Improving wellbeing in the workplace has been proven to increase employee satisfaction and productivity levels. Wellbeing programmes, therefore, are more crucial than ever before, perhaps even more so than initially thought after such a turbulent year!

Often, when we think of an employee wellness scheme, our thoughts wander to Facebook and Google, both of whom invest heavily into company culture and wellbeing initiatives. So, you may well be forgiven for asking are there really any benefits for a smaller-scale business? The answer is yes!

In any size business, deflated, burnt-out staff will deliver low-quality work and lack the commitment to your organisation’s success. Remember, a third of our lives are typically in the workplace so employees want to feel fulfilled and valued! Therefore, effective wellbeing programmes should be a priority for business owners to secure long term success. This article will discuss some of the top wellness initiative examples and explore how these could be implemented within your own organisation.

What is employee wellbeing?

Before we begin looking at examples of the most successful programmes, it’s important we first define what employee wellness truly looks like. When talking about wellbeing or wellness, we’re referring to the combination of good physical and mental health. Of course, a person’s work can have a major influence on their overall health and happiness which is where we get employee wellbeing in the workplace.

It’s estimated just 40% of companies have a wellbeing programme currently in place, which might be surprising once you discover that 56% of long-term unplanned absences are due to poor mental health. Many organisations are beginning to address this issue, yet these initiatives are still commonly overlooked or poorly planned – in which case, they can be a cause for concern rather than of any real benefit. So, where do you begin? Here are some of the most effective programmes in place…

The most effective wellbeing programmes: Our top 4 examples

As we go through this list of top wellness initiatives, it’s important you consider the different patterns uncovered and identify where these large-scale programmes could be reflected in your own business.

#1 Google

We’re kicking off the top spot with one of the largest corporations worldwide, Google. It’s the textbook definition of wellbeing programmes and you can even check it out on their career’s website under How we care for Googlers. The programme centres around a work-life balance, ensuring employees can spend enough time with their families with initiatives such as generous parental leave policies and retirement saving plans.

In addition to the dedication of supporting family quality time, Google also ensures its employees are able to work in a healthy setting – plants and natural light fill every space, the canteens serve healthy, nutritious meals and of course, there’s an onsite gym too. And, as some Google office locations, you’ll even find chiropractic, physical therapy and massage services!

Finally, Google also encourages its employees to “give back” through volunteering. All employees are able to take time off to volunteer and the company will match any charitable donation made by a member of staff.

Health, fulfilment and work-life balance, Google is a masterclass on how to focus your wellness programme. These three pillars are a fantastic starting point to begin planning your own wellbeing strategy around.

#2 Asana

How can you encourage employees to work harder without the risk of burning out? Asana’s solution: naps. At this work management software organisation, you’re actively encouraged to ‘sleep on the job’ in one of their specially designed nap rooms, allowing employees to recharge and de-stress.

However, the perks of this programme don’t stop there. Asana also offers unlimited PTO (personal time off) to help employees achieve a superior work-life balance. On-site, employees can also enjoy daily yoga sessions, organic, fresh meals and a free gym membership – the fundamentals of the physical elements to wellbeing programmes.

Another important feature of a wellness initiative is personal development too, ensuring employees are fulfilled within their careers. Asana has covered this base too with their free executive coaching programmes alongside monthly workshops targeting different mental health themes.

wellbeing programmes

#3 Microsoft

Another global leader, Microsoft sets out to empower its employees – much like it sets out to do with its software. To achieve this, they allow employees a minimum of 12 weeks of paid family leave, meetings conducted in calming woodland retreats and innovative personal development opportunities.

The emphasis here is on learning and growth, Microsoft wants its employees to leave each day feeling they have improved on the day before. Perhaps this is why the staff retention is so high, they prioritise both professional and personal development. Plus, there’s a real sense of community with networking opportunities and social groups building real relationships amongst co-workers.

#4 Gymshark

“Weight belongs in your hands, not in your head” – given its position in the gym industry, Gymshark naturally focuses on the physical wellbeing of its employees however, it goes beyond this too through the ‘deload’ programme offered to all team members.

Not only is a free nutritious breakfast offered on-site to start the day off right, but they also use a specific mindfulness app tailored to their business. This supports and educates all employees on a variety of different mental health topics, serving as a conversation starter for those struggling to speak out. Each employee can ‘check in’ daily to monitor how they are feeling and should they be struggling, this becomes more noticeable and can be addressed sooner rather than later.

Mental health has become a priority in recent years and whilst the topic is no longer such a taboo, its still difficult for many to access the help they need. Remember, a well-rounded wellness programme will address not only physical health but mental too.

How can you implement effective wellbeing programmes in your workplace?

It can be tempting to just choose a few different strategies, tell your team and let them run their course, however, this is unlikely to have any long term impact on your business! In fact, this quick-dash method will lose momentum almost instantly. To truly benefit your business, there are a few key steps you need to take to effectively implement a wellness programme.

  1. Understand why you want a programme: Far too many businesses overlook this crucial step in the process but of course, you need to align your values with the plan you devise. Otherwise, your initiative will be ineffective and a waste of money!
  2. Talk to your team: You might think you know what your staff want but remember, the needs of every individual within your organisation will be different. The more tailored your wellbeing programmes are, the better – although, you need to be careful and avoid promising what you can’t deliver on.
  3. Create a plan of action: Proper planning can guarantee the effective implementation of your wellbeing programme. You should be sure to include: what the programme will consist of, who will be in charge, how long it will run for, how you’ll monitor effectiveness, the resources required and the promotion of these new initiatives.
  4. Implement the wellbeing programmes you’ve created: Once you’ve planned, it’s time to put these initiatives into action! Start simple and build up over time to ensure your employees aren’t overwhelmed. This will also allow you to address any issues that arise as and when they occur.
  5. Monitor and assess: Finally, you must consistently monitor and assess how effective these wellbeing programmes actually are. If they aren’t performing as you’d hoped for, try refining or move in a different direction. Focus on what is serving your business and let go of those that hold back your employees. Feedback is a crucial element to wellbeing programmes – without this, you are blindly following a route when an alternative solution could be just a few suggestions away!

When creating your wellbeing programmes, the three most important factors to first consider are work-life balance, health and fulfilment. If you can cover these three areas within your plan, you can begin creating a highly effective initiative that could significantly affect your employee’s job satisfaction and their productivity levels too. Whilst it requires the investment of time and resources, the outcome is unmatched and essential to the continued success and development of your business. Health is wealth after all.

Are you looking to transform your business and improve your overall performance? Speak to one of our dedicated Azimuth experts today by contacting us at or call +44 (0)1483 24 33 81. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can help you and with over 20 years of experience across a range of industries, we have the innovative, proven tools that can help you unlock the true potential of your business. What are you waiting for?

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