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15 Ideas for Your Employee Wellness Day

15 Ideas for Your Employee Wellness Day Propel

Even the best wellness program administrators find themselves continually searching for ideas for their employee wellness day. An employee wellness day gives your wellness program the opportunity to increase participation and overall awareness. The activities and events of the day need to be engaging and fun to ensure everyone leaves with a positive impression.

An employee wellness day usually includes stations that showcase different aspects of health promotion and information about the organization's wellness program. You have the opportunity to increase program awareness through fun, interactive activities that bring your wellness program to life.

To run an effective event, you'll need a team! A wellness champion network can be very helpful in preparing for and running the activities on the day. You'll need energetic, positive people to hype up the event and encourage fellow co-workers to come see how much their organization cares about their health and wellbeing.

But what are some employee wellness day ideas? We've come up with a list of 15 to get you started on your road to planning a top notch wellness event!

1. Have a wellness program sign in station with a raffle.

The goal of any employee wellness day should be to take the excitement around wellbeing on one day of the year and turn it into engagement in a year-round program. Set up a sign in station to record emails and attendance of participants in exchange for entry into a raffle. Items like an iPad, gift cards, fitness equipment or company apparel motivate people to make sure they stop by and sign in.

Depending on your wellness program, you might make different uses of this information. If you have a wellness portal, participants can register for the platform. If your program is manual, add the emails to a wellness email list that gets monthly emails and updates.

2. Take a "Know Your Nutrition" quiz.

Many people don't know the basics of a good diet. While your wellness program should be doing things throughout the year to teach your population about good nutritional habits, your wellness day is an opportunity to establish a benchmark.

Create a 10 question "Know Your Nutrition" quiz that asks questions about basic nutrition information. For ideas, check out the quiz section on ChooseMyPlate.Gov. Keep a record of the average score of participants to compare to next year's event. Use the questions most missed to give you ideas for future lunch & learns and events.

3. Hold a wall sit challenge.

The wall sit challenge is an easy way to incorporate a physical activity challenge into your event while allowing the most amount of participation. The wall sit simply requires a wall. Participants extend their legs 2-3 feet away from themselves and get into a sitting position with their back firmly pressed into a wall. Knees should be at a 90 degree angle.

Track the amount of time a participant can remain in the wall sit position and record their time. To make things more competitive, use a magnetic surface and whiteboard magnetic strips to display the best times. If your budget allows, give the winner or top 3 contestants a prize at the conclusion of the event.

4. Highlight colleague success stories.

The best advertisers for your wellness program are fellow employees who have had success in their own wellness journey. Hearing from co-workers will inspire and engage your population.

Find 2 - 5 employees who would be willing to share their successes in their physical, mental or financial wellbeing. For an in person presentation, assign each individual a slot throughout the day to share. For a more interactive format, set up a panel discussion with pre-submitted or live audience questions. If you have a media team, consider filming a highlight reel that you can loop on a screen during the event and post to a common location immediately following.

5. Hold a pop-up yoga session.

Yoga continues to be one of the best low impact methods of exercise for longevity and joint health. To teach some of the basics, bring in a yoga instructor for a pop-up yoga session. Make sure to have plenty of yoga mats available!

6. Create a "Relaxation Station".

Workplace stress continues to hit new highs as workers feel the pressure to perform. Teaching your population techniques that lower stress levels is extremely important to improving their mental health. Set up a "Relaxation Station" experience with a few comfortable chairs, headphones and a laptop. Have the participants watch a calming video for 1 - 2 minutes, encouraging them to take slow, deep breaths.

If you have a wellness portal, make the calming videos available for employees to watch during stressful moments in the workday. A platform like Propel comes with a Mindful Minute series included and is available to eligible employees whenever they need to de-stress.

7. Advertise affinity groups.

Do you have employees that love to hike? What about a group that plays pick-up basketball? An employee wellness day is an excellent time to advertise groups that love certain activities. Have group booths available where employees can submit their name, phone number and email address to be updated with group gatherings.

As an administrator, it's important to help people feel connected. A sense of community among employees will motivate long lasting habit change and increased program adoption.

8. Set up a "Perfect Desk Posture" demo.

Poor postural habits expose our body to chronic pain and potential injury. As we sit, our body moves into improper positioning, leading to back, neck and shoulder pain. Back pain alone accounts for more than 264 million lost work days every year.

To educate your employees on proper posture while providing an interactive demonstration, set up a "Perfect Desk Posture" demo. Have a makeshift desk and office chair set up along with a posture infographic like this one. Guide participants through each step to perfect posture.

9. Bring in guest speakers.

Let the experts do the talking! Bringing in health and wellness experts to speak to your population increases their knowledge and most likely inspires them to make changes. Consider asking a registered dietician, certified personal trainer, certified health coach or medical doctor that specializes in lifestyle medicine to discuss hot topics.

10. Hold a company softball or kickball game.

Holding an annual sporting event among employees encourages physical activity with a team spirit. Depending on your available time, you hold a tournament or do a single "celebrity" game with key representatives from different areas of the company. Make the contest official with a trophy or plaque!

11. Offer on-site biometric screenings.

Biometric screenings help individuals understand where their health stands today along with risk factors for the future. As an organization, you can get aggregated data from these screenings that will assist you in evaluating your population's risk level. Bring in a screening vendor for on-site screenings during your wellness day. You'll be giving employees a convenient time to get a screening and increase the amount of participation in your screening program.

12. Bring in a chef for a live healthy dinner demo.

Many people struggle to make dinner a healthy meal. Employees who don't know much about healthy eating may be struggling to make a nutritious dinner. Bring in a local chef for your event to do a live demonstration with healthy dinner recipes. Focus on things that are quick and require a limited number of ingredients. To go the extra mile, print off a collection of healthy recipes to pass out to participants!

13. Offer a free session with a financial planner.

Financial wellbeing is an equally important part of a total wellness program. CareerBuilder estimates as many as 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. To add financial education into your event, bring in a certified financial planner to a free session with participants. Topics like budgeting, retirement planning and starting a college fund can be addressed. Speaking with an expert can set your employees on a path to financial freedom.

14. Walk a mile as a company.

Promote togetherness with a company-wide physical activity. Gather employees from every department to participate in a one mile walk. If you plan to run a step challenge around the event, use this mile to either kick-off or end your competition!

15. Write on a gratitude wall.

Thankfulness and gratitude infuse a spirit of positivity into your workplace culture. Set up a chalkboard wall, whiteboard or cover an existing wall with a sheet of rolled paper. Have participants write something they are grateful for on the wall and read one thing from another participant. You'll be surprised at how this simple activity can leave people feeling happy and full of gratitude.

Nicholas Layne

About the author

Nicholas Layne

Nicholas is the Director of Strategic Operations at Propel. He is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

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