flow and if coupled with an unhealthy diet it can increase our cholesterol. By offering standing desks, employees can alternate between the two throughout the day to get their body moving for not only their physical wellbeing but their mental stimulation.
8. Get Out For Meetings
Creativity flows when we do. Instead of booking the boardroom to stare blankly at a shared document for your next meeting, get your team out in the fresh air by setting up a walk together. Alternatively, you could host it in the local park.
9. Introduce a Wellness Day
Ever heard of Wellness Wednesday or Mindful Monday? Each week set aside a part of the day to take part in group mindfulness or encourage employees to meditate together. A continual effort and normalising of such practices help to reduce stress and promote a healthier community.
10. Weekly Team Building Activities
Team members come and go over time and even the most extrovert workers still feel nervous stepping into a new job. While social lunches and after-work drinks are a great way for newbies to feel involved, such activities are not always possible and new employees need ways to break the ice that feels comfortable to them. Weekly team building sessions to boost creativity, enhance following instruction and working collaboratively can teach us a lot about how we work as well as others.
11. Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Upon recruiting, new starters offer them a pair of blue light blocking glasses as part of their package. The technology behind the frames helps to block 99.9% of blue light emitted which helps reduce eye strain and fatigue from screen work throughout the day.
12. Recreational Room
No matter what age or how profiled our job may be, we all need downtime. A quick game of pool or releasing energy playing ping pong can work wonders on increasing productivity once we return to our desks.
13. Field Challenge
For a fun wellness activity, set aside one day a month where the team, department or if possible the entire organisation takes part in a day of games. The games don’t need to be extravagant or complex, simple challenges such as football, tennis or bowling are great ideas. Allow your teams to leave their to-do list behind, let their hair down and bond with other colleagues they may not have spoken with before.
14. Promote Break Times
It’s important as an employer to encourage your staff to take allocated breaks. Ensure managers allow their teams to spend their lunch break away from their desk and pop out for a coffee as and when they need.
15. Gratitude Challenge
This challenge can be done in teams or across departments to encourage employees in larger organisations to get to know colleagues they may not usually work with. Find an empty wall or space in your office and every week for one month every member is asked to write something they are grateful for. The post-its can be left anonymously if they wish. If you would like to encourage an open dialogue, set up a 30-minute meeting to go around the room and have everyone say aloud what they have been grateful for that week.
16. On-site Yoga
Yoga is living proof that physical activity has powerful effects on healing the mind. Though more viable for larger organisations, weekly on-site yoga sessions are a fantastic way for colleagues to unwind without the stress of leaving the premises.
17. Gym Schemes
Partner up with gyms in your local area to offer employees discounted rates. It promotes an incentive for those who wouldn’t go to the gym normally or feel they don’t have time outside of work to sign up.
18. Four Day Work Week
What we do outside of work is not our employer’s business, different choices mean different schedules. Perhaps one team member prefers a long weekend while another enjoys a midday break to focus on life admin. Is there a way you can reduce your working week? If your company would be stretched operating at four days as an organisation, you can implement a rota-basis where each employee takes a different day off a week so departments or teams fall behind.
19. Offer Healthy Snacks
Junk food is great as a temporary fix but spiking blood sugar comes with an equally fast crash which is not ideal for our concentration. Should your employees get a 3pm sugar craving offer out healthy seasonal fruits and raw sweet treats to boost their energy levels.
20. Fitness Challenge
Perhaps there are members of your team who struggle to find the motivation when it comes to fitness or perhaps you work with competitive individuals. Set group fitness goals for others to feel included. Ideas include reaching 10,000 steps a day for a week or running 5k in less than 20 minutes.
21. Nap Pods
Some of us recharge by drinking coffee but some of us just need an extra 20 minutes of shut-eye. If it helps with productivity, having a power nap is no different than stepping outside for fresh air. Installing a nap pod in the workplace sounds like a crazy idea, however, if monitored correctly, your team will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for your next board meeting.
22. Volunteering Scheme
Getting out and offering a helping hand for the needy puts life in perspective as well as develops our personal skills. Send team members to help at local homeless shelters, assist at food banks, or clean the local areas.
23. Let Them Blow off Steam
Workplace wellbeing initiatives can be as large as physical exercise or as small as allowing staff to take five if they need it. It’s important for line managers to work with their teams that benefit both parties. Fresh air and stepping away from your desk in moments of frustration will increase productivity as well as develop a newfound respect for their boss.
24. Subsidise Development Courses
One incentive when applying to a new job is the idea of career development. Members of your team may have most of the relevant experience but want to upskill in certain areas for their full potential. Offering schemes that contribute to staff’s development are a great way to give employees a chance which in turn lowers staff turnover.
25. Host Wellbeing Talks
Invite others into your workplace to tell their stories surrounding mental health. When someone is having a difficult time, hearing others talk about how they have overcome turbulent periods humanises the experience.
26. Walking Well Being Lunches
Some people are natural listeners and some find it hard to talk about personal work issues. It’s been proven that walking shoulder to shoulder allows us to open up easily, as opposed to talking face to face. Offer walking lunches amongst colleagues to express work concerns where needed.
27. A Mental Health App
It’s often hard being able to provide mental health support to all of your employees when traditionally organising talks or workshops, so instead opting for an app is a quick way to provide support across your whole organisations.
Our platform provides mental health support in your employees pocket, whenever they need it.
It helps them proactively manage their mental wellbeing through videos, articles and meditations. Focusing on helping them deal with a variety of issues including; stress, depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation. The content is tailored to each individual user. Alongside our focus on proactive support, we also provide 24/7 crisis support if they ever needed it. The App is personalised and branded to your company and integrates your existing wellbeing initiatives.
What Mental Health Initiative Will You Choose?
So there we have it, 27 workplace wellness ideas to help spark your imagination and set you on the path to a happier workplace.
Recent research has shown that for every £1 spent on employee wellbeing, businesses see a £5 return. So what will you do to help promote positive mental wellbeing in your workplace?