What Does Wellness in the Workplace Really Look Like?

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Benefits Alliance Pulse

Discover why it’s essential for boosting employee engagement, productivity, and overall business success.

Have you ever walked into a workspace and felt an immediate sense of ease? A place where employees laugh, collaborate freely, and genuinely enjoy being?

That’s what wellness in the workplace really looks like. It’s more than just gym memberships or fruit bowls in the break room. Envision a more comprehensive strategy that not only takes care of physical health but also factors in mental and emotional wellness.

This week’s Pulse looks at strategies for creating such wellness programs. We’ll discuss how to measure their impact effectively, too.

The challenges aren’t small – from limited resources to a lack of buy-in from leadership. But overcoming them? That leads to improved morale, increased productivity, fewer sick days… the list goes on!

Curious yet? Let’s dive in.


What is Workplace Wellness?


Workplace wellness is an encompassing system for creating a beneficial and fruitful work setting that bolsters your team’s optimal physical, mental, and passionate prosperity.

A truly healthy workplace promotes an environment where employees feel valued and supported and are encouraged to prioritize their health. This can include strategies like providing flexible work hours for better work-life balance or establishing open lines of communication for discussing stressors without judgment.

Innovative companies such as Google have recognized this broader definition of wellness and implemented successful programs focusing on employee fitness centres, healthy food options, comprehensive mental health resources and stress-reduction activities.

The goal is not just healthier employees but happier ones, too; employees who bring their best selves to work each day because they know their employer genuinely cares about them.


Benefits of Workplace Wellness


Workplace wellness isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a business strategy that can lead to significant benefits, from boosted employee morale to increased productivity.

Wellness initiatives also help reduce absenteeism and decrease healthcare costs, offering considerable savings for businesses.

Fostering physical health is one aspect, but let’s not forget about mental and emotional well-being. A holistic approach supports employees in achieving their best on all fronts – something every employer should aim for.


  • An upbeat workforce is more likely to exceed performance goals – the result? Better bottom lines.
  • A healthy team takes fewer sick days – no need for constant reshuffling of tasks due to unexpected absences.
  • Caring about staff health leads to loyalty; employees are less likely to leave if they feel valued at work. Say hello to reduced recruitment expenses.


To put it simply: investing in workplace wellness pays off.


Strategies for Creating a Wellness Program


A comprehensive wellness program needs to cover physical activity, nutrition education, stress management, and mental health support. But how do you start creating one?


Physical Activity Programs


Encourage movement throughout the day. This could be as simple as stand-up meetings or stretching breaks every hour. For more impact, consider providing access to fitness facilities or group exercise classes.


Nutrition Education


Educate employees about healthy eating habits. Invite a nutritionist for lunch-and-learn sessions or distribute newsletters with tips on balanced diets and easy-to-make recipes.


Stress Management Techniques


Mindfulness practices such as meditation can help manage stress levels. Consider bringing in experts to teach relaxation techniques or offering subscriptions to mindfulness apps like headversity or Headspace.


Mental Health Support


Promote open dialogue about mental health issues within your company culture. Provide resources like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that provide counselling services when needed.


Examples of Successful Wellness Programs


Google, renowned for its commitment to employee wellbeing, gives employees access to fitness centres and offers nutritious food options in their cafeterias. The company’s comprehensive wellness program also includes stress-reduction activities like massage therapy sessions and yoga classes.

Similarly, Microsoft has made strides with its own workplace wellness initiatives. They’ve focused on mental health support by offering counselling services and training managers on mental health awareness.

Social networking giant Meta (formerly Facebook) is not far behind either. Alongside providing free meals and workout spaces, they promote regular time-off policies that encourage work-life balance for all employees.

These examples illustrate how organizations can create effective programs aimed at promoting overall employee wellness and making sure workers feel cared for while improving productivity levels within the business environment.


Measuring the Impact of Wellness Programs


The genuine examination of a wellness program’s viability is seen in its outcomes. You can gauge this by tracking several key metrics related to employee well-being.

A critical indicator is employee engagement levels. An engaged workforce often translates into increased productivity and morale, making it an excellent barometer for wellness success.

Don’t stop there; keep tabs on absenteeism rates. A dip suggests your employees are healthier and happier, likely in part thanks to your initiatives. Similarly, reduced healthcare costs indicate improved physical health among staff members – another sign that you’re doing something right.

All these stats serve as objective evidence of the positive effect workplace wellness programs have on both individuals and organizations. Start measuring today because knowing where you stand to begin with is the first half of the battle.


Challenges of Implementing Wellness Programs


Creating a wellness program can be challenging. Limited resources can often become roadblocks on the path to improved employee health and happiness.

Lack of buy-in from senior leadership is another hurdle. If they don’t see value in these programs, getting them off the ground becomes tough.

A good start?


  • Create programs tailored to your employees’ needs.
  • Incorporate fun elements like fitness challenges or mental health workshops.
  • Promote a culture where taking care of oneself is not only accepted but encouraged.


Yes, setting up a worthwhile wellness program is likely not as easy as it sounds and the hurdles are real. But get this – successful programs can boost employee engagement by 69%. Now that’s worth a few bumps in the road.


Relevant FAQs


What does wellness in the workplace look like?


Workplace wellness manifests as a supportive environment promoting employee health. This includes physical fitness programs, mental health resources, nutritious food options, and stress management initiatives.


What does a wellness program look like?


A solid wellness program offers activities to boost physical activity levels, educational content on nutrition, mental health support mechanisms, and strategies for managing stress effectively.


What does wellness mean to employees?


To employees, wellness means having the necessary resources at work to maintain or improve their overall well-being—physically, mentally, and emotionally—for improved job satisfaction and productivity.


What is the effect of wellness in the workplace?


The impact of workplace wellness includes increased productivity levels among staff members, reduced absenteeism rates due to illness or burnout, and decreased healthcare costs for employers over time.



Wellness in the workplace looks like a holistic approach, doesn’t it? One that supports physical health and also prioritizes mental and emotional well-being.

We’ve talked about the benefits – improved morale, increased productivity, fewer sick days. These aren’t just words but tangible improvements companies see when they invest in their employees’ wellness.

So what does wellness in the workplace really look like? A happy, healthy team performing at its best every day!