If you want to improve the well-being of your teams, corporate health and well-being events are the ideal way to put wellness principles into practice. They help provide structure to your well-being programs and give your staff a glimpse of improved emotional resilience, a more balanced working life, and greater productivity.
In this guide we’ll take a look at effective corporate well-being events you can put into place in your office, or virtually.
There was a time when any non-business related events at work probably meant Friday drinks or team-building exercises at the local paintball arena. But now businesses better understand there are many reasons to hold regular well-being events, that doesn't just help teams get on a bit better, but actually help your teams and leaders stay emotionally well and physically healthy.
Many companies these days are engaging staff in open conversations about mental health and well-being, and encouraging employees to take part in activities that help them relax, reset, rebalance, and become more motivated and inspired.
This is a very important dimension of any corporate well-being program. But your company can also organize internal events and activities to nurture your team’s well-being in a very practical and immediate way. Whilst the specifics may vary, this is the essence of a corporate well-being event.
Corporate wellness events are all about putting theory into practice. It’s incredibly important to establish a culture that is open about well-being and mental health, and to implement corporate wellness programs that actually get results. Wellness events turn words into actions, and promises into tangible experiences that benefit all staff and managers.
One of the hardest things about making positive changes in our lives can be taking those essential first steps that help us see the value of changing behaviors and developing more beneficial habits and routines. Corporate wellness events play a key role in driving these healthier behaviors.
And there’s strong evidence to back up the effectiveness of corporate well-being events. Corporate wellness events have been shown to reduce harmful behaviors like smoking, and increase healthy behaviors like exercise.
We’ve seen that corporate wellness events can be a powerful way to engage staff and drive positive behavioral change. But it’s not enough to simply organize events to get the benefits from corporate wellness programs – your company has to prioritize improving employee health and well-being over the long term, and this can’t just be about the occasional team-building exercise or yoga session.
There are many elements that make an effective corporate wellness program, and it’s important that you have an overarching strategy in place to keep your employees happy, healthy, and motivated. To find out more about how to create the right wellness program for your business, check out my post on [finding the right wellness program for you].
Well-being events can be broken down to cover different aspects of the wellness experience, so let’s take a look at some of the different dimensions to well-being events:
Mindfulness may be seen as an individual practice done in solitary conditions, but it can also be practiced in group settings. Many people struggle to meditate as it involves sitting (or lying) still on one’s own with getting comfortable with distractions – an idea that is often easier said than done.
Group meditation exercises make mindfulness practices more accessible and bring an element of motivation that comes from fostering a sense of group participation. Activities could involve guided meditation sessions, or engaging in meditative practices like listening to calming/ambient music or appreciating your surroundings. You can bring in a meditation expert to help structure meditation activities for your workplace, and there are also lots of resources available online.
There is a powerful link between physical exercise and mental and emotional well-being. Whilst some companies offer plans encouraging staff to join gyms and fitness classes, others take a more proactive approach by organizing events that incorporate exercise, in all its variety, into the work environment.
Physical exercise doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to be boring either. Any form of activity that gets people moving has incredible health benefits, and the addition of music and coordinated movement can get even the most gym-shy people on their feet.
That’s why organizing wellness dance events for your office can really shake things up, and help your team get their wellness groove on.
Popular wellness activities like yoga, tai chi, and pilates are awesome activities that encourage flexibility and fluidity of movement, and are great for bringing a sense of mental balance and calm to busy workers. They act as an invigorating halfway house between meditation and exercise, and are beginner-friendly, as well as offering challenges for more physically adept participants. These are also activities that can take place inside or outside, if you fancy a change of scenery. They're also a form of exercise that requires little equipment… usually just an exercise mat will suffice.
Well-being events don’t have to focus on physical exercise, meditation, or other therapeutic and health-building activities. Social events are also incredibly important for improving well-being. Socializing has many powerful effects, like releasing dopamine that keeps us happy, supporting learning and positive behavior change, and even reducing pain.
Ways to socialize at work include coming together through shared interests: this could be going to a favorite restaurant, organizing board games tournaments, quizzes, or even Dungeons and Dragons (yes, you heard me!). Socializing can take the form of activities like karaoke, wine-tasting, and so many more fun activities to get colleagues gelling together.
Team games and sports don’t just encourage personal well-being, they can also facilitate greater interpersonal harmony. Team games like volleyball, or pickleball (a cross between badminton and table tennis – look it up!) can be an awesome way to inspire and invigorate your team.
Team activities don’t need to take the form of sports, either. Another great team activity that has been on the rise in recent years is the phenomena of escape rooms, where groups of people have to work together to solve a range of puzzles to ‘escape’ from a series of fun locations.
Team hikes give you an opportunity to explore nature and are great for getting physical exercise without the risk of pulling a muscle! Walking helps people relieve stress and anxiety, and can be great for improving muscle and bone health, improving heart and lungs, and reducing the risks of diseases like diabetes. Studies have shown that walking can also prevent memory loss and help fend off diseases like dementia. Hiking is also a very social form of exercise as you’ll likely still have the breath to talk while you walk.
Well-being isn’t just about nurturing the body and ‘soul’, it’s also about feeding the mind.
Lunch and learn sessions are informal educational talks or seminars that take place over lunch, with the company providing the food. They are a great way for team members to share their expertise. Often, lunch and learns focus on developing internal skills of direct relevance to your company; or even, in worst-case scenarios, sneaking a management presentation into staff lunch breaks (this is a big no-no for corporate well-being).
But lunch and learns can be an opportunity for finding out more about the interests of your team, improving awareness of well-being and mental health issues, or having a conversation about diversity. These sessions should be genuinely interesting – and voluntary – and no one should feel pressured to attend. This, of course, should be true about any wellness activities; if people feel pressured to take part in well-being activities it can undermine the benefits of these events, and even breed resentment.
Wellness events can be an opportunity to celebrate employee success. In the context of well-being events, this shouldn’t just be about praising individual achievements, which can leave some employees feeling left out; it can be helpful to celebrate team wins, and reward all colleagues for their achievements throughout the year. Achievement shouldn’t just be categorized as wins for the company; overcoming personal setbacks can be a cause for celebration too.
I hope these ideas for corporate wellness events have given you plenty of inspiration to start boosting employee well-being with activities that nurture the mind, body, and soul. If you want advice on setting up well-being events in your workplace, get in touch today – I’d love to hear from you.