4 Unconventional Employee Wellness Ideas 

Many organizations provide traditional wellness programs and healthcare benefits to their employees to improve overall well-being and boost productivity. The success of workplace wellness programs depends largely on the active participation of employees in the wellness activities and in their development of healthy habits. However, with Covid-19 entering our lives, implementing and executing current wellness programs in a remote work environment has been a challenge for organizations.

Improving employee health and wellness in a remote work environment requires new strategies. The pandemic has forced employers to review their wellness programs and modify them with a greater focus on mental health. The future of work is predicted to be hybrid and even after the pandemic ends, the organizations will still need to tailor their wellness programs to the new work culture.

There are a number of virtual wellness ideas for remote employees. Although the workplace wellness programs are not one-size-fits-all, they can be simple and creative. Having an open mind to try some of the out-of-the-box wellness ideas may help you in encouraging your remote employees to involve themselves in wellness activities. Here are some unconventional wellness ideas that you can consider trying in your organization:

1. Intuitive Eating

Evelyn Tribole, who is an award-winning registered dietitian and certified eating disorder specialist, defines intuitive eating as a mind-body health approach that was designed to promote a healthy attitude toward food and body image. Intuitive eating has 10 Principles and has nothing to do with diet plans. These principles advise on how to listen to the hunger and fullness signals of your body. It is similar to mindful eating, but there are some slight differences. Alissa Rumsey, who is a certified intuitive counselor, provides a hunger-fullness scale on her website and explains how to use it. While implementing mindfulness into your workplace, keep intuitive eating in mind as well.

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2. Crystals

Crystals are a part of new age beliefs and spirituality. Many people believe in the healing power of the crystals and meditate with them. Even though there is no scientific evidence that crystals heal illnesses or boost productivity, studies show that our minds have healing power. In fact, some medical clinics and hospitals, such as UCLA Medical Center, provide patients with non-pharmacological options like mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, aromatherapy, etc., to manage symptoms of their disease and promote healing.

Even if you do not believe in them, keeping an open mind and respecting employees’ spiritual beliefs is important for building trust and well-being. Going above and beyond for employee well-being and showing that you care about their interests will make your employees feel valued. There are various crystals for different purposes such as increasing motivation, boosting productivity, reducing stress, etc., and below are some resources that you can share with your employees.

3. Virtual Workplace Clubs

Social relations have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Studies show that individuals who are socially connected have lower levels of anxiety and depression and greater empathy for others. Starting a workplace club is a great way to improve social connections on a remote team and encourage employees to interact with co-workers in other departments. Especially during the pandemic lockdown, virtual workplace clubs help with improving the social well-being of employees by maintaining social connectedness.

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Before setting up a virtual club, make sure to survey your employees and assess their interests. The most common workplace clubs are book and sports clubs, but why not an online gaming, knitting, or even an astrology club? Allowing your employees to enable their passions at work and have fun through these virtual clubs will reduce their stress and boost creativity.

4. “Pawternity” Leave

Organizations offer various leave benefits to the employees whether paid or unpaid. These benefits are for allowing the employees to take time off from work for various reasons. Even though offering a “pawternity” leave to your employees is not directly related to a wellness program, there is research proving that animals play a significant role in people’s well-being. They are considered members of the family. More and more companies provide time off when an employee adopts a rescue animal because bonding with a new pet requires time and attention. Some organizations additionally offer discounts for daycare and pet insurance. “Pawternity” leave can also include bereavement after the passing of an employee’s beloved pet.

There is no legal obligation for organizations to implement workplace policies regarding employees’ pets or including them in the benefits. However, acknowledging the importance of these special family members shows the employer’s concern for the well-being of employees. It cultivates loyalty, improves productivity, and boosts employee morale, which results in a higher retention rate.

A 2021 study about Covid-19 and mental health conducted by Mental Health America demonstrated that the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has drastically increased. Employers must understand the needs of the workforce and offer them a variety of options to improve their well-being. Whether it is achieved by trying unconventional ways or elevating current wellness programs, it is crucial for employers to support and care for their employees’ overall well-being.

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