6 Healthy Ways to Celebrate Your Employees

There are plenty of ways to celebrate your employees, like taking them out to dinner, buying snacks for the office or doing an annual employee award ceremony. However, with health being a growing priority for employees of all ages, unhealthy snacks and dinners may not be as appreciated as say, an in-office cooking class.

Addressing the question of employee experience in the workplace is a high ranking concern for those operating in HR. We want our staff to feel valued, to enjoy their roles and to demonstrate high levels of engagement with the company.

Offering rewards, recognition or incentives are now a solid piece of an employer brand – helping high-performance organizations to both attract and retain top talent. However, as an employer, we also have a moral responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our staff.

Luckily, there are many healthy ways you can celebrate your employees and support their healthy habits, with both a big and small budget. Here are six ideas to consider.

1. Plan an Active Event

One healthy way to celebrate your employees is to get them moving at a fun event. This allows them to spend time together outside of the office, while building camaraderie and making memories. To make your event a hit, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Choose something unique and interesting. For example, rock climbing was the number one indoor hobby in 2016—and likely something many of your employees may have never done. You may even be able to rent out the rock climbing gym for a private event with specific help for newbies. Other fun options include kickboxing, office whiffle ball or paddle boarding.
  • Plan the event to take place during the workday. Your employees don’t want to spend even more time in the office, or doing something work-related when they could be home with their family or friends.
  • Always provide food and drink, especially for active events like the ones mentioned above. This may also entice reluctant employees.
  • Promote and celebrate your event, both before and after. Make sure its inclusive by getting the message out across all your internal comms channels, and try taking photos or writing up the experience after to share on your intranet. This can help secure buy-in for future events.

2. Host an In-Office Cooking Class

An AlphaWise study found that millennials view “healthy” food as being: fresh, less processed, and few artificial ingredients. If you have a lot millennials in your office—which you likely do because they make up 25 percent of the workforce—a cooking class may be appreciated.

If you have a kitchen in your office, bring the class to the office so employees don’t have to drive somewhere else. Host it toward the end of the workday, as well, and allow employees to bring spouses for a big post-class dinner.

3. Pay for One Healthy Event Each Year

While recreational racing is slowing in popularity, with just 17 million finishers in 2015 versus 19 million in 2013, a wide variety of other recreational athletic events have come to forefront.

Mud runs, Spartan races and other challenge-style course events attract athletes of all levels, and can be pricey to participate in—costing upwards of $100-$200 per person. Celebrate your employees by helping them pay for an event of their choice once a year. If they put a team together, you may even get a discounted group price.

4. Invest in a Community Garden Plot

Celebrate your employees and support their healthy lifestyle by providing them with fresh produce throughout the spring, summer and fall—or year-round if you live in a warm climate. While many community plots don’t cost money, it may be hard to get a spot thanks to a long waiting list.

A potential downside to this idea is that someone needs to maintain the plot, making sure it’s clear of weeds and doesn’t look messy. You’ll need to get some ‘champions’ onboard, so put the appeal out on your intranet or consider an internal comms campaign about the benefits of ‘growing your own’ to identify your green-fingered employees who will be happy to step up.

If you don’t have someone who can do this, consider purchasing a few CSA boxes that employees can pick through each week. This will cost money, but you won’t have to maintain a garden.

5. Install Standing Desks

The discussion about the dangers of sitting all day seems to intensify with each new finding. Yet many of us have no choice but to work at a desk because the job requires it. Rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money to give each employee a standing desk, make a standing desk area in your office.

With this set up, employees can come and go from the space as they please, so everyone is able to switch between sitting and standing as often as they want. Just make sure the desks are near easy-to-access outlets so employees can stand for as long as they want, even if they need to plug in their laptop.

6. Pay for Monthly Gym Memberships

Gym memberships are an expense that many of your employees either avoid or simply deal with because it’s their only access to a workout space. As a company, you can work with a local gym to provide free memberships to your employees. You’ll likely get a discount as well because you’re giving the facility a significant amount of new members.

While this is a great way to celebrate your employees and help them save money, it’s easy to take advantage of. To avoid this issue, require that all employees use the gym at least once a month. If they’re not, then the membership is taken away so you’re not wasting your money.

Do you have any internal incentives in place that align with employee well-being? Any ideas for healthy ways to engage, motivate or celebrate your employees? Why not share your tips and ideas with us below?

Jessica is the owner of Honest Body Fitness in San Diego.