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The most innovative corporate wellness programmes

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From organic, healthy food to adventure days out, employers with generous budgets are embracing the practice of offering extensive wellness programmes to their employees. What exactly do these look like?

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Often it is companies related to fitness that are leading the charge in health and fitness-based programmes. Of course, tech giants Google and Facebook, who are famous for their benefits programmes. However, traditional companies, such as KPMG and Accenture are also taking note of the importance of offering wellness programmes to their employees, especially as millennial workers care a lot more about this issue than their predecessors.

Fitness

Exercise and health programmes are at the forefront of wellness initiatives, but some companies are offering much more than just an on-site gym or paid for membership. Adidas offer an onsite lifestyle centre, a gym, lifestyle coaches, Know your numbers testing, stress coaching and sportspecificc training and coaching.

These programmes have ensured that 90% of Adidas (UK) employees ‘know their numbers’ for blood pressure, cholestoral, and BMI. They are also provided with full dietary advice, target dates and a personal trainer to ensure they’re able to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Fit Bit have an interesting approach to their fitness programme, unsurprisingly this involves their employees being given a fitbit to track their activity levels, this information is then relayed back to the company. Employees then receive rewards and benefits based on these results, encouraging them to be as active as possible.

Food

Food is a fundamental to any wellness programme and this is no different within the work place. Google is one of the leaders in this area, offering employees three meals a day free of charge. They also make it as easy as possible to make healthy choices with a simple colour coding system on all their food offerings. There’s also a focus on quality, with a huge selection on offer, ranging from sushi and salads to Korean noodles. They even provide smaller sized plates to encourage staff to eat healthy size portions.

Rodale, the publishing company behind Women’s and Men’s health magazines, provide organic farm to table food to their employees. Where impressive options are on the menu, such as; salmon with pine nut rosemary tapenade, or roasted shrimp with avocado and sweet corn relish over greens. Providing healthy food at Rodale makes sense, as it is in line with their core businesses and attracts people to the company.

Relaxation at work

Relaxation and mindfulness are big trends in the wellness industry, as it is increasingly recognised that overall wellbeing is linked to mental health as much as it is to diet and fitness. Companies are taking note by providing programmes aimed to let workers relax and reduce stress at work.

Yoga classes are a huge trend, for example, online retailer Etsy host weekly yoga sessions in which digital devices are banned, allowing people to take some personal time during the day and get away from their emails.

Major global companies such as KPMG, GSK, Nike and Google, are offering meditation spaces and classes to allow employees a break from the daily stresses of their life and work. Accenture also offer on-site confidential counselling for stress, substance abuse and anxiety to help their employees gain a healthy mental outlook.

Education and fun

Another recent trend in workplace wellness has been providing non-work-related educational courses. A recent Springer Link report revealed that employees experienced fewer negative emotions at work on days that they were engaged in learning activities. Which is why certain companies feel it is important to offer people with learning opportunities at work, often not specifically related to their job.

Brand consultancy Space Doctors gives employees one salaried week per year to persue educational opportunities, this is called ‘back to school’ time. People have taken creative writing courses, stand-up comedy. Space Doctors associate director Rosie Picton told the Guardian “It gives people a sense of their own identity,” the programme has been successfully running for three years with no plans to stop.

At google employees are offered the google teaching scheme in which google employees offer educational classes to other employees, which increases socialising across the business. Cooking classes, coding and even guitar lessons are all on offer, providing employees with a rewarding outlet from their day to day work.

Another interpretation of providing workplace stimulation is offering old fashioned fun activities. Zappos employees can choose a weekly fun activity to take part in, such as trampolining, mini golf or laser tag during their lunch break. They also have recess Tuesdays, a unique idea where the office plaza is transformed to a school recess area complete with childhood games such as tetherball.

 

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/aug/16/from-standup-comedy-to-free-massages-wellness-at-work-goes-mainstream

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