News & Events

Employee Wellness Starts With The Boss!

December 11, 2017 | Christina Bialas

Employee Wellness programs have grown to be a popular implementation throughout workplace communities, and they are certainly something we encourage at Varipro. In fact, we find that most employers want to start a wellness program within their company, they’re just not sure where to start. Which is why we are addressing our FAQ: “What can I do as the employer to encourage active participation in our wellness program?” in this week’s article.

What is Employee Wellness?

First, let’s make sure we all understand what exactly employee wellness is; Employee wellness is the organized effort of a company encouraging healthy living habits to its employees. Keep in mind, wellness is not limited to working out or dieting, but anything that can encourage or help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even encouraging employees to quit an unhealthy habit, like smoking cigarettes, swearing or not getting enough sleep. Anything at all that can negatively affect the wellness of an employee physically and mentally.

Why have an Employee Wellness Program?

We have one simple equation that we use to explain why an employee wellness program is worthwhile.

Healthy = Happy + Productive


When employees are healthy, they are more productive and happier at work. Also, if an entire team of employees is healthy, their work environment is full of positivity. Most importantly, employees who are healthier have less medical expenses, which makes providing medical benefits more affordable. Especially for employers who self-fund their healthcare plan.

How can employers encourage active participation in wellness programs?

1.Be the Example 

The best thing an employer can do to encourage participation is participating. As an employer, you are a leader to each one of your employees, and the attitude of your employees will reflect the leadership they receive. So, get involved and have fun.

2. Choose fun activities for everyone to participate.

Choosing activities that fit every employee’s capabilities can be tough, which could be why some employers avoid doing them. That just means you have to be a little creative. There are plenty of ways to make wellness activities fun for everyone, and they don’t always have to be competitive. However, if you do choose to have competition, just be sure that the scoring is fair for everyone. A few activities that are sure to include everyone are:

  1. Onsite Yoga Classes
  2. Healthy Recipe Club
  3. Group Walks
  4. Scavenger Hunts
  5. Healthy cooking contests


3. Set Attainable Goals

Another critical factor for any wellness activity is setting attainable goals. No matter if it is the number of participants, weight loss, eating habits, etc. Goals need to be possible, or employees will be less likely to participate.

4. Acknowledge Success

In addition to attainable goals, employees who reach those goals should be acknowledged and rewarded. They’re putting in the time and effort to be a healthier person and better employee, which is enough reason to give a little reward. Of course, rewards can range from lots of things like:

    1. A note in the monthly newsletter
    2. Free lunch
    3. Trophy
    4. Extra PTO
    5. Giftcards


5. Healthy Environment

Last, but not least, being healthy needs to be seen as a lifestyle, not a chore or task. Creating a work environment that projects that message, will not only increase wellness participation, it will install a healthy mindset throughout your company. This sounds challenging, but a little effort will go a long way. Here are a few ideas to start you off:  

    1. Encourage drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.
    2. Provide healthy snacks for meetings (not more donuts).
    3. Start a support group for employees trying to quit bad habits.
    4. Create an office bulletin board dedicated to healthy living and activities.
    5. For company lunches, provide healthy meals rather than fast food.


Employee wellness programs may require some extra effort, but the rewards are certainly worthwhile. Employees will live healthier and happier lives, and chances are their productivity, and your profitability will increase. If you’d like to learn more about employee wellness, have a look at our smartsheets: What is Employee Wellness.