Corporate health and wellness programs are a significant expense for many organizations, and the majority of those costs come from health insurance and retirement contributions. While these are the core foundation to build your wellness benefits for employees on—a competitive labor market has employees viewing these items as table stakes. It’s the responsibility of executives and people leaders to be on the hunt for out of the wellness ideas to add their benefits offering in order to differentiate your company for candidates.
As more and more companies recognize the importance of wellness programs in the workplace—it’s hard to stay competitive AND on budget. That’s why we created our newest guide, 47 Unique Company Perks to Promote Employee Wellbeing (Without Breaking the Bank). In it, we’ve sourced 47 wellness benefits examples for you and team that are unique, affordable, and appealing to employees. We’ve seen examples of wellness programs that deploy each of these, and we hope they spark some ideas for you and your company as well. Here are five of our favorite affordable workplace wellness programs examples that are featured in the full guide:
1. Give away free books
Reading is not only a great way to decompress, but also level up with new skills and perspectives. Many companies, from Buffer to Drift to Goodreads (of course) offer pathways to get free books. A few ways to do this include an in-office library where employees can request new books, giving a Kindle to every employee and allowing them to expense books, or offering a curated shelf of free books that the leadership team thinks would be beneficial for team reading. No matter what path you choose, employees will love that you’re giving them venues to relax, learn, and grow.
2. Buy TSA PreCheck or Clear for travelers
If you have road warriors on your team (oftentimes, this is true for sales teams), consider buying TSA PreCheck or Clear for them. Not only is this a low-cost investment for a lot of reduced stress and decreased annoyance for employees who frequently travel, but by reducing wait times and security hassles, employees can better manage their time and focus on their work responsibilities. In short—the math on this one is easy: A couple hundred dollars a year to get hours and hours of productivity back from your salesforce? Well worth it. Your traveling teammates will be very grateful.
3. Offer unlimited sick days (separate from PTO)
Being sick is a bummer, but feeling the pressure to work while sick is even worse. When PTO and sick days are commingled in one bucket, employees often feel pressure to work when sick so that they don’t put their vacation days in jeopardy. Companies that want to truly prioritize a culture of wellness should consider offering sick days separate from PTO to ensure that employees can take time off when they're unwell without having to sacrifice their vacation time.
4. Don’t just get snacks—get THE snack
We all love snacks, and having snacks available in the office is a great office perk. But if you want to go above and beyond, ask each employee at onboarding to identity some candy, drinks, or snacks they love most. Then stock that thing either regularly or occasionally for the team to use. Some examples I’ve seen include Goldfish crackers (okay, I’ll admit—that one’s me), a certain soda or tea, or peanut butter M&Ms. By catering to individual preferences, the company can demonstrate its commitment to employee well-being and appreciation—it’s a tiny little reminder that “we see you” and “you matter here.”
5. Offer free financial coaching
Okay, you caught us. Call us biased, but offering a financial wellness program that includes free financial coaching and software tools can dramatically impact your team’s wellbeing at work and home. A financial wellness tool will help employees to manage their finances, address key issues, improve retirement ability, and build healthy long-term financial habits that will set them up for life-long financial stability. As an employer, this can improve absenteeism, decrease distraction and secondhand financial stress at work, and ensure your employees are on track to retire on time. We’ve seen thousands of employees transform their money situation from stressed to stable with financial coaching from Your Money Life; and they, their families, and their employers are all better off for it.
The importance of wellness programs in the workplace is no longer up for debate—employees are closely evaluating these benefits as they select future employers, and as business and people leaders, we ignore wellness programs for employees at our peril. Employee wellness benefits often feel like an afterthought—but they can make all the difference when crafting a culture of belonging and wellbeing that attracts, cares for, and retains employees.
I won’t lie, this can feel overwhelming. There are many different types of wellness programs, and it can be hard to decide which ones are most essential or compelling to your team. We’re rooting for you as benefits and people leaders, and if we can be helpful, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’d love to hear any unique benefits you offer your own team and how else you’re helping them find greater wellness in work and life. Until then—be well!
P.S. You’ve just heard 5 of the perks and benefits we highlight in our new guide. Don’t miss out on all 47, get the guide here!