Productivity used to be associated with strict schedules, long hours, and a strict focus on output. But times are changing, and a new mindset is taking hold that leads to a healthier work environment.
Employers and leaders now acknowledge that team wellness is more than just a trend; it's a fundamental pillar that can drive success and elevate their organizations.
In this article, we’ll talk about how team wellness programs can impact productivity, job satisfaction, and the overall health of organizations.
How Important is Team Wellness for Employees?
Whether organizations are just joining the bandwagon or are genuinely concerned about their employees’ wellness, it’s evident that team wellness programs have become more common in recent years.
For employees, the importance of team wellness cannot be overstated, as it significantly impacts their well-being, job satisfaction, and the overall quality of their work life.
Here are some major reasons team wellness programs have become part of most organizations’ basic structure.
- Physical and Mental Health: Team wellness initiatives can have a positive impact on employees' physical and mental health. A healthier and less stressful work environment can reduce absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and increase overall well-being.
- Job Satisfaction: Employees who work in teams where wellness is prioritized tend to be more satisfied with their jobs. When they feel supported in their well-being, they are more likely to enjoy their work and stay engaged.
- Reduced Stress: Team wellness programs can help reduce stress levels among employees. High-stress levels can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and negatively impact job satisfaction.
- Enhanced Productivity: When teams are well, they are more likely to be productive. Team members who feel physically and mentally well can focus better, make fewer errors, and complete tasks more efficiently.
- Work-Life Balance: Team wellness programs often promote a healthy work-life balance, which is essential for employees. When employees have time and resources to care for their personal lives, they are more likely to be productive and satisfied at work.
With all the benefits of prioritizing health and wellness, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are developing creative programs to cover this arena.
How do Wellness Programs Benefit Organizations?
80% of organizations in the US with over 50 employees have corporate wellness programs, with a considerable part of this statistic brought in during the pandemic. The global health scare pushed so many organizations to think about how employee well-being impacted not just individual and team performance but the entire organization as a whole.
Here are just some of the ways that wellness initiatives benefit organizations:
- Employee Retention: Organizations that invest in team wellness are more likely to retain their employees. Employees are less likely to leave a job where they feel supported and valued as individuals.
- Lower Healthcare Costs: A focus on wellness can help reduce healthcare costs for the organization. When employees are healthier, they require fewer medical services, resulting in cost savings for both employees and the company.
- Enhanced Employee Engagement: Wellness programs often contribute to higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more committed to their work and the organization, leading to increased productivity and better customer service.
- Increased Employee Loyalty: Employees who feel supported in their well-being are more loyal to their organization. This loyalty can translate into long-term commitment and dedication to the company's goals.
- Fewer Workplace Conflicts: Wellness initiatives can help reduce workplace conflicts and tensions. When employees are less stressed and healthier, they are more likely to collaborate effectively.
- Compliance and Legal Benefits: Some wellness programs may lead to compliance with health and safety regulations, potentially reducing legal risks and liabilities for the organization.
Without a doubt, employee wellness programs have a far-reaching impact on the organization, positively affecting productivity, financial performance, company culture, and employee retention. These programs are an investment that can lead to healthier, happier employees and a more successful, sustainable organization.
8 Team Wellness Activities to Boost Performance
Let’s explore some wellness activities designed to promote team cohesion, boost morale, and create a vibrant and supportive work environment.
From stress-busting exercises to team-building adventures, these activities are carefully curated to enhance teamwork, foster communication, and create a sense of camaraderie among colleagues.
1. Monthly wellness newsletters
Education and awareness are key to success, especially when it comes to health and wellness.
It shouldn’t even be complicated. Informative articles, practical tips, and resources on healthy eating, stress management, exercise, and work-life balance are a huge help. The simpler the ideas are, the better to get everyone participating in any activities you plan on implementing.
For example, a newsletter might feature an article on the benefits of regular exercise, offering workout ideas, or highlighting the importance of incorporating movement into the workday.
2. Walking meetings
Meetings play a massive role in corporate culture, but lately, more and more people are making fun of meetings that could have been emails. It does make sense, knowing that sitting inside a boardroom takes time away from tasks that need to be completed.
Having walking meetings doesn’t just make sessions more interesting; it makes them healthier, too.
People are now more aware of the dangers of sitting too much, and walking meetings can help integrate more movement into a regular workday. It also gives team members the chance to inhale some fresh air instead of being stuck inside the building all the time.
It doesn’t have to be daily; in fact, many organizations limit walking meetings to 2 or 3 a week. For some, once a week is fine. Do know that the more frequent these meetings happen, the easier it is for employees to incorporate movement into their daily routines.
Where will you be walking to? You decide! You can take a walk around the block, or you can walk down one end of the parking lot to another.
This could even work for remote teams by having everyone take the meeting from their phones to make it easier to walk around their own neighborhoods.
3. Standing desks
The use of standing desks has become increasingly popular in the past few years, and for good reason. Medical experts say that sitting is the new smoking, with this habit linked to increased risk for heart problems, diabetes, and other serious diseases.
Buying a good standing desk doesn’t entirely solve the problem, but it takes you a step closer to health. Using standing desks reminds team members to get off their chairs every hour or so without disrupting their workflow.
Today’s range of standing desks fit the workplace perfectly, with most of them having electronic systems that make it easier to adjust their height.
Switching out every single desk in the office into these adjustable desks can be quite expensive. But doing it one step at a time can help you cut costs.
For example, you can assign an area where people can work while standing. Install a few standing desks there and have people walk over with their laptops when they feel the need to continue their tasks while standing.
4. Wellness rewards programs
Incentivizing and motivating employees to adopt healthier habits and lifestyle choices is one of the best ways to get people on your wellness programs.
Wellness reward programs offer tangible incentives, such as financial rewards, gift cards, or other perks, to encourage employees to engage in health-promoting activities proactively. For example, employees can earn rewards for achieving fitness goals, participating in wellness challenges, or attending wellness workshops.
It would be a huge help if you find out what kind of incentives your team members appreciate more so that you can make your approach more strategic. The more enticing the rewards are, the more likely they would join your wellness programs.
5. Lunch & learn sessions
Lunch and learn sessions aren’t just great for team building; they’re also a great way to improve awareness of issues surrounding health and wellness. You can invite wellness experts from all over who can talk to team members about the chosen topic while they enjoy their meal.
The great thing about lunch and learn sessions is that you can do them regularly and pick a different topic each time. You can focus on topics like mental health, stress management, nutrition, and more.
It would also be best to align the meal you’re serving with the message you’re trying to convey. Find healthy meals that any palate would appreciate, helping them realize that getting healthier doesn’t necessarily mean eating tasteless food (which, you’d have to admit, is a common misconception).
6. Meditation breaks
Quick meditation breaks throughout the day help reduce stress, enhance mental clarity, and improve overall well-being.
Even a guided meditation that runs for 5 to 10 minutes can have a massive impact on anyone’s day. This is especially useful on days when everyone’s stressed out because of deadlines, delays, and other work-related issues.
Encourage employees to take a mindfulness meditation break in the middle of a hectic workday, guiding them to focus on their breath and be present in the moment. You can send them videos or audio recordings to use on their own desks, or you could create a mindfulness corner where they are free from distractions as they ground themselves and put their minds at ease.
7. Fitness challenges
Who can accumulate the most number of steps in a span of a week or a month? Or who can lose the most weight within a given time period?
Fitness challenges bring out the competitive nature of team members but in a healthy way. This is definitely a competition where there are no winners or losers. Anyone who beats everybody else’s numbers might take home the prize, but everyone else who participates ends up healthier (which is a huge win, too, if you ask us).
8. Casual conversations
Don’t underestimate the power of having casual conversations that are not work-related. So many people become disengaged from work because of the lack of personal relationships at work, and having regular chats among teammates can help solve this problem.
Scheduling weekly or bi-weekly virtual coffee sessions using platforms like CoffeePals can help team members catch up, share personal anecdotes, or discuss their hobbies and interests to create a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
These random chats also help employees de-stress and seek support from their peers.