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People spend more of their waking hours at work than with their family or friends, and thus it only makes sense that employers should strive to cultivate workplace environments that promote healthy, happy living. One of the steps that companies have taken to enhance the workplace has been through implementing employee wellness incentives. These policies not only drastically improve employee lifestyles, they also often lead to greater employee motivation and efficiency.

So, which wellness incentives should you consider offering to your own team? Here are a few ideas from some of the leaders in wellness.


Wellness Incentive Ideas


Dedicated Medical Clinic (Apple)

Apple has long been a favorite place to work- the company knows how to take care of its people. Most recently, the brand announced the launch of health clinics specifically for employees and families. In partnership with AC Wellness, the service promises to offer a “concierge-like healthcare experience.” Details are scarce, but career pages on AC Wellness’s website indicate the involvement of primary care doctors, exercise coaches, and care navigators. You don’t need something on Apple’s level for your own business, but having some sort of healthcare program or connection to doctors and medical facilities will ensure your team is protected in the event of an emergency.


Life Insurance and Disability Coverage (Costco)

No matter what line of work you’re in, accidents can happen. You may break a bone or contract an illness, and the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you have enough money to look out for yourself or your family. Companies like Costco have begun offering life insurance plans to both full and part-time employees at no cost. Such plans include basic insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. For eligible employees, Costco will even cover both short-term and long-term disabilities even if the accident or illness is non-work related. Startups can take inspiration from Costco’s leniency and take care of their employees whether they’re salaried or hourly.

Travel Allowance (Expedia UK)

Nothing reinvigorates and refreshes the mind like a good vacation. Expedia UK understands this and offers some of the most competitive travel benefits within the industry. Business Insider even called it “the happiest office in London”, because employees are treated to a generous travel allowance. As long as you’ve been with the company for more than 12-18 months, you’re eligible to receive between $8,500 to $14,000 towards vacations. Equally important is that by offering an allowance instead of a specific deal, employees have greater freedom in choosing where to go. For small and medium businesses, it’s not uncommon to start seeing allowances for fitness (such as gym memberships and yoga classes).


Company Vacations (Virool)

Sometimes the best way to bond with your team is outside of work. Company vacations can provide an outlet for stress while allowing team members to improve their teambuilding skills. Based on a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, 94% of vacations have a positive effect on energy and outlook upon returning to work. Virool, the popular video service, creates opportunities to explore and travel their local Bay Area and beyond. Previous trips include camping at Yosemite, getaways to Mexico, and wine tours in Napa. The company also covers trips to other corporate offices- including San Francisco, New York, and St. Petersburg. Taking your team on a brief trip, even around your home city, can help break up work and develop team relationships.


Free Gourmet Food and Snacks (Google)

Google was one of the first places to start a paradigm shift in how workplaces should look. Instead of the dry and dreary cubicles that most offices had, Google sported colorful murals, swimming pools, and even gaming lounges. Some people describe Google’s office as a college campus for adults. While Google employees benefit from free fitness classes, on-site massages, and fantastic networking opportunities, nothing beats Google’s free gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their campuses often feature coffee and juice bars open to any employee. Companies can forget how powerful a meal program can be- not only does it result in savings for the employees, it can ensure a consistently energized workforce, all the while encouraging employees to socialize and network with one another.


On-site Gym and Free Fitness Classes (Rodale)

Rodale is the publisher for some of the world’s leading health and fitness magazines, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, and more. It only makes sense that the company would offer compelling fitness programs to its own employees. Rodale’s Energy Center is the company’s own gym, and it features free daily fitness classes for X-biking, core workouts, and yoga. The Emmaus campus also offers bicycles for traveling between buildings, and local, organic meals for purchase at affordable prices.

If you run a business, you can purchase special gym membership plans or fitness classes to encourage employees to be more active before and after work. Check your local gyms and fitness centers for more information.


Nap Rooms (Zappos)

Dedicated employees like to work late into the evening, sometimes to the detriment of their overall energy. Instead of prohibiting any resting, online shoe company Zappos encourages its 1,500 employees to take naps. In addition to nap rooms, Zappos has futuristic sleeping pods with reclining chairs, light/dark controls, and headphones for sleep-inducing sounds. We all know how energizing just 20 minutes of sleep can feel. Imagine going to work and taking a short siesta after lunch- you may wake up feeling much more energized and ready to tackle the rest of the afternoon!


Wellness incentives for your own business

These are just a few examples of wellness incentives used by the biggest industry names but don’t feel restricted by them. If you own a small or medium-sized business, consider tweaking these programs to apply to a smaller workforce while retaining the programs’ spirit and intent.

For example, free gourmet food may not be realistic for a startup, but a company meal every week or every other week can help reinforce a sense of solidarity and camaraderie.

While creating a dedicated medical clinic may be a large scale endeavor, basic medical coverage (such as vision or dental) would go a long way in alleviating personal concerns of your employees.

At the end of the day, business is about people. When you look after your own team first, profits, positive customer experiences, and recognition will all follow soon after.

Searching for some more corporate wellness program ideas? Check out our previous article on the topic. As always, make sure to follow the Expansive blog for more information and resources on developing your business.