Improve Colleague Well-being for Free

Initiatives that can be used at any workplace  

In today’s fast-paced work environment, workplace wellness has become crucial. Not only does it improve productivity and reduce sick days, but it also enhances employee satisfaction and fosters a positive work culture. What if we told you that there are ways to elevate your team’s wellness without adding to your budget? In this post, we’ll explore eight free initiatives that can significantly improve colleague well-being.

Walking or Stand-up Meetings

Transform your regular meetings into a source of physical activity by introducing walking or stand-up meetings. By stepping away from the conference room, you can stimulate creativity and increase team engagement, all while promoting a healthier lifestyle. Walking or standing during meetings can help break the cycle of sitting, providing numerous health benefits, including improved posture, increased energy levels, and enhanced mental clarity. Just remember, these types of meetings are best suited for smaller groups and less formal discussions. Take a look at some highlights from a Stanford experiment about walking meetings. 

The overwhelming majority of the participants in these three experiments were more creative while walking than sitting, the study found.

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Exercise breaks

Staying active at work can often be a challenge, especially for those in desk jobs. Encourage your team members to take short exercise breaks throughout the day. These could involve simple desk stretches, a quick walk around the office, or a few minutes of mindful breathing. Not only do these breaks promote physical well-being, but they also help to refresh the mind, reducing stress and enhancing focus. Making these short breaks a part of your team’s routine can lead to significant long-term health benefits.

A study from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that short bursts of physical exercise induce changes in the body’s levels of metabolites, which correlate to an individual’s cardiometabolic, cardiovascular, and long-term health. About 12 minutes of acute cardiometabolic exercise affected more than 80 percent of circulating metabolites. The research team detected favourable shifts in several metabolites linked to cardiometabolic disease, suggesting that even short exercise breaks can have significant health benefits2.

Fitness Challenges

Boost team spirit and promote fitness by introducing friendly fitness challenges. Fitness challenges, besides being cost-free and accessible, are instrumental in promoting holistic wellness among employees. An uncomplicated yet effective method to start with is advocating the use of stairs in lieu of elevators. Such a subtle change in daily habits does not only inject physical activity into a mundane workday but also significantly enhances cardiovascular health.

Challenge ideas

“Take Ten Walking Breaks” Challenge

Encourage participants to take ten short walking breaks throughout the workday.

“Five-a-Week Fitness” Challenge

Motivate employees to engage in a bodyweight exercise routine five times a week.

“Beat Your Best” Running Challenge

Employees aim to improve their personal best running time or distance over a set period.

“30-Day Stair-Stepping” Challenge

Inspire workers to opt for stairs over elevators for a month.

“Lunch Break Yoga” Challenge

Promote daily yoga practice during lunch breaks for overall wellness.

Active Commuting

Encourage your team to rethink their daily commute. Active commuting options like walking or cycling are not only better for the environment but also an excellent way for employees to incorporate more physical activity into their day. Even getting off public transport a stop early can add beneficial movement to the day. Active commuting can increase energy levels, improve mood and, over time, contribute to better overall health.

Go a step further and help them by signing up to a cycle to work scheme 

Group Walks

Organising regular group walks, either before work, during lunch breaks, or after work, can be a fantastic way to foster team bonding and promote physical activity. These walks provide a low-impact exercise that suits all fitness levels, and the shared experience can lead to stronger interpersonal relationships within the team, boosting morale and cooperation.

Living Streets have excellent resources for for encouraging walking in the workplace. 

Reduced Disease Risk

According to Walking for Health, a program run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, a regular 30-minute walk can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 35%, stroke by up to 34%, and type 2 diabetes by up to 40%.

Cancer Prevention

Cancer Research UK reports that physical activity, including walking, can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 25% and bowel cancer by up to 50%.

Mental Health Benefits

The Mental Health Foundation of the UK highlights that outdoor walking groups have shown notable benefits, including reduced depression, improved mood, and increased self-esteem.

Flexible Scheduling

Flexible scheduling can have a significant impact on employees’ ability to balance work and personal life, including their commitment to health and fitness. Allowing employees to start a bit earlier or finish later, to accommodate exercise during daylight hours, can be a huge boost to their physical well-being and mental health.

Implementing such flexibility shows your team that their health is a priority and can lead to improved job satisfaction, reduced stress, and ultimately, higher productivity.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering not only benefits the community but can also significantly contribute to team building and a sense of purpose. Organise opportunities for your team to volunteer together for physical activities like neighbourhood clean-ups or charity runs. These experiences can foster team bonding, improve morale, and encourage a culture of social responsibility within your organisation.

Break Time Reminders

A simple yet effective initiative is setting break time reminders. Encourage colleagues to step away from their desks every hour or so for a quick stretch or a short walk. Regular breaks not only help to reduce the physical strain of sitting for extended periods but can also increase productivity and creativity by giving the mind a brief respite.

Implementing these free wellness initiatives can create a work environment that values health, well-being, and work-life balance. As you foster a culture of wellness in your workplace, you’ll likely observe increased morale, reduced absenteeism, and a more engaged and productive team.

For more ideas or support with corporate wellbeing, reach out to EFP. We’re here to help your team thrive!

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