Employee Engagement

Top 16 Ideas for Employee Wellness: Workplace Well-Being Activities

Employee wellness is one of the fastest growing trends in the benefits space — if you take a look at recent stats, it’s clear why. According to research from the Global Wellness Institute:

  • An unhealthy workforce costs the nation $2.2 trillion a year, or a staggering 12% of GDP.
  • 76% of the workforce is struggling with their physical wellbeing, and 38% suffer from excessive pressure on the job.
  • Employees at “caring” companies are more than twice as likely to report their work satisfying, exciting, and interesting compared to “non-caring” companies.

While you may not have extra budget to throw at employee wellbeing programs, you can maximize programs you already have in place. For instance, instead of offering yet another cash bonus, or a gift card to Starbucks for heart-pumping espresso shots, why not expose employees to a wide array of experiential employee rewards that help them to relax and unwind, reconnect with family, or indulge in a passion or hobby?

Here’s a list of our top 16 favorite employee rewards from the Blueboard catalog that encourage wellness at work. Does this spark any ideas for employee gifts?

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For employees who value family time…

A huge point of stress for many employees is the balancing act between work and family (most notably for Gen X, who may have two to three school-aged children at home). You can help by creating the time and space for your employee to engage in a relaxing activity with their partner or children. Here are some of the best family-oriented wellness activities we offer:

  1. Feed sharks at the aquarium. This is no ordinary trip to the aquarium! Your employee’s family will be whisked away through for a behind-the-scenes tour and shark feeding session. They’ll see the tropical fish tank, watch cute river otters do tricks, and interact starfish and bat rays in the touch pool. Then, they’ll head to the aquarium’s kitchen and fill up buckets of frozen fish to feed sharks. The guide will lead them to the very top of the 350,000-gallon tank to watch the creatures below chow down on lunch.
  2. Treat your partner to a couple’s massage class. Your employee can treat a special someone to drift somewhere between Cloud 10 and 11 as expert massage therapists knead out the kinks and knots in their overworked bodies. Pay attention because this isn’t your ordinary couple’s massage. Not only will the reward recipient enjoy a 60-minute massage, but they’ll also get a massage 101 session to pamper their sweetie at home. Did someone say brownie points?
  3. Enjoy a low-key family vacation. Embarking on a new travel adventure is one of the most enjoyable pleasures life has to offer. With the help of a Blueboard Concierge rep, your employee can plan an adventure that matches their personal travel style. All they need to decide is where you want to explore, and we’ll hook them up with a full itinerary, hotel accommodations and most importantly, a Blueboard-worthy activity or adventure. Past Blueboarders have planned weekend getaways to hike Sedona, or learn to surf in San Diego — the choice is theirs.
  4. Learn to ride horseback. Horses are known for their spectacular range of emotions, in addition to their ability to sense ours. This is why so many people develop such unbreakable bonds with these beautiful creatures. With Blueboard, your employee can take ten private lessons at a top ranch near them. If they’ve ever had the urge to ride a wild animal, now’s their chance!
Talie from Chloe + Isabel celebrating her birthday with fondue and family!

For employees who value their health…

Taking care of our bodies and minds should be a number one priority. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Experiential employee rewards present the perfect opportunity for employees to dedicate the time for the self-care they’ve been lacking, in a variety of ways. Here are a few wellness program ideas to consider:

  1. Spice up your fitness routine with martial arts lessons. Kuk Sool Won is a systematic study of all the traditional fighting arts that seeks to integrate and explore the entire spectrum of established Asian martial arts. We’ll match your employee up with professionals who have been training for nearly 25 years, so they’re in good hands. After the private lessons, we’ll also set them up with a uniform and one month of traditional Kuk Sool Won group classes. Let’s see what they got!
  2. Eat healthy with a farm-to-table cooking class. Mmmm….food. Cooking classes deserve their own experience category because they’re so delicious, fun, challenging and informative all at the same time. We’ll get your employee and a guest in front of a professional chef who specializes in fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. Be warned: your employee will definitely see a spike in dinner requests from friends and family after unveiling their newly developed skills. Bon appetit!
  3. Namaste on a yoga retreat to Bali. When your employee feels overwhelmed and overworked, they can grab their chillest travel partner and head to the shores of Indonesia for an immersive yoga retreat. Situated in cozy quarters, they’ll practice yoga throughout the day in peace, with plenty of free time to explore the beautiful scenery Bali has to offer. Available for all skill levels.
  4. Float in zero gravity. With this experience, employees will enter a float-therapy pod that blocks out all sensory stimulation that puts them in a completely weightless environment, introducing a whole new level of meditation and serenity. By the end of the session, the two adjectives most likely pertinent to the way they feel will be “invigorated” and “light”.
Harrison from Edmunds experiencing zero gravity

For employees who value creative expression…

Everyone has an outlet they turn to in times of stress. For some, this outlet is a way for them to creatively express themselves. Fortunately, Blueboard has a ton of employee reward programs that fulfill this need and cover all the bases — from music to art to comedy.

  1. Make a cover of your favorite song. A Blueboard Concierge will set your employee up with a private singing lesson in an actual recording booth. A professional voice coach to teach them the basic building blocks of singing, such as proper breath support, pitch and key, volume control, and vocal styles. By the end of their lesson, they’ll have a better understanding of sound and the confidence to explore it further.
  2. Learn to blow glass. Have you ever examined a piece of beautiful glass art and wondered how in the world it was made? Now, your employees can learn for themselves! Blueboard Concierge will send your employee and three guests to an Intro to Glassblowing class. They’ll learn the basics of studio safety, hand tools, and manipulating molten glass. By the end, they’ll have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of glass art to take home.  
  3. Take the stage with stand-up comedy. In this experience, employees will attend two semesters of all-star improv workshops filled with pure laughter, great humor, and new tricks and tips to hone their craft. Depending on what’s available, employees may even learn the joys of writing their own solo performance, partaking in an improv battle, or the basics of theatrical comedy. They say laughter is the best medicine, right?
  4. The art of photography. Learn to capture a moment in time through the magic of photography. Employees will learn from professionals at a top-rated studio in their area to learn how it’s done. Whether they’re a pro photographer or have never picked up a camera in their life, now is the time to snap up this awesomely creative learning opportunity, that also creates happiness and a sense of pride in their artwork. Happy snapping!
Girish from Zendesk learning a new craft at glassblowing class

For employees who value giving back…

Finally, there are people who are energized by giving back to a community or cause they care deeply about. While most organizations have a dedicated volunteer day for their employees, our employee recognition platform gives them the opportunity to choose a charitable experience that’s personally meaningful to them.

  1. Bathe elephants in Thailand. Elephants are some of the most friendly and magical creatures on earth. With Blueboard, employees can go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to spend a night at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, a sanctuary that allows visitors to care for these rescued animals, followed by seven days at an island resort on Koh Samui. Your employee will feed, bathe, and learn about these incredible creatures and how our partners are protecting their welfare in their own habitat before retreating to the turquoise blue waters of their Koh Samui seaside escape.
  2. Make a difference. Sometimes the best experience of all is the simple act of giving. If there’s a cause that is near and dear to your employee’s heart, we would love to help them contribute the value of their reward to make this world a better place. They just have to let their Blueboard Concierge know what charity they have in mind, and we’ll handle the rest. Making a donation isn't just a nice thing to do, studies show that generosity is linked to higher levels of day-to-day happiness.
  3. Take a mission trip. Kindness is calling! With Blueboard, your employee can embark on a mission trip abroad where they’ll get to explore a new country while making a difference. Depending on the cause your employee chooses, they may be working with children, animals, conservation, in-need adults, or something totally different. The most important thing is that they’re able to do so safely and that they find a project that is close to their heart. Some example trip projects include saving sea turtles in Costa Rica, working with wildlife in Africa, or caring for orphans in Sri Lanka.
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Is your employee a true lover of animals? Blueboard is partnering up with a shelter near them to make their dreams come true. The reward recipient will play a major role in improving the lives of animals and ensuring that every home an animal is sent to is loving, accepting, and up for the task of raising a pet.
An AMTalent Partners employee connecting with elephants at a Laos sanctuary

The definition of wellness means different things to different people. As an HR leader, you embrace the very important role of shaping an employee wellness program that is flexible, impactful, and accessible to everyone who works at your company - regardless of how they define wellbeing.

Experiential employee rewards can help you achieve this level of reward personalization and, ultimately, boost employee wellness. Want to learn more about the hundreds of employee rewards we offer as you plan your wellbeing program? Explore Blueboard experiences and schedule time to connect with our team today.

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