Updated: Apr 1
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Work is a fundamental part of life, and as such, we all give some thought to how to make it a pleasant and healthy place to be. Even if you’re passionate about what you do, as we are at Maison Ito, it’s vital to understand the importance of having a professional habitat where employee wellbeing is a priority for one good reason: we spend one-third of our lives at work!
We’re on the mission of helping you explore some wellness initiatives you might find interesting. Below you will find a list of 10 ideas to create a workplace culture of wellness any business can implement. Ready to learn more about them? Keep reading!
#1 Install rest areas where employees can get some shuteye
'Rest room' at Google offices in Zürich
Businesses such as Google are deeply aware of the correlation between wellbeing and job performance. That’s why the almighty digital giant constantly searches for ways to improve the health, wellbeing, and morale of its employees. One of their best-known initiatives is the set up of nap pods at their headquarters. Apparently, a few other companies agree this is a great idea: Nike, Cisco, or Ben & Jerry’s have also incorporated into their wellness programs.
Could your business be the next on this list?
#2 Set up walking challenges to keep your team moving!
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Tight deadlines and busy agendas often make it difficult for teams to find the time to take a break, get up from their chairs, and move around.
That’s when walking challenges come to the rescue! Encouraging employees to take the time to fit physical activity into their busy workday can become fun and exciting when you set up a challenge. Establish routes and targets and reward winners by the end of every month with gift vouchers, discounts, or some time off! Note that 10,000 steps are a reasonable target for healthy adults.
Remember it’s easy for everyone to track their steps with a step counter app or a smartwatch. Step tracker, for example, offers a map tracker that records routes with GPS in real-time. That way, you can set up routes for your teams and only take into account their steps during certain hours — weekends, holidays and free time are out of competition!
#3 Encourage workers to build healthy routines
Photo credit: Pexels
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to incorporate a new habit into our routines? The answer may surprise you: it may take up to 66 days! This means it can take up to two months for any new habit to feel natural or to become automatic.
Besides your walking initiative, you can also consider setting up habit-building challenges to encourage workers to drink more water, eat healthy snack alternatives (such as nuts), or take the stairs instead of the lift. You'll get bonus points if you can partner with a nutritionist and a chef to create bespoke corporate nutrition programs for employees to help them reach their peak energy and performance!
Do not miss Maison Ito's favourite idea! Make Fridays the day everyone looks forward to (more than usual) by setting up a juice bar for everyone to be able to order — or even make — freshly made smoothies! You will also help people get into the habit of having antioxidant and healthy drinks on a weekly basis!
#4 Negotiate lower fees with local or online fitness instructors
When it comes to fitness and keeping their New Year’s Resolutions of improving physical activity, your teams might want to use a little help from you!
Have you ever considered partnering up with local or online fitness instructors to offer discounts to your employees? Gyms are often open to negotiating their prices with companies, and online fitness instructors offer great fees for groups!
Emilie Celine, a personal trainer based in Barcelona, affirms: “from my experience, personal training and duo workouts help people achieve better results in a shorter amount of time, especially appreciated by professionals with busy schedules. A personal trainer can also help you give that extra boost during the workout to get the most of it. I also offer online coaching, but my clients love the personalised attention they don't get at home. During these times, I highly advise opting for onsite and outdoor training to get away from screens and take care of both your physical and mental health ”.
Emilie also points out that her approach with office workers — especially those who spend most of their day sitting — is to target the posterior chain and core. She also recommends the use of standing desks to alternate between a sitting and a standing position during the course of a day.
#5 Inform teams about the importance of reducing eye strain
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How many hours does your team spend looking at a screen? If the answer is more than 2 hours per day, then they will for sure appreciate receiving information about eye strain and how to reduce it to avoid vision problems.
If you’re an office worker, you might be among the 50% of people worldwide affected by digital eye strain (DES), also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Encourage teams to reduce their risk of eye strain by adjusting the brightness of their screen (it should be approximately the same as the brightness of their surrounding workstation). Meditating on a regular basis exercising their eyes with the “20-20-20 rule” are also great ways to keep eyes healthy! The latter consists of looking away from our computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds.
#6 Keep caffeine-free options and herbal teas in the break room
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Known as the greatest ally of workers to fight fatigue and tiredness, coffee is one of the most popular hot beverages in the workplace. Numbers don’t lie: a survey conducted by CoffeeBI estimated that in Europe, 52% of the volume of coffee consumed out of home is drunk in the office!
However, you might be familiar with the side effects of too much caffeine: insomnia, headaches, shakiness.... So what about helping your employees regulate their caffeine intake? Ensure some alternatives are available in the break room such as herbal or green teas or refreshing lemon juices!
You can top this off by keeping oat or non-dairy milk in the fridge or providing natural sweeteners like local honey or unrefined sugar so people can sweeten their hot drinks.
#7 Treat employees with in-office massages on a regular basis
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Picture this: your team had a long, busy week of tight deadlines and closing great deals. They’ve done a great job but Friday comes and you can feel exhaustion in the air, all worsened by poor workplace posture. Does it sound familiar? Your team deserves a treat, and there are a few things they’d welcome more than a relaxing massage.
A truly popular initiative amongst employees, in-office massages are the perfect way to bring wellness to the workforce. You can contact a local therapist to negotiate a lowered fee, especially if onsite office massages become a monthly or regular thing. Definitely the first step to happier employees!
#8 Recommend must-read wellness books and blogs in the company newsletter
Does your company have an internal newsletter? This tool is a great way to communicate your business’ news, achievements, and any other important information. If employee wellness is one of your priorities, then make sure this is effectively communicated! You can do this by including a list of recommended wellness books or blogs next time you send a company newsletter.
There are a few we love and have handpicked for you:
Xuan Lan’s blog is a great source of information about yoga and mindfulness;
Estoreta’s web/blog gives great tips for working moms and also shares great natural, hand-made decor ideas;
ffitcoco’s blog shares healthy recipes and recommends awesome places and restaurants to visit across Costa Brava; and our very own blog would be a great feature in your newsletter, so let us know if we make the cut!
#9 Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries with self-care gifts!
There is no better way to show your employees you care about their well-being than by celebrating special occasions with some wellness freebies. Make sure you mark everyone’s birthdays and work anniversaries on your calendar and plan something special for them!
Vouchers for a massage, a 1-month free pass to gym or yoga lessons, a basket of local products (veggies, fruits, cheese…) there are many ways you can boost your team’s well-being! Put some options on the table and let each employee pick!
#10 Facilitate the purchase of local produce
Photo Credit: The Chutney Life
The benefits of a balanced diet are widely known by all of us, but you might also find it interesting to know eating well is associated with feelings of wellbeing. A big part of eating healthy involves buying fresh, local products, because this allows us to eat seasonally and get more nutrient density, among many other pros.
You can promote buying local products among your employees by contacting farmers so they can come to your company a couple of times per month to sell their foods. You can also negotiate lower fees with them to offer your team special prices or baskets full of local produce. This way, you can make it easier for workers to buy fresh, seasonal products.
Wellness plays a key role in keeping employees happy at work, and a happy team is usually a productive, engaged and resilient workforce. That’s why building a corporate environment in which employees feel well looked after is becoming a big priority for businesses both big and small.
By prioritising wellbeing and cultivating joy in the workplace, you’re ensuring your employees’ needs are met, and that they are also physically, socially, and emotionally nourished. Does your business have any wellbeing initiatives in place? Tell us on Instagram!
BY JULIANA R. & EMILIE CELINE
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