Are you looking for creative and effective wellness activities to boost health and morale for the whole office? We’ve got you covered with wellness activities that cover a range of topics, are fun, and can be used in-person or virtually.
While you may be quick to assume that wellness activities are stale, brown bag lunches covering tips to eating fruits and vegetables or the number on the scale, meaningful wellness activities cross a gamut of topics and can be activities woven throughout the yearly calendar.
Wellness is a full spectrum that includes not only nutrition and physical activity but also financial health, social and family relationships and spirituality. Whether you’re a registered dietitian looking for fresh outreach ideas or an HR manager looking to host something yourself, we have a plethora of meaningful activities for you to use all year long.
Get started with our free quick guide, Nutrition Education for Workplace Wellness.
Wellness activities sponsored can approach any aspect of the wellness wheel. And since we spend the majority of our waking hours working, improving work wellness can make a meaningful impact (1). Employee wellness is an investment that pays dividends – money invested in employee wellness activities saves money in health care costs as well as in absenteeism (2).
Host a Lunch and Learn
Who doesn’t love a free lunch?! Encourage employees to attend a lunch and learn, where they’re treated to a healthy meal and can simultaneously learn a few nutrition tips. We feel and focus best when we’re eating well, but what we can find online can be confusing and contradictory. Help your employees make sense of it all with an information-packed presentation that applies to their real life. Here are just a few ideas for lunch and learn topics that you could feature:
- Eat to Energize Your Workday
- Healthy Eating for Busy Professionals
- Healthy Eating Hacks for Busy Professionals
- Meal Planning 101
There are a few best practices to consider when planning your lunch and learn. Promote the event periodically leading up to it, and ask people to RSVP in advance so you know how much food to order. Host the lunch and learn in a comfortable spot that includes the tools you need, like a conference room with easy access to a projector.
Lastly, don’t forget about remote employees! Offer to stream the presentation virtually so that everyone is included.
Host a smoothie bar
Smoothies can be a quick snack or a nutritious meal, depending on how you make them. With all of the protein powders available, smoothies can feel intimidating or expensive. Getting an office blender and hosting a smoothie party can be a fun and informative way for the team to bond.
We have guides on how to build a better smoothie and how to make a higher-calorie shake for anyone with a goal of weight gain. And if your office has a Friday afternoon happy hour you’ll be even more prepared. Margaritas, anyone?
Lowering added sugar challenge.
Most of us are consuming far too much added sugar (3). When you really start to look at the nutrition facts panel, the added sugar adds up so quickly!
Luckily labeling laws have changed to make it easier to distinguish between the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables from the added sugar that can increase inflammation and risk of heart disease and diabetes. Whether your employees are vegetarian, paleo or eat most things, an added sugar challenge can be a fun and inclusive way to focus on healthier choices.
Snack Bar Taste Test
Snack bars are incredibly popular and the choices are seemingly endless. We don’t want to waste money on a box of bars if they turn out to be gross. How about having a taste testing party to try some new products?
Meatless Monday Group Lunch
About 5% of US adults identify themselves as vegetarian (4). Having a Meatless Monday lunch is an opportunity for your fellow co-workers to try new recipes and think outside of their usual turkey sandwich.
While the vegetarians in your office may not represent a large portion of total staff, cultivating an office that is more inclusive of all eating patterns helps everyone. Bonus? Most vegetarian meals include more veggies – that’s good for everyone, whether you are a vegetarian or not (5).
Join a 5k as an office team
A 5k race can be a doable distance for less experienced runners and an acceptable race length for walkers to complete. You can pick a local race and train together in person or virtually! Larger offices can have several smaller race teams and one department can challenge another. A little bit of competition can inject fun and camaraderie into the daily grind.
Fun preparation activities can include the actual walking and running training sessions, but also visiting a local running store to pick the perfect pair of running shoes, cross training with yoga classes or bike rides, decorating t-shirts or picking costumes to wear during the race and carb-loading for dinner the night before.
Switch your meetings to walking meetings for more creativity
Did you know that sitting for long periods of time dampens heart health and dampens focus (6)? Rather than feel drowsy by yet another meeting in the conference room, get moving and talk on the go. Your eyes will enjoy a break from screens and your brain will feel more creative and awake (7). Some enjoyable movement, especially when it can be a break outside, helps to build our resilience in life by helping to reduce stress.
Boost hydration for better focus
Did you know that dehydration makes it harder to focus? We tend to pay a lot more attention to hydration as we are increasing physical activity and in hot weather, but hydration makes it easier to think clearly and focus well each day at work.
Having an activity to boost awareness around hydration will make your walking meetings more fun and your office 5k times be even faster! Coffee and tea are great, but water is, too!
General Wellness Activities
Reflect and reset
Did you know that most people drop off their New Years’ goals after only two weeks (8)? While we like to set goals for the upcoming year every January, the opportunity to reflect and reset is available year-round.
Hosting a quarterly fresh start mastermind is the perfect way to reflect on what has gone well in the team, address what hasn’t gone to plan and refocus for the next 90 days. Reflecting and course-correcting more regularly helps everyone to stay on track and to celebrate progress.
One common stumbling block to achieving wellness goals is that people tend to make goals that are far more optimistic than realistic. And when we miss the mark, we feel defeated. If we hope to be able to change too much too fast, we get burnt out and frustrated. The SMART goal format is a way to hone in on what is realistic, right away, first.
Pantry inventory challenge
When was the last time you took stock of what you actually have in your pantry? Going through your pantry can be like digging for buried treasure and skeletons. You can challenge your co-workers to organize and declutter their pantries.
Bonus? You can parlay this into a chopped cooking challenge to make use of the unearthed treasure. And, if you discovered some herbs or spices that you’ve never used before, we have a guide for those as well!
- Kitchen Inventory, Inventory and Organization Toolkit
- Chopped Mystery Basket Challenge
- Herbs & Spices Guide
Bonus activities could be posting before and after photos of everyone’s pantries and voting on the best overall, most Pinterest-perfect style and most improved.
Partner with a local farm to become a CSA drop off point
The vast majority of us are far from meeting the recommended intake for fruits and vegetables. And while we might be interested in eating more vegetables and buying local, visiting a farm or farmer’s market regularly doesn’t fit into the calendar for most of us (9).
A CSA is a subscription of sorts to a local farm. In the spring, patrons buy-in for the season. Each week during the harvest season, each member gets their portion, or share, of what was picked fresh. A hearty salad to pack for lunch is a great place to start with using fresh, local produce.
Your office can become a CSA drop off point. Each employee who wants to buy in gets the benefit of more fruits and veggies without having to make another trip. Bonus? Everyone participating can swap recipes and cooking tips, especially for those veggies and herbs that they’re less familiar with. You can use the Local Harvest database to find a CSA, farm or farmer’s market near your office.
Prioritizing wellness in your office setting is an investment in your team now and for the future. Employees who feel valued are more productive and focused. Workplace wellness activities can be formal or casual. They can be a quick activity or a long term training in fitness or financial wellness. Registered Dietitians are a perfect fit to deliver focused wellness activities that are fun, effective and impactful!