Simple, low-cost workplace wellness steps

You don’t need a big budget or an employee wellness expert to make your workplace a healthier environment for staff and visitors. Here are some simple, budget-friendly, and effective workplace wellness ideas. Scroll to the bottom to find dozens of resources to support your wellness goals.

Coworkers sharing healthy lunches at a table

Start a walking group

Walking has many benefits. It reduces risks for coronary heart disease and stroke; improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profiles; enhances mental health; and reduces risks of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Walking during the work day may have more immediate benefits. Physical activity has been linked to improved concentration, better memory recall, faster learning, enhanced creativity and reduced stress—all of which lead to better job performance. So why not round up a group of co-workers and walk together? 

How to do it:

  • Recruit a handful of leaders to participate (not necessarily leaders by job title, but employees who might be characterized as “influencers”).
  • Use all-staff emails, signage, and/or intranet posts to publicize the day, time, and meet-up location. Make it a regular day and time so that employees can plan for it. 
  • Encourage participants to walk at their own comfortable pace. It is not important for the group to remain together throughout the walk. 
Business people taking the stairs

Promote taking the stairs

Taking the stairs is one of the easiest ways to squeeze physical activity into a busy day. Encouraging employees to choose the stairs over elevators—and walk stairs as a break during long stretches of sitting—will help increase energy and concentration.

How to do it:

  • Hang signs in elevator lobbies and on stairwell entrances. You can even tape footprints on the floor, guiding employees and guests from the front door to the stairwell.
  • Make it a challenge. Provide your CEO with an email that can be sent to all staff announcing a month-long stairs initiative. Ask the CEO to “catch” employees using the stairs—perhaps one or two employees per week throughout the month—and reward them with an extra 1/2 day of paid time off or company-branded swag. 
Business man fills up a glass of water

Encourage employees to drink more water

Even a small drop in hydration affects our ability to concentrate. Sugary beverages like soda, sweetened tea, and lemonade actually act to dehydrate the body.  

How to do it:

  • Hang signs near water coolers and beverage stations.
  • Consider providing company-branded water bottles.
  • Serve only water, coffee, and unsweetened tea at meetings and events. Experiment with infused water recipes to add flavor and flair.

Serve less food

You don’t need to provide food at every meeting or event. When doughnuts, cookies, and other snacks are offered, they’re just extra calories for most employees, not a replacement for their usual meal or snack.

Fact: The average bagel has doubled in size and more than doubled in calories in the past 20 years! Cut them in half before serving to keep portions under control.

Platter of healthy sandwich wraps

If a meeting is long and food service is appropriate, take small steps towards healthier foods and portion sizes.

How to do it:

  • Cut bagels, sandwiches, and desserts in half before placing them on a serving tray.
  • Offer dressings and condiments on the side so guests can control how much they eat.
  • Remove candy bowls from meeting rooms and other common areas.
  • Go here to learn more healthy catering suggestions from IU Health

Jump IN offers plenty more resources to support workplace wellness. Visit here to download our employer wellness guides, 52 ready-to-use healthy messages, signs you can print to post around your workplace, and many other materials.