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Employee wellness programs seem to be the topic of conversation everywhere right now. But what are employee wellness programs exactly? Is this the start of an entirely new wellness industry? Or is employee wellness just another trendy buzzword, like “quiet hiring” and “bare minimum Monday”?

Discovery Health Services is committed to helping businesses of all sizes tap into their greatest resource: your workforce. We excel at collaborating with company leaders to create structured and accountable employee wellness programs that fit your industry, budget and staff — whether it’s 10, 100 or more than 1,000 people.

Let’s look at what, exactly, employee wellness means, who stands to benefit from employee wellness activities and some employee wellness statistics that just might surprise you.

Then we’ll dive into our favorite employee wellness tips for supporting the physical and mental well-being of workers at the office, in healthcare settings and on remote work duty.

What Is Employee Wellness?

What is employee wellness beyond, of course, the offer of comprehensive health insurance at a discounted group rate? The idea of employee wellness is holistic — the term comprises all programs, initiatives and activities that help workers improve their physical, mental, emotional or financial health. It can mean stocking the break room with fresh fruits and vegetables or hiring additional staff to accommodate vacation scheduling. It can also include encouraging employees to strengthen their ties to the wider community through charitable events or donation drives.

From one-day events to ongoing friendly competitions to permanent changes in your brand image, employee wellness activities and programs help support the overall health of your workers.

Who Gets the Most From Employee Wellness Benefits?

It is commonly known that healthy employees are a fundamental building block for achieving corporate fitness and a healthier bottom line for your business. Employee wellness benefits everyone in your organization, from the C-suite to customer-facing positions to the janitorial staff. You’ll find employee wellness program ROI in a range of metrics, from lower call-off rates and health insurance claims to higher staff retention and team camaraderie.

But the key to seeing all that juicy ROI lies in universal buy-in. A big disconnect between how workers and management view wellness arose clearly in a recent study reporting that 80% of employers think they support employee wellness while just 46% of workers feel supported.

As we look at some employee wellness program examples, remember that yours must be tailored to your staff’s unique needs and demographics to yield any measurable success.

Employee Wellness Program Examples by Industry

Creating bespoke initiatives that your workers can get excited about is pivotal for a successful employee wellness program. Even more important, though, is promoting wellness programs to employees in a way that gets them excited and enthusiastic about participating in them. Start by asking your team what they need — then actually act on their suggestions to show you’re listening and demonstrate that you value their input.

Here are our suggestions for employee wellness program elements that might work in various settings:

At a Corporate Office

Onsite Healthcare Clinics

Whether it’s a one-day vaccination event or a permanent onsite healthcare facility, corporate clinics are on the rise. And the reasons are many, from the convenience of care without travel to the cost savings of preventative care to the improved productivity of workers who can easily get the care they need.

Physical Wellness Programs

Investing in your employees’ physical health used to be a no-brainer. But physical health is about more than weight loss — it’s about drinking more water than soda, spending time with like-minded colleagues and reducing stress through mindfulness practices. Poll your staff to learn the types of employee wellness activities that will motivate them to participate and maybe change some unhealthy habits.

For Healthcare Heroes

Mental/Third Wave Wellness

If the recent public health crisis taught us anything, it’s that healthcare workers need employee wellness activities that support their mental and emotional health, as well as their physical well-being. Enter third wave wellness. By combining traditional science with naturopathic medicine, a third-wave employee wellness program offers a more holistic approach. Mindfulness exercises like yoga or meditation can help workers manage stress while insomnia therapies and nutrition injections can be cost-effective preventative measures.

Vaccination Clinics

Whether it’s the nursing staff at a hospital or the EMTs at a neighborhood fire station, first responders are on the front lines of health care. Offering your medical and emergency staff the convenience of onsite flu vaccinations or vitamin injections helps protect their health while minimizing the amount of free time they have to sacrifice for these procedures — both of which can help reduce burnout.

Remote Employee Wellness Activities

WFH Challenges

It can be tough keeping your remote staff engaged, even if they WFH just a few days a week. One way to level up the buy-in for your employee wellness activities is to include families in corporate wellness programs. Whether they’re taking their spouse along to the gym or learning to cook healthier meals with their kids, they’ll feel less isolated and be more likely to share their progress with the wider team when their loved ones get to be part of the process.

Digital Employee Wellness Options

The flexibility of remote work is a great step toward preventing workplace burnout. Take this benefit up a notch by including digital options in your employee wellness programs. Programs like Headspace and Limeade allow tech-savvy workers to access mental and physical wellness activities from their preferred devices while helping you track and tweak your program with valuable feedback integrated into the platform of your choosing.

Wellness Programs From DHS

Discovery Health Services is uniquely positioned to help you create and implement employee wellness programs that are tailored to your staff, budget and industry. Put our cutting-edge technology and years of experience to work exploring what employee wellness programs are capable of for meeting your team’s unique needs.