101 Wellness Ideas for Vancouver Offices
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A list of 101 workplace wellness ideas designed for Vancouver offices, a must have for every HR department and admin assistant.
We think it’s really important to have a workplace wellness initiative in your office. We spend most of our working lives in our offices, and it can sometimes feel like we have created a toxic work environment for ourselves. Most forward thinking businesses have considered this and created programs to care for their employees. Does your office have a workplace wellness program? Normally administered through H.R. managers, workplace wellness initiatives make working in an office just that little bit better. If you work in a Vancouver office, we are here to rev up your workplace wellness ideas with our awesome list of 101 ideas for a better workplace.
We reached out to some of our clients and asked them for their best workplace wellness initiatives that they use in their offices. We’ve also got some great advice from the leaders in corporate wellness programs and office health initiatives. You can even download our list and take it to your next staff meeting, so that you look like the office hero when you try out some of our ideas.
So without further ado. Here’s the list of 101 ideas for workplace wellness programs for Vancouver offices:
1. Ask your staff how they stay fit and healthy.
It may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but did you know that Dave in Accounting coaches a Sunday hockey league and is looking for players? By creating a little questionnaire, you can find out who likes which sports, who wishes they had kept up running since they left school, and who is really in to healthy cooking. You can tailor your workplace ideas based on your employees sporting and wellness interests.
2. Elect an employee wellness officer.
Put everybody’s name in a hat and take turns for each nominated ‘Employee wellness officer’ to implement an wellness initiative for the month. Allocate them a small budget and a reward for their hard work.
3. Publish a biweekly ‘Wellness Newsletter’.
Include healthy recipes submissions, where to buy a healthy office lunch, like those served at Festal Paleo Cafe on Granville. Include a list of local fitness events like 5K runs, or hiking clubs, and make a big deal about employees who are cycling, running and walking to work.
4. Get a weekly delivery of office fruit.
Promoting healthy snacking is really the best way to improve health in the office. Filling you office with chips, cake, donuts, and sugary drinks will make you sick over your working life. Reduce the temptation to snack on ‘wheat-based, high-fructose syrup junk-food and instead opt for colourful, nutritious, anti-oxidant rich fruit. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a free trial of our quality office fruit.
5. Create a wellness wall.
Encourage staff to bring health and fitness into their lives with a wall of wellness. Add healthy-eating recipes to a collage-style poster, include work-out tips, a list of local sports clubs, and have staff share their photos of their homemade meals/sporting achievements.
6. Inspirational quote of the day.
Ask each member of staff to take turns to find an inspirational quote to add to the ‘Wellness Wall’. Make the quotes relate to your business goals and aspirations.
7. Create a whiteboard of positivity.
Have a whiteboard where people can write nice/kind things about other members of staff, or where they can give thanks and express gratitude for the qualities of their colleagues and your business.
8. Celebrate a random holiday.
Did you know October 1st is World Vegetarian day in Canada? Why not order Vegetarian food from Nuba at 207 W. Hastings Street.
9. Grouse grind challenge.
Ask your staff to time themselves as they attempt the Grouse grind and add the photos of themselves at the top to the ‘Wellness wall’ next to their time.
[bctt tweet=”27% of office workers would happily sell their passwords to outsiders.” via=”no”]
10. No-talk Tuesday morning.
Open plan offices can be completely distracting. Foster a morning of silence (except for essential calls), to create an atmosphere of hard work. Celebrate the end of the silence with tea and healthy snacks like fresh cut fruit and a veggie platter.
11. Create an employee library.
You can buy a book shelf from a local office supplies business, and ask each member of staff to bring in a few books and write recommendations for a good read.
12. Teach your employees ‘money-skills’.
Do you know you RRSP from your TFSA? Mymoneycoach.ca is a lower mainland business that offers free webinars covering everything from ‘retirement income’, to ‘basic household budgeting’. Teaching your employees how to save for their retirement and handle their finances is a real investment in their lives. The ‘Millennial Revolution’ is also a great resource and offers a free step-by-step workshop for online ETF investing.
13. Offer a company discount.
Offer discounts to your employees for your products or services.
14. Offer free laundry service.
Who has time for laundry? Why not offer a free laundry service to your ’employee of the month’, or as an extended benefit for working in your awesome business. ‘The Laundry Valet’ on Davie Street will come right to your office and accepts corporate accounts.
15. Company sponsored ‘Happy Hour’.
Get management to put down a few bucks behind a bar once a month. Chewies at 1055 W. Hastings in Vancouver has the freshest ‘buck a shuck’ oysters and $5 ice-cold ‘happy hour’ beers.
16. Hand written ‘thank you notes’ from management.
Celebrate business milestones and ‘jobs well-done’ with hand-written thank you notes from senior management to star employees.
17. Stop offering low-quality office snacks.
Office snacks should be healthy. Make a point of banning sodas, and discourage the eating of chips and donuts in the office. A lot of our clients receive raw cut vegetables with their office fruit basket.
18. Offer cool freebies.
Free tickets to a Canucks game, Tickets to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, a foodie tour from ‘Vancouver Foodie Tours‘.
19. Encourage better posture.
Learning to sit properly, and improving your posture at your desk can make you feel more confident. Building inner strength and muscle memory is initially quite challenging. Fitness Table Vancouver offers table top exercise classes to help improve core strength, essential for better posture.
20. Free company t-shirt/hat.
Get your company logo printed on shirts, rain jackets and hats, not only does it provide free advertising for your company, but employees feel part of the business. Coastal Reign is a Vancouver based business that offers quality custom printing on a range of clothing.
21. Go float.
Float chambers offer a chance to completely relax by depriving the senses of stimuli. Pure float at 1197 Howe Street has 5 float chambers that claim to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and relieve pain. A free session could be offered to the employee of the month.
22. Give advice on how to relieve eye strain and back pain.
Sitting at a desk all day can be painful, offer some advice on your ‘Wellness Wall’ about taking screen breaks and moving around during the day.
23. Employees transfer skills.
Each employee spends the day shadowing another employee and learning their role. Not only is it a great chance for staff to gain some empathy for colleagues roles, but it offers a chance for cross-role communication which could improve business efficiency. The ‘teaching staff’ also feel a sense of importance in their role.
24. Employee referral program.
Good people know good people, offer prizes and cash incentives for the referral of good employees.
25. Offer paid maternity/paternity leave.
It’s a simple benefit that makes a big corporate statement especially to workers equality. If a business cares enough to pay a worker during pregnancy, the worker is more than likely to show loyalty to the company. Top up government cover to 100% of pay.
26. Go on a tour of the city.
How well do you actually know Vancouver? Why not take your staff on a walking tour of the city? ‘Forbidden Vancouver’ offers some alternative tours of the city exploring everything from ‘the lost souls’ to the grimy underbelly past of the city’s nightlife.
27. Quarterly performance party.
Each time you file the GST, take the team out, and where better than a day at the indoor go-kart track! Rain or shine, Speeders.ca offers corporate go-kart racing events with a conference room and medals for the winners.
28. Free personal development books.
Fill the office with personal development literature that encourages employees to succeed.
29. The office scholarship.
Encourage personal development by offering to subsidise further learning and education such as language classes, music lessons, welding and pottery lessons. Our favourite further learning courses are offered by VancouverFirstAid.ca who offer a multitude of first aid and emergency care classes around the lower mainland, you can see their upcoming course listings here.
30. Thank you Friday.
Take the time late on a Friday afternoon to gather up the staff and say ‘thank you for another week’. Use the time to dole out special mentions for particularly good performance, and to highlight the areas your business needs to focus on next week. Fruitfull Offices can also pick up some beer and wine for your team’s ‘Thank you Friday’.
31. Spin-the-Wheel of prizes.
Create a ‘spin-the-wheel’ for an awesome prize give-away session at your ‘Thank you Friday’ session. A $100 gift card to Bel Cafe at 801 W.Georgia so that you never have to buy mid-morning coffee again would be a big hit in any office.
32. Bring in a nurse to take your team’s bio-metrics.
Get out the scales and measure the pulse, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Talk about your weight and fitness goals and how to achieve them, create an employee portfolio to compare to the next check-up in 3 months time. Passport Health in downtown Vancouver offers corporate wellness screening services and can even come to your site.
33. Provide one home day a month.
Let your employees work from home one day a month.
34. Buy an office ‘fitbit’.
Each employee takes it in turns to wear the office ‘fitbit’ and at the end of the day, the ‘steps taken’ number is recorded. The winner at the end of the month wins a special prize like a day at Breathe spa one of down town Vancouver’s beautiful spas set in the historic Rogers building with beautiful architectural detail.
35. Create an ‘About Us’ page.
Take a photo of each employee and have them write a little blurb about themselves for the ‘About Us’ section of your website; include things like ‘favourite food’, ‘first job’ ‘what get’s me out of bed in the morning’ etc..
36. Monthly award ceremony.
Hand out certificates, and a little bonus like a free trip to Victoria on the cruise liner V2V ‘harbour to harbour’ ferry for the staff ‘Fixer’, ‘Smiler’, or ‘Most Valuable Player’, in the team.
37. Create an office walking club.
Post about it on your ‘Wellness Wall’ and ‘Wellness Newsletter’, start out by walking about 5-10 blocks around your office, and increase it to match your staff’s fitness level.
38. Free Modo car share membership.
Car sharing in Vancouver all started with Modo and they’re still going strong because they’re the best. Set up a Modo car share membership for your office and reduce your corporate taxi expenses.
[bctt tweet=”Employee Wellness Idea #38. Get your office a MODO car share account.” via=”no”]
39. Free Compass Card.
Encourage and reward public transit riding staff with a free compass card included in their benefits package, or reimburse submitted transit receipts.
40. Subsidize day care.
Offer employees with children subsidized or free child care while they have young ones to think about.
41. Offer mental health days.
Sometimes coming in to the office is just not happening, instead of listening to employees doing impressions of a person with flu, accept ‘mental health day’ as an excuse for a day off.
42. Unlimited Holidays.
Offer your staff unlimited holidays.
43. Office plants.
Get a living wall in your office to clean the air and make employees feel like they are working in a green space. By Nature Design is a Vancouver based company that offers a beautiful framed work of living art, a living wall, or a unique indoor planter.
44. Pay staff to volunteer.
Create a list of places that accept volunteers around Vancouver, and let staff volunteer for an hour or two during the work day. Go Volunteer is a Vancouver based company that lists volunteering opportunities around the lower mainland.
45. Go play Frisbee/soccer/catch on English Bay.
You can book the gas BBQ on Second beach after your team plays catch or beach volleyball, a perfect way to build better inter-staff relationships.
46. Corporate sewing class.
Sign up your employees for a sewing class. Have you always wanted to learn how to sew but don’t know where to start? Take your sewing skills up a level and reignite your employees hobby. Spool of Thread on Kingsway and 15th provides a large sewing area with machines and tutors on hand to help you out.
47. 8 glasses of water a day challenge.
Create a water drinking challenge to promote the idea of drinking plenty of water. ‘Thirsty Thursday’ could include a company branded water bottle. We deliver water bottles if you’re team is up for the challenge.
48. The elevator doesn’t work day.
Encourage your staff to take the stairs. Don’t be unrealistic if your office is on the 31st floor, but at least encourage staff to take the stairs up or down five floors. Create a whiteboard and place it near the elevator with each employee’s name on it and encourage staff to tally the amount of time they took the stairs instead of the elevator. Reward the winner at the end of the week.
49. Free mouthwash, floss sticks, and toothpaste in the washroom.
Encourage dental hygiene after meals and snacks.
50. Play some ambient music.
Play some classical music for an hour or two in the afternoon to encourage contemplation and relaxation.
51. Bike to work scheme.
Offer a subsidized bike for employees who regularly bike to work. Encourage riders to sign up for Strava, a cycling app that shows cycling stats and encourages riders to beat their personal best time on their regular routes. Reward regular cycling with gift cards to an awesome local bike shop like the Bike Doctor on Broadway.
52. Cultivate an office herb garden.
Get some easy-to-grow herbs like basil, mint and rosemary growing in an office window.
53. Day off on your birthday.
Get the day off on your birthday and have a cake delivered from Cake Conspiracy who deliver Birthday cakes all over Vancouver.
54. Encourage nap time.
Clear out a closet and put some comfy chairs, bean-bags and blankets in there. Dim the lights and have a ‘no talking’ policy in effect. Encourage staff to take a 15 minute ‘shut-eye-session’ in the afternoon.
55. Take the afternoon off and go to Vancity Theatre.
Shut the doors to the office and take the team to the Pictures. Vancity Theatre on Seymour presents some of the world’s best cinema fused with related talks and events.
56. 90/15 timer.
Work for 90 minutes and take a 15 minute break. Use a timer to improve your performance.
57. Train for your offices ‘Great Seawall 5k walk or run’.
Set a Summer’s afternoon aside for the ‘Great Seawall 5K’. Set off from Canada Place at 2pm and have employees walk or run to English bay along the Seawall. Make sure to have employees photos taken along the way. Meet at the Boat House on the bay for post race drinks and dinner.
58. Meatless Mondays.
Discourage meat eating on a Monday and encourage the sharing of Vegetarian recipes.
59. Order in healthy food.
SMAK serves healthy, gluten-free, fast food. Order-in for your office to promote healthy eating.
60. Free employee gym membership.
Kalev Fitness Solutions has two locations in down town Vancouver and offers personal training, small group training and corporate fitness solutions for businesses.
61. Encourage ’round the block’ meetings.
Need a ‘5 minute’ progress meeting with Claire from marketing? Host a meeting as you both walk around the block.
62. Partake in a team building scavenger hunt.
A scavenger hunt is a great way to get some exercise and build strong team bonds, Slixer offers a corporate scavenger hunt and even offers limos should it rain.
63. Get some little tricycles and go race them in the parking lot.
[bctt tweet=”Employee wellness idea #63 Race some mini tricycles in the office parking lot” via=”no”]
64. Get an office scooter.
Get a few 2-wheel push scooters and place them around the office. Who doesn’t like delivering reports to management on 2 wheels?
65. Standing Desks.
Encourage staff to change positions when they work with an adjustable desk for sitting and standing. AnthroDesk provide awesome standing desks and they offer free shipping from right here in Canada.
66. Take the afternoon off and play board games.
Fill the office with board games and reserve the last few hours of a day for playing Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders and Chess.
67. Fight SAD with some UV lamps.
It gets dark really early during the long rainy months of Winter in Vancouver city, it can make even the strongest Vancouverite a little sad. Get some UV lights for your office and help alleviate your SAD suffering staff.
68. Create a quiet creativity space.
Set aside an area where staff can relax and not think about work. Put up signs that say ‘No work-talk allowed’.
69. Employee skill transfer.
Ask some of your staff to do a mini presentation to two or three other staff on their area of expertise. The accountant could show the administration assistant how they use the accounting software, or the executive assistant could explain how to use google suite to the customer support team.
70. Hire a masseuse.
Pamper your soul will come to your office in Vancouver and offer your team a stress relieving massage.
71. Offer dairy free alternatives like soy, almond and coconut milk.
Not everyone drinks dairy products, and having alternatives on hand makes vegans, and lactose intolerant folk feel included.
72. Anonymous suggestions jar/forum (keep it off Glassdoor).
Have you ever read an awful review of management on Glassdoor and thought to yourself what a nasty office that must be? Start addressing staff grievances before they become public knowledge.
73. Start an office band and let them perform at a ‘Thank you Friday’.
Match up the musically gifted members of staff and have them perform a song or two at your Friday round-up.
74. Head out to the Vancouver farmers market for lunch.
The local farmers market is held outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursdays during the summer months, take the team out for some local artisan goodies, and healthy lunch options.
75. Bring in a nutritionist to debunk food eating fads and explain a healthy diet.
You can book My Edible Advice, a Vancouver based nutritional consultancy that provides meal planning advice and cooking tips to nourish their clients, and map out a path to optimal health.
76. Celebrate Halloween/Valentine’s Day/Christmas or mid-Summer with a ball.
Create a themed ball for your staff and hold it inside Science World’s iconic dome which is also fully catered for corporate events.
77. Dress down day.
Let your staff come to work in their most casual attire once a month.
78. Hold a monthly healthy potluck.
Fill the office with healthy dishes cooked by your staff, give a gift card to the healthiest dish. Let us know if you need some paper plates and compostable cutlery for your office.
79. Teach employees how to eat properly with cooking classes.
Cook Culture at 377 Howe offers cooking classes in their studio kitchen, they even offer demonstration classes and a chance to buy cooking gadgets from their store.
80. Incentivize smoking and alcohol cessation.
Champix for smoking and Naltrexone for alcohol misuse, are both amazing pharmaceuticals that are not covered by Canadian medical plans, but are offered under the UK health care system and recommended for those looking to quit smoking, and for drinkers who drink a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer after work to unwind. Offer to pay for both drugs for your employees.
81. Join a local sports team.
Find a list of local sports teams and include them in your wellness newsletter. Add photos of staff participation to the wellness wall, and offer to pay for equipment for those who recruit other staff members.
82. Go tubing, tobogganing or snow shoeing on Mount Seymour.
Get your team’s heart rates up with a trip to the top of Mount Seymour.
83. Bring in a councillor to talk to employees.
Providing counselling services to your employees is a great way to let them discuss with a professional, any personal issues they may have. Dr. Jennifer Newman is a professional workplace psychologist in Vancouver, and offers corporate one on one counselling.
84. Start the Monday morning meeting with some exercise.
Start the Monday morning huddle with some star jumps and some squats. Get the heart rate up before you get down to business.
85. Reward loyal employees.
Make a big deal about employees who make it to 5 years with your business. Show long term employees some love with a weeks paid holiday, and a hand-written thank you note from the boss.
86. Encourage career breaks.
Some of your staff want to get lost in South East Asia or go ‘inter-railing’ around Europe for a month, you know they do. Why not make it known that a career break is an option in your company.
[bctt tweet=”Employee Wellness Idea #86 Encourage employees to take a month or two career break.” via=”no”]
87. Make the office pet-friendly.
Okay, an Iguana may not be office-friendly, but once a week an office dog could be allowed under a desk.
88. Create an amazing off-site city vacation to view a competitor/sister-office.
Is there a business that does the same thing as you in San Francisco or Portland, why not give them a call and see if you can visit them to find out how they do things. Book a hotel for your staff and let the learning begin.
89. Offer free onsite car wash/bike tune up.
90. Free ‘female hygiene’ products for female staff.
Fill the female washrooms with free feminine hygiene products.
91. Create a Facebook group for your team that highlights great hikes around Vancouver.
Vancouver has some amazing hiking. Have your staff post awesome hikes that they find on a company Facebook group, and add pictures of themselves on the hikes.
92. Bring in a guest speaker to talk wellness.
Kristen Hydes from Peak Resilience Therapy and Counselling offers ‘The Calmworks: Mindfulness Workshop’ in Vancouver. This workshop focuses on Mindfulness, how to attain it, and equip staff with tools to reduce stress at work and improve productivity. You’ll learn some stress reduction techniques that blend breathing with easy yoga postures and a large element of humour.
93. Create a ‘Life Goals’ whiteboard.
Setting yourself short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and then achieving them is the key to happiness. Encourage staff to share their goals and share the photos of them achieving them. It could be anything from cleaning out the shed, to learning Japanese.
94. Go and look at something beautiful.
Take a bus up to Shannon Falls and hike to the Sea to Sky Gondola where your team can meet at the top of the gondola for tea and coffee overlooking Howe Sound. You can even buy a gift card here to the gondola as a prize for the employee of the month.
95. Make some healthy fruit smoothies.
If you get your fruit delivered from Fruitfull Offices, there’s sure to be a few bananas left over, why not make banana smoothies:
- 2 large ripe bananas, peeled, sliced.
- 2 cups almond milk or whole milk.
- 2 cups ice cubes.
- 2 tablespoons golden brown sugar.
96. Reward ride-sharing.
Create a ride sharing reward program where by each employee tallies up the number of time they shared their ride in the month. Reward the winner with a $50 prepaid visa card to buy gas.
97. Get an awesome employee benefits package.
GroupSource is a Canadian business that offers awesome employee benefits packages to Canadian businesses. With over 30 years experience they tailor make flexible employment benefits plans that fit a company’s specific needs, including everything from dental, disability and life insurance.
98. Bring the gym to your office.
Bring a kinesiologist to your workplace and run your staff through a safe, fun and effective workout. Balance in Motion is a local company that offers just that service.
99. Get a video made about your business.
Pushr Video is a local Vancouver business that makes the most beautiful videos for established businesses and start-ups alike. Feature your best staff in one of your videos.
[bctt tweet=”Employee Wellness Idea #99. Feature your staff in a business marketing video.” via=”no”]
100. Elect a sexual harassment coordinator.
Elect a senior female staff member to act as a ‘Sexual harassment coordinator, someone to listen to any sexual harassment allegations and there to inform staff on what is, and what is not acceptable language to use to members of the opposite sex. Did you know Google and Facebook have a rule where you can only ask a co-worker out on a date once?
101. Let employees customize their cubicles.
Let employees add to the usual mix of family photos and certificates, with posters, paper-weights, plants and books.