There are many activities that organizations can consider implementing to support health and wellness.  As with most programs, workplace wellness initiatives that are customized to the unique identity of the company and needs of its employees will experience the most success.  It’s also important to incorporate fun activities that address all areas of wellness including fitness, mental health, and social well-being.

Good ideas also don’t need to cost a lot, so don’t let a smaller budget keep you from investing in your workplace wellness.  Here are 5 fun and functional activities that you can incorporate into your wellness program.

30 Days of Gratitude

Many workplaces are high on stress and low on positive acknowledgment.  People are less likely to express gratitude at work than anyplace else.  60% say they either never or rarely express gratitude at work; however, 70% would like to see more gratitude in the workplace, and 81% would work harder if they did.1

It’s easy to get wrapped up in tasks and deadlines and forget about the achievements that you and your team are making.  Studies2,3 have shown a relationship between demonstrating gratitude and personal happiness and well-being, so think about promoting positive thoughts and mental health with a gratitude challenge.

Encourage employees to identify something or someone that they are thankful for each day.  Choose a method that works well for your team: individual gratitude journals, a group message board, a gratitude jar for daily notes.

Brown Bag Challenge

Encourage employees to opt for homemade lunches and snacks rather than takeout.  You may even want to make it a 2 or 4-week challenge and start a community board to share recipes and ideas.  Add some competition to the mix and have employees audit and score their lunches.  The idea is to make it fun and use it as an opportunity to educate and draw attention to healthy food choices.

Smoothie Day

Early commutes and busy days at the office often means employees are grabbing a coffee or high-sugar indulgence on the way to work and snacking on convenient, but unhealthy options throughout the day.  Smoothies, or the recent trend of smoothie bowls, are a great nutritious alternative to keep employees feeling energized.

Host regular weekly or monthly smoothie days for your team.  A workplace smoothie bar could also be an option and requires a minimal investment that starts with purchasing a blender.  Beyond that, ensure the freezer is stocked with fruit like berries and bananas and add some fresh leafy greens, avocados and flax seeds for the fridge.  Be sure to stick with green, low sugar options to keep things healthy.

BONUS: Give these Green Smoothie and Smoothie Bowl recipes a try with your team!

Step It Up Challenge

Encourage employees to be more active by organizing a step challenge.  Employees can choose to walk or run, which means the activity is accessible to everyone, and the challenge will encourage everyone to look for new ways to take more steps throughout the day.

Customize the challenge to your company and allow employees to participate as individuals or teams. Wearing a pedometer can help employees assess their activity level and motivate them to move more.  There are also some great apps that can you can use if pedometers aren’t an option.  Some apps like Charity Miles and ResQwalk make donations to charities for every mile recorded.

Volunteering and Community Engagement

Volunteering has a proven positive effect on our physical and mental health.4 Chances are every one of your employees has a cause they care about.  It’s a feel-good activity that gets everyone involved and gets people moving.  Participate in a charity event or volunteer opportunity as a team.  If you can’t dedicate an entire workday to a cause, host an onsite activity that will support a chosen charity or cause or look for ways to support your employees through donations or paid time-off to complete charity work.

Source: Doing Good is Good for You Study, 2017

Sleep Challenge

While most of us know that good sleep is important, we often don’t put as much effort into improving our sleep like we do when it comes to fitness.  Good sleep, however, is a very important part of our overall health and well-being, and a sleep challenge can help draw attention to that.

Encourage employees to track their sleep to ensure they are getting the recommended 7-8 hours per night.  Perhaps kick it off with a lunch-and-learn to share tips on improving sleep and recommend apps they can use to track and better understand their sleep patterns.

BONUS: Share tips on the Best and Worst Foods to eat before bed and post this poster on Good Sleep Hygiene.

Don’t just leave these challenges up to your employees.  Make sure that management and company leaders get involved as well.  Seeing the leadership take the time to participate shows that they support the initiative and believe it is important.

Need some more assistance?

Get your FREE Corporate Wellness Membership Starter Kit to get you started!  Employee Wellness Solutions Network can help you create a healthier culture resulting in a more profitable and successful workplace. Our memberships give you access to services including corporate wellness specialists, trainers and health coaches to help you create the best strategy for your organization.  To learn more about the memberships, visit Employee Wellness Solutions Network.


1 Kaplan, J. (2012) Gratitude Survey. John Templeton Foundation.

2 Emmons, R.A. (2008) Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Mariner Books; Reprint edition.

3 Alkozei, A., Smith, R. & Killgore, W.D.S. J Happiness Study (2018) 19: 1519.

4 Unitedhealthcare and VolunteerMatch. (2017) Doing Good is Good for You Study.