Motivate Employees in the New Year with a Wellness Program

Now is the best time to get the whole company committed to making healthier lifestyle choices in the new year through an employee wellness program. Investing in employees means investing in the long-term success of the business. Effective wellness programs can promote greater productivity, increase morale, and reduce stress which can yield lower healthcare costs, work-related injuries, and voluntary turnovers. Continue reading to find out how to update your existing programs.


Educate Your Employees

Informed employees are more likely to make smarter decisions about health and lifestyle changes. Bring an expert on common health concerns to the office to speak to employees and answer common questions that affect the modern workplace. Here are some examples.


  • Meal Prep: Host a chef for the day to teach employees about quick and easy weeknight meals they can prepare after work. Techniques like marinating meat overnight in plastic containers, using a slow cooker, or preparing meals on Sunday for the entire week will save time and reduce stress.
  • Nutrition: A nutritionist can review the basics of healthy eating habits so employees can learn the fundamentals of a nutritious, well-rounded meal, supplemented by tips on how to snack well and curb cravings. Give participants water bottles to remind them of the importance of hydration, health journals so they can track their eating habits, or nutrition guides for reference.
  • Hydration and Sleep: A combination of drinking at least 8 ounces of water and sleeping at least 8 hours per day will keep the body hydrated, awake, and focused throughout the work week. Adequate sleep can reduce fatigue and potentially common health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, among others. If employees are trying to lose weight, checking these two things off their list will help them achieve their goal.
  • Mental Health: Open conversations about depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions so employees can feel comfortable about seeking help with issues they may deal with privately. Encourage the usage of a stress ball and promote breathing exercises. Recommend walking breaks regularly and consider handing out pedometers so they can keep track of their steps.


Equip Your Employees

Once employee are provided with the basic understanding on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle in and out of the office, you can add incentives that encourage this continued behavior.


  • Better Snacks: Whether an employees has a tendency to snack between meals or has a craving, they can turn to your newer, healthier pantry. Include freeze-dried food, seeds, apple sauce, roasted seaweed snacks, Greek yogurt, rice cakes, low-sugar granola, and more. Offer caffeine-free tea and coffee, and sparkling water instead of soda. Make sure you have options for employees with food allergies. You can start by handing out snack packs to your team.
  • Team Lunch: Cater a healthy lunch day once a month or a healthy snack day once a week. Although pizza and doughnuts are delicious, they don’t provide the proper nutrients that employees need. Healthier food options in the office can help create a culture in the organization that prioritizes health and wellness.
  • Flu Shots: Make flu shots available in-office during winter months, and wellness check stations in the summer. Hand out tissue packets, hand sanitizers, or a flu care kit and encourage employees to cover their cough, too. If employees have access to these services and products, they are more inclined to take advantage of preventative care.


Incentivize Your Employees

If there is no reward component to the wellness program, employees are less likely to participate. Here are some campaigns you can implement in your workplace:


  • Quit! Programs: Design “Quit!” campaigns to motivate employees to leave behind detrimental habits such as smoking and unhealthy eating. Design the campaign with benchmarks and measurable goals. Employees who complete a Quit! program can earn a gift to commemorate their success. Give custom gift baskets or gift sets created for each participant and his/her new goals.
  • Health Ambassadors: Create a voluntary position dedicated to championing workplace wellness. This volunteer/health ambassador could work as a cheerleader and executor on behalf of your company’s wellness initiatives. The position would be accompanied by incentives available exclusively to the volunteer, like specialty gifts or additional personal time off.
  • Fitness Nudges: Send reminders to employees throughout the year to get their annual physicals. Offer gifts like pedometers, gym duffel bags, and other fitness gifts so employees can accomplish their goals before the end of the year.


Wellness programs are designed for employees so companies should request frequent feedback to improve the overall effectiveness of the program. Allow open communication so employees can make suggestions, requests, or volunteer to lead future activities. Improving the overall lifestyle of your employees will not only benefit them but the future of your company.