Companies Create Healthier Worksites To Improve Employee Well-Being

By Ann Marie O’Brien

Throughout my career, I’ve learned from employers and employees about worksite hurdles—those issues or hassles that prevent employees from being engaged, successful and happy at their jobs. To help encourage employees to be satisfied and more productive, an increasing number of employers are looking to their employee well-being programs for answers.

According to a survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of companies plan to expand their well-being programs over the next few years. UnitedHealthcare’s 2019 Wellness Check Up Survey revealed that more than half (57 percent) of employees with access to an employer-sponsored well-being program say the initiative has had a positive effect on their health.

Although many companies see value and results from their well-being programs, other companies struggle. May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, an opportunity for employers to reexamine their employee well-being programs and ensure their worksites are aligned with their programs.

The following are some initiatives some employers have taken to align their worksites with a focus on employee engagement, health and well-being.

Encourage Staying Active

Having a meeting? Put your walking shoes on and talk on the go by having a “walk-and-talk” meeting. Employees whose jobs require them to sit at a desk all day may appreciate the change, and it may be good for their health. Also, onsite yoga may have numerous physical and emotional benefits. Additional ideas to consider: onsite walking trails and fitness equipment and classes, treadmill conference rooms and stand-up desks.

Reduce Employee Stress

Use available office space to create a low-lit “relaxation room” to help employees recharge and lower their stress levels. Also consider offering employees a mindfulness program that may help fill the workplace with positive energy, where working relationships are optimized and distractions give way to focus and self-awareness. Additional ideas to consider: a 5-minute stretching routine, paid time off for volunteer work and behavioral health counseling.

Healthier Food Options

Ensure healthier food options are available in vending machines and cafeterias, and at company events. Also, consider putting healthier options at eye-level within those vending machines and denoting those options with stickers. Additional ideas to consider: a free onsite salad bar, onsite cooking demonstrations, a fruit sampling day or even onsite gardens to help increase teamwork.

Prioritize Employee Health

Consider banning all forms of tobacco (and vaping/e-cigarettes) from company premises, at company events and within company vehicles. Also, consider dedicating a private room for telehealth (virtual visits) appointment and allow employees to connect to a telehealth care provider as needed during the work day. Additional ideas to consider: onsite biometric screenings and flu shots, find a wellness champion for the office, and offer financial well-being programs.

For more information about well-being programs, visit

Ann Marie O’Brien, R.N., is the National Director of Health Strategies for UnitedHealthcare.

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